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Collage of Kirsty's clothes


My creative lockdown

By KirstyS 09 Nov 2020

Managed to get a stain on one of your favourite items of clothing? 

If you’re creative or an art student (like me), you know paint stains and ink marks on clothes can be a common mishap.

This is my fun way to turn an accident into an actual design.

Let me show you how I used embroidery to cover a stain and bleach to revive my paint-covered denim jeans.

Embroidering my shirt

Here I’ve got a lovely vintage pale cream shirt that I’ve loved for ages but I, unfortunately, stained it with a healthy smudge of pink latex. Oops...

1. Pick your embroidery thread and trace your shape

I’ve selected some threads that I think might complement the shirt. 

I didn’t want it to be too distracting so I traced a flower from the motif which is actually on the collar.  

I then used a blend of threads that would get me as close to this creamy white colour as I could.

2. Sew around the shape

Firstly, I used a 'running stitch' to trace around the shape of what will become my flower. 🌸

Next, I started to use long and short stitches coming from the outside-in to fill out the shape of the flower and cover the stain.

Tip: If you want a better finish you could invest a few pounds in an embroidery hoop to keep your fabric tight whilst you work. 

3. Continue stitching until the shape is filled

I continued filling in the shape to make sure the stain was fully covered.

Tip: Make sure to keep the back of the stitch work neat, so it won't rub against your skin.

4. Enjoy your handy work and be the proud owner of a totally unique piece

You've also done your part for the environment preventing the item from going to landfill.

I was so pleased with how mine turned out, I hope you love yours too.


Embroidery thread and needles can be purchased inexpensively online from lots of different craft or general retailers. They can be delivered straight through your hall's your letterbox. So, if you are self-isolating you can still get your hands on everything you will need. 

Bleaching my jeans

You can use a bleach pen or a small brush dipped in bleach to create an original design on any dark-coloured fabric. See step by step how I revitalised my jeans.

1. Prepare your fabric

I am using an old pair of jeans that are covered in paint.

I've put plastic inside the legs so that I can just bleach the front of the fabric without damaging the back.

2. Draw your design

I drew a design on to the denim. You can outline a design you want to try and achieve. I'm going for my beloved favourite again, a flower of course! 🌼

Note: It is very difficult to get precise lines with bleach (unless you use a stencil) so don’t choose anything too fiddly.

3. Water down the bleach

You need to water down your bleach in a small container, never pour bleach directly on to clothes.

⚠️ Please be aware that some bleaches are too strong and corrosive and be careful to not get it in contact with anything you don't want it to.

4. Paint your bleach 

Using a paintbrush, brush the bleach onto the fabric. Make sure you’re doing this in a well-ventilated space.

Tip: Don’t over soak your fabric as this could make the bleach soak into the fabric outside your design.

5. Leave the bleach to develop

After a little while, you will start to see the fabric colour lifting. Once you’re happy with the result you can wash your garment to ensure it doesn’t wear the fabric down anymore.  

6. Add optional details

You can even add embroidery on top of your bleached designs like I did! Here are my 'in progress' jeans. I'm going to keep adding to these when I have some more time, letting them get even more paint on them and evolving as I wear them.

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KirstyS is a BA Fine Art Student at Chelsea, who loves absurd films, cheese and dogs.
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