At a reuse centre like Emmaus Bristol, the festive season can be a strenuous time – so many donations come in as people make space for new stuff, and for an upcycler like me, it’s time to encourage people to rethink before they buy.

Only 1% of the things we buy are in use six months later (1millionwomen), so Xmas is an opportunity for waste prevention, one way you can seize the chance, is to make a gift yourself!

Here at Emmaus, we get a lot of denim donations, and with the influx of fast fashion, its hard to keep up. One of the things we do at Kecks Clothing is to teach simple upcycling tips, and denim embroidery is a classic way to update your denim and create a unique gift.

25152122_10156074505407174_4678290064157991065_nAll you will need is an embroidery hoop, thread (or wool), embroidery needle, an old denim jacket/shirt/skirt/ shorts/jeans, and a design you’d like to apply!

Designs can be as simple or complex as you like – and can be added to over time, by yourself or the person you gift it to! here I tried out a simple rose design and was more than happy with the result!

16991618_666219850231872_4375684461475421749_oThis old shirt was transformed, and the customer who bought it was surprised that the shirt was upcyled.

Simplicity is often the key, and the internet is full of great patterns to follow.


This skull design has been so popular with Kecks that we’ve made a few now, and even include it in our workshops. Its a great cover up for stains, or some great visible mending for holes or tears.




Or if you’re short on time, why not use a patch – iron or sew on, cheap to buy or find second hand.


Give it a go, and give a great gift!

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