Inside: Pretty sleeve embroidery ideas for your creative up-cycling and repairing endeavors.

Adding embroidery to your clothes it’s such a fun way to personalize something that has been made for the masses. If you thrift something it’s a really fun way to play around with up-cycling and to create something new and of higher value from something you bought secondhand.

Embroidery on clothing has gone back for generations, but putting it on your sleeve is a new idea.

It’s super common in other cultures, especially for wedding wear and special attire, but putting it on your denim jacket, sweatshirt, or T-shirt sleeve is a cool way to elevate something that has otherwise been so simple in the past.

It’s also a really cool idea to simulate the concept of a sleeve tattoo, adding embroidery pieces and icons and patterns all up and down your arm the same way you would if you got them as tattoos! It’s time to refresh your closet and your favorite clothing with some of these ideas.

Patterns and embroidered tops

It’s such a creative there’s so much room for creativity, so let’s dive into sleeve embroidery ideas

The High Fashion Version

While we’re talking about some homemade crafts here, there is a high fashion version of this that’s been huge on the runway!

Designers are making sleeves separate from their gowns or vests that are heavily embroidered and beaded. It’s a stunning new trend, and I think once the fashion cycle is complete, we are going to be seeing a lot of beaded and embroidered jacket sleeves and separate dress sleeves in this fashion.

We will see it in stores, online… Just about anywhere! Get ahead of the trend and learn how to embroider your own slaves before everyone else has it store-bought.

What Kind Of Embroidery Can You Put On A Sleeve?

What kind of embroidery can you put on a sleeve? Just about anything you can imagine! Once you get the gist of this down and feel comfortable embroidering the inside of a sleeve if you can’t reach it completely, (it does get kind of tricky) then the world is your oyster and you can alter and personalize anything you want!

Personalizing clothing is such a cool trend right now with the fast fashion fads. When everything’s made the same and designed to look the same and “dupe” other brands, adding your own flair to a garment is the best thing you can do to make a piece your own.

If you’re making merch you can put a logo on a sleeve, if you’re making spirit wear for a football game you can put a players name on the sleeve, you can put any little design you want, it’s totally up to you!
The world of embroidery is so big, there are almost no limits.

In Culture

As previously mentioned, embroidered sleeves are huge in other cultures. If you’ve ever seen an Indian sari or formal wear for a wedding in Indian culture, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Bold, bright, and beautiful colors are used on silk fabrics to embellish these pieces! Gold thread is the most common on a bright silk fabric. It is traditional and it is a stunning tradition.

Beautiful embroidered clothing is also common in other cultures, not necessarily for their wedding attire, but you see this feature often in Mexican, native American, and Chinese cultures.

Beautiful sleeves adorned with stunning embroidery work are also on display as a part of western history! From as early as the 16th century, there have been wild works of embroidery to create amazing imagery on clothing and in art.

It is so beautiful when you start to notice something that we adore as hobbies mean so much to people of other cultures, and see what art has been created with it even centuries ago!

If you’re interested in seeing other cultural embroidery, check out this post Mexican otomi embroidery tapestry patterns! They’re simply stunning.

Beautifully floral embroidered sleeves

Sleeve Embroidery Designs

Getting to embroider your own sleeves is such a cool concept, I love the idea of getting to personalize clothing!

Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m a little more individualistic, but the idea of putting your own creative spin on an item that everyone else has too is a fun way to make your wardrobe more you, but it also creates this crafty vibe about your life.

Look through some of these fashion designs and see if they’re maybe the move for you!

1. Florals
2. Cotton
3. Cap Sleeve
4. Subtle Flowers
5. Intricate Beading

Hoodie sleeves with little embroidered details

Hoodie Sleeves

Hoodies are probably the most common piece of clothing that get their sleeves embroidered. I’ve seen a ton of brands and merch stores utilize real estate on their sleeves to add more logos or create a personalization option for their customers.

Adding a little heart by the hand or initials for someone you love is a precious way of wearing their “heart on your sleeve.” If any of these embroidered hoodie sleeves inspire you, I definitely encourage you to try it out!

6. A Whole Saying
7. Details
8. Forever + Always
9. Spotify Code
10. Date + Initial

Embroidery patterns on hoops. Celestial designs

Patterns For Embroidering Your Sleeve

The cool thing about this (well… everything) is that sleeve embroidery can be really casual if you want it to be.

You can go off of a pattern or play around with random little images you want on your tee sleeve.

I’ve collected some patterns for you that I think would be adorable on your tee or on your jacket and think you should try it out! Give it ago, and practice on all of the tops in your donation pile!

11. How It’s Done
12. Celestial Pattern
13. Floral Initial Pattern
14. DIY Kit

Various placements for sleeve decoration


So all of the different options you have for placement are dependent on what kind of garment you’re going to be stitching on!

It could totally be the shoulder of your new graphic tee or something a little random and fun like the back side of the sleeve of your old army jacket.

There are no limits, do your thing and get creative! I love to have fun with up-cycling, and I think this is the perfect way to do so.

15. Patchwork Placement
16. Cuffs
17. Added Lace
18. Separate Cuffs
19. Shoulder

Sleeve embroidery ideas that are so creative and new, the possibilities are endless!

While it might be hard to find inspiration (and that’s what I’m here for!), truly anything you think of is fair game. If you want to represent a team, an artist at a concert, a friend for her bachelorette party, you can totally do it and make it look like something new and fresh by embroidering a name or a logo on your sleeve.

Some of these can be done with machines, some of these can be done by hand, it depends on your preferred method, and the pattern you choose. And I suppose the type of clothing… It might be hard to put a denim jacket through the embroidery machine!

I hope you figure out how to rock these sleeve embroidery styles and show everyone how it’s done!