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Making it yours: Creative embroidery designs with

Emily June

The clothing we wear is one of the many ways we choose to express ourselves, and we’re all about showing the world our individuality through our stylish outfits. One thing we always love to see is when fans of Russell Athletic use their creativity and artistic skills to take our products to the next level—whether it’s altering their favorite shirt to a new color with bleach and tye dye, cutting and distressing an old sweatshirt, or in this case, adding one-of-a-kind accents and designs with embroidery.

Emily June is an artist whose passion for embroidery has found its way into her everyday life. For her, art and fashion are both very powerful forms of creative self-expression, and combining them into one project is something she’s always found very exciting. Her artistic career began in graphic design, but sitting in front of a computer all day, every day began to cause some burnout at her job.

When she discovered embroidery, it was the perfect outlet—providing that much-needed opportunity for creativity while allowing her to get lost for hours on end working with physical mediums instead of looking at a screen. From that point on, Emily knew she’d found her niche. 

Grey shorts and hoodies product pages along with image tops and bottoms Emily June is about to dye pink.

The Design

For her collaboration with Russell Athletic, Emily turned a set of gray cotton sweat shorts and a gray Russell hoodie into an eye-catching pink sweatsuit design that’s decorated with subtle, but beautiful embroidery designs. As an avid hiker, she often turns to nature for inspiration on her embroidery, and this can be seen in her project with Russell Athletic. 

First Steps:

To get the final result, Emily stripped the items of color (which took a synthetic color remover thanks to our technology) and dyed them with diluted RIT Petal Pink. To give them a subtly variegated look, she hand-scrunched the fabric during the dyeing process.

  1. Bleach the garments
  2. Dye with chosen color
  3. Trace embroidery designs
  4. Begin embroidery 
Image of clothing being bleached and then dyed pink.

Embroidery Tips

Imagery of clothing being embroidered with flowers.

Embroidery can be tricky for anyone who’s new to the craft, but being self-taught herself, Emily encourages people to give it a try. A lot of her education came in the form of videos from YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.

For this design specifically, working with the stretchy fabric posed a unique challenge. Using a hoop, which is common in embroidery, could have caused the fabric to pucker once it was released, so Emily freehanded this design. Here’s a few tips from the expert herself when it comes to the process:

Emily’s final product is stunning, and we’re thrilled to show you the results of her creativity—a unique, soft-pink sweatsuit with her signature nature-inspired designs. 

See here creativity in action.

Emily June modeling embroidered Russell Athletic Tops and bottoms dyed pink.

Why Embroidery?

For Emily, embroidery is an art she can really lose herself in. The way she sees it, it’s an extension of her personality—and her embroidery designs are a part of her. From her nature-inspired designs to a mental health series, her art draws from topics and ideas that are meaningful. With a modern but whimsical signature style, embroidery is the perfect way for Emily to bring her creativity to life.

Emily picked up her embroidery skills without any formal teaching, and encourages hesitant artists who are intrigued by the process to try it out for themselves. Here’s a list of her current equipment:

●   Assortment of embroidery needles in different sizes

●   Table-top embroidery stand

●   Fabric stabilizer

●   100% cotton floss

●   Heat-erasable pen

When it comes to getting started with embroidery as a beginner, she suggests starting with at least the following:

●   Embroidery needle with a big eye

●   DMC embroidery thread

●   Beginner-friendly patterns and designs to work with

The resources she recommends (and used herself) include things like YouTube and other social media videos, and online embroidery classes.

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