Give your denim shorts a touch of class using an old handkerchief

Have you ever seen a beautiful handkerchief in a vintage store but didn't know quite what to do with it? While handkerchiefs themselves aren't exactly the common, useful items they once were, you can easily use a handkerchief to dress up a boring item of clothing, such as a pair of cutoff jean shorts.
This patchwork DIY is easy and accessible, even if you've never embroidered anything before. It's also fun and will allow you to show off your own style by making a tiresome old pair of shorts cute, flirty and classic. Try this craft the next time you find a vintage handkerchief in a thrift shop, and channel your inner domestic goddess.
- An old handkerchief with a floral pattern
- A pair of cutoff denim shorts. Note: Try to find a pair that has one large pocket on the right-hand side and a smaller pocket inside the larger pocket on the left-hand side.
- Ironing board
- Iron
- Pencil
- Scissors
- Bottle of fabric adhesive
- Popsicle sticks
- Thick, yellow embroidery floss
- Needle
DIY Everywhere
1. Iron the handkerchief to smooth out the wrinkles.
2. Place the handkerchief on top of the denim backing of the right-hand pocket of your shorts. This will be the left-hand pocket when you're wearing the shorts and is the larger pocket without the smaller one set inside it. Turn the shorts inside out, and place the corner of the handkerchief over the large, inner pocket. Use the pencil to mark where the pocket begins at the top and ends on the side. Cut a square shape out of the handkerchief using the two sides you marked with the pencil.
3. Turn the shorts inside out again to their normal appearance. Place the piece of the handkerchief with its cut end lined up with the top of the pocket. If it has scalloped edges, make sure the scalloped side is peeking out of the pocket but not pressed against the seam above it. You may need to cut the handkerchief a little with the scissors to make sure the scalloped edges don't interfere with the seams.
4. Turn the handkerchief square over. Place fabric adhesive on the back of the fabric near the top, and use a Popsicle stick to smooth down the adhesive, so it covers the edge of the fabric evenly. Turn the handkerchief square over, and affix the top of the square to the top of the pocket, just below the belt seam of the shorts.
Tip: You may need to tuck the edges of the handkerchief under the brass rivets or use the scissors to cut back the handkerchief slightly, so the rivets can show through. How you do this is your choice; just make sure you're not laying the fabric down on these rivets, or it might not stay adhered to the denim.
5. Place a little more adhesive on the bottom edge of the square, use another Popsicle stick to smooth it down, and carefully place this part inside the pocket. Smooth the fabric down as you affix the bottom of the square to the inside of the pocket. Add a little extra glue to the sides of the fabric. Again, you may need to carefully cut it back in order to make sure it lies flat.
6. Take one of the other edges of the same handkerchief, and place it over the tiny pocket set inside the larger one on the left-hand side of the jeans. You can slightly press some of the handkerchief into the pocket to keep it in place, then mark a line where the top and sides of the pocket are, onto the handkerchief with your pencil. Cut the shape you've made with your pencil out of the handkerchief.
Tip: You'll need to cut two little scallops in the top left- and right-hand sides of the shape, so the rivets won't be covered by the fabric and so the fabric can lie flat.
7. Place the piece of fabric inside the outer pocket and on top of the tiny inner pocket. Use the same glue-and-Popsicle-stick technique you learned in step 4 to affix the fabric piece to the inner pocket. Start at the top, gluing down the top part of the fabric, then remove the inner part from the pocket, add glue, and smooth it down inside the larger pocket.
8. Turn the shorts over, and place another of the handkerchief's corners over the back right pocket. Use the pencil to mark the shape of the pocket on the fabric, then cut out the shape. Make sure the fabric shape is similar to that of the denim pocket by placing it on top and cutting it slightly if it varies a bit. Use the same gluing technique to affix the fabric to the pocket, gluing the fabric to the top of the pocket first, then gluing the other sides down.
Tip: You can also use the Popsicle stick to smooth the glue down on top of the already glued-down fabric. This can be a better option for the back pocket where you might want to use more glue.
9. Thread the yellow embroidery floss through a large needle, and stitch around the outside of the handkerchief fabric, about half an inch from the edge. Once you've stitched all the way around it, open up the pocket so you can see the floss on the inside. Tie the floss in a knot as close to the denim as you can get it, and cut the excess floss off with the scissors.
10. For give a little more flair to your denim patches, use the embroidery floss to add detail work, such as making tiny, round stitches in the middle of the flowers on the handkerchief. Remember to tie off the floss, and cut off the excess with scissors.
Tip: You can also add these details to the flowers on the front of your jeans. We recommend it, as it's another way to ensure that the patches are strongly sealed to the denim.
Now, you have an adorable pair of patchwork denim shorts, embroidered and decorated all by you!