DEmbroidered suede and velvet is so classy, elegant, and feminine. The above black velvet heels, named Gypsy Rose, were created by Caroline Groves of London and embroidered by master needleworker Alice Archer. Undoubtedly, they cost a metric tonne of GBP (a boatload in USD) to own — and worth every penny!

Don't have a boatload of dollars lying around? I'll show you a much thriftier way to emulate this effect by using leather paints. (You'll have to find the antique sterling silver buckles yourself….)


We had an offensively pink pair of suede booties that just begged for our transformative touch stuffed in the back of the stash closet. We really loved the shape, but that was about all we loved. They needed something and quick!

Margot dyed them a rich, dark purple. We learned a long time ago that painting suede all over with Lumiere or Neopaque is not optimal, as the paint plasters down the soft, supple nap. However, using leather paints to create a design, like little flowers or vines, yields wonderful results.

Because the painted areas are a little stiff (not soft like the suede), there's a visible difference in texture. At first glance, everyone always mistakes this colorful texture for embroidery stitches.

My two preferred tools in this technique are the smallest brush in our brush pack and a few toothpicks. To create flowers, you dip the bristles into the paint, and lay the brush sideways to create each petal.  To create curling filigree, I dip a toothpick into paint and apply with a stippling motion, like a sewing machine. (I described how to do this in an earlier post on painting toddlers' shoes.)


Speaking of sewing, you can also use this tequinique to create faux stitching lines. Just do the stippling technique in a broken line instead of a solid, curving one.

A little bit of effort and imagination is all it takes to get your own pair of (faux) embroidered suede beauties. No one will know they didn't cost you an arm and a leg.

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