WWIT: Zelda Stained Glass Embroidered Denim Shirt, Ideas and Shopping

WWIT: Zelda Stained Glass Embroidered Denim Shirt, Ideas and Shopping

If you’re a Wind Waker fan, you’ll recognize this artwork nearly immediately. My memory is foggy – but if it is correct, the stained glass art pieces were concept/marking pieces released with the original game in 2003. Over the years, I’ve seen this recreated in fan art in just about every way imaginable for actual stained glass all the way through to commercial wall stickers. I’ve seen it recolored, redrawn, parodied, 3D-ified, screen printed, and I’ve loved it every.single.time.


I have made my own attempts at it a few times as well. Several years ago, I ran across the folks over at Sprite Stitch working on cross stitch versions of it. They are simply stunning. I tried, but only made it this far.


The project was just too big and tedious for me. Regardless of how awesome it was going to be when finished, I was physically relieved when I curled it up and put it away. It didn’t mean that I had forgot about the artwork though. I still wanted do something with it and I was pretty sure it should be in fiber or thread just not in a bazillion tiny little X’s in a bazillion colors.

Years go by and the project just needles me from time to time, but mostly stays off my radar. As I recently started to learn more and more about machine embroidery and digitizing files, I start to think maybe there is a way to create it in thread via machine. Then I think about putting it on clothing all biker style and start to get excited about the idea.

I knew I’d have to find the coat first, then I could work on the glass design. For a few months, I shopped every denim coat I could find. I measured the space between the seams, pulled and tugged on it looking for stretch, and tried to ignore anything that cost more than $30. After countless hours (and coats), I realized a few things – all women’s cut coats were out. They seem to have a curve in the back seams that shrinks the area between them to less than 8” in the thinnest area, even in my “big girl” sizes.  The men’s coats have the seams too, but to get them at least 12” apart, I was looking at sizes beyond “oversized” for me. I started looking at work shirts, fishing shirts, and hunting coats. Fail. Fail. Fail.

Then. Genius.


I took a chance and ordered a plain denim 100% cotton cowboy shirt from Amazon. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but it seemed like a good final option. It came in a host of colors and I decided black would be my best choice to really pop and shine the thread colors and lead lines. The shirt finally showed up and was perfect. The side seams are under the arm pits and out of the way. It does have a cowboy detail at the top, but it is high enough on the back of the shirt that it isn’t an issue. As an added bonus, it is long. Unlike the jackets that stop just below the waist, the shirt gives me room for placement errors.

Artwork. Check.

Canvas. Check.

The next big hurdle is digitizing.  Get all of the details in this post! If you’d rather, check out the index of posts and see EVERYTHING!

Have something to say? I love to hear from you. Email me at susandowenby@gmail.com!