Embroidery Tips for T-Shirts and Hoodies
✔ Gather the Right Materials for a Hand-Embroidery Project
For a t-shirt or hoodie, you’ll generally need a stabilizer, an embroidery hoop, a round-end or ball-point needle, embroidery floss or thread, and an iron.
✔ Stabilizer is Your Friend When it Comes to Fabrics with Some Stretch
If you want to embroider a t-shirt or a baby onesie that’s made of a stretchy, knit material, your best friend will be a good stabilizer. If you opt to not use backing, your stitched design could become distorted as the fabric stretches when you wear it. On the other hand, your design will look perfect if you choose to use a stabilizer.
Pro Tip: Before you start any new embroidery projects, test out your chosen stabilizer on the clothing. You can stick it inside the t-shirt and then remove it or rinse it off.
✔ Use Removable Stabilizer With T-Shirts
We recommend using a removable stabilizer with t-shirts, rather than a leave-in backing. Otherwise, your stitches may feel itchy and uncomfortable against your or the wearer’s skin. You’ll find that there are different types of stabilizers for a stretchier t-shirt material, both temporary and permanent. There are also tear-away (or cut-away backings), along with those that dissolve in water. Finally, you’ve got stabilizers that self-attach to the fabric, and other types that you attach with basting stitches. The point? You’ve got lots of options, so pick the ones that work best for you. You can also reach out to stabilizer manufacturers to see if they have any tips or recommendations. Many will have product-use videos on their websites or on YouTube.
✔ Here’s How to Attach a Baste-On Stabilizer
First, turn your t-shirt inside out and place a piece of paper between the layers of fabric, to prevent the stitches from catching on the other side of the shirt. Next, position the backing on the area you’ll be embroidering. Use your needle and thread to create larger basting stitches to affix your stabilizer to the t-shirt. Then turn your t-shirt right side out as you’re ready to start your embroidery. These basting stitches will come out easily later, even if you’ve stitched over them with your embroidery design.
✔ Look at Using Self-Affixing Stabilizers as Another Option
You might be using a stabilizer that attaches to the shirt without stitches. One type is a water-soluble stabilizer with a peel-off backing, which you can literally place on the inside of your garment under the embroidery spot. There’s another kind of backing that you can iron on to the shirt and then easily tear away after you’re done, as well.
✔ Use a Wash-Away Stabilizer to Transfer Your Pattern Onto Your T-Shirt
With fabric, it’s hard to trace patterns onto them. However, if you use a wash-away stabilizer sheet, you can print your pattern onto it and stick it onto the fabric. Instead of printer paper, load a stabilizer sheet into your desktop printer, and then print your pattern onto it. Then, cut out your pattern and peel off the backing. Press it onto the t-shirt or other garment where you want to embroider. After you’ve finished stitching, run your t-shirt or hoodie under cool water and rub the stabilizer to remove it, leaving only your lovely embroidery.