Here’s a great tip for embroidering on ribbed knits.
Aren’t ribbed knits so comfy to wear? I love the stretch and texture but I’m not too fond of embroidering on that challenging fabric. This weekend, I wanted to stitch something special for my daughter, Janelle. She’s in her second month of grad school – in two and half years, she’ll be a physician’s assistant. So right now, she’s hunkered down in grad school life and just aced her first Anatomy test. No surprise there, she got a 4.0 in Anatomy in undergrad studies at University of Oklahoma. It’s one of her favorite courses.
To celebrate her grade, I found the most appropriate embroidery designs at Urban Threads. And yep, the title of the collection is Anatomy! Can you believe it? Aren’t we lucky? You can find ANYTHING in machine embroidery!
Here’s where the ribbed knit comes in. I had a long-sleeve comfy t-shirt in one of Janelle’s favorite colors but I wasn’t so sure it was the right fabric for this hand design. With a little ingenuity, I made it work.
First, I put the shirt on, inside out. Janelle and I are not the same size – I’m wider and shorter and she’s taller and leaner. But I needed to stretch the t-shirt to mimic the shape when she wears it. It’s a t-shirt, not a wedding dress, so close enough is good enough in this case. Then I placed adhesive water soluble stabilizer (Floriani’s Wet N Gone Tacky) to the wrong side of the design area. Then I carefully took off the shirt and hooped it in Snap-Hoop. Love Snap-Hoop for t-shirt embroidery!
Once I nested the shirt around the design area, I used painter’s tape to hold the shirt out of the needle area. Due to the hills and valleys of the ribbed knit, I was worried the fill stitches would cave into the ribs so I placed a piece of crisp (or lightweight) tear-away over the design area.
After stitching color 1, the fill stitches, I carefully pulled away the excess stabilizer.
I added a piece of film-type water soluble stabilizer over the design before stitching colors 2, the shading and 3, the outline.
Here’s the key, use a tear-away that rips clean. It will feel stiff in your hand, unlike a soft tear-away (or medium weight) that tears with a jagged edge and has a softer drape. The final colors – the shading and outline- will cover any pokies remaining in the crisp tear-away. The fabric won’t bleed through and the embroidery won’t sink into the garment even after laundering.
This technique works wonders with faux fur (like Christmas stockings) or other highly napped fabrics.