Embroidering on Children’s Shirts

We received a message from Melinda on our Facebook page asking for some tips for embroidering on children’s shirts. Here are my top 10 tips for embellishing children’s shirts with machine embroidery.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

1. Keep it light. Kids hate stiff, itchy embroidery so select embroidery designs that have a low-stitch count.

2. Use applique to add impact. Fun colors and funky fabrics infuse a lot of spunk into plain t-shirts without adding the dreaded bullet-proof embroidered shield!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

3. Look for applique designs that are on the small size – under 3” x 3”. Jumbo designs overwhelm a small figure.

4. Get the placement right. Depend on the Children’s Perfect Placement Kit to help with locating the correct position for designs on children’s garments, size infant to youth large.Eileen's Children's Perfect Placement Kit

5. Ask the child (if old enough) for input on favorite colors, shapes, characters and designs. If they help design it, they’ll love wearing it.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

6. Rely on fusible polymesh stabilizer to eliminate the stretch in knits. It’s a strong cut-away and very comfortable.

7. Don’t be afraid to slit a side seam to make hooping easier. Knits don’t ravel so you won’t have to worry about frayed edges if you don’t have a serger.

8. After all embroidery is complete, add a fusible lightweight, tricot knit interfacing to the wrong side of the embroidery. This delicate, sheer cover-up will camouflage the bobbin threads and eliminate the ‘itch’ factor.

9. Lighten up your expectations. Kids are not only finicky but they grow so fast! Save the heirloom techniques for really memorable occasions when the effort will be worth it.

10. Look for ways to extend an active child’s wardrobe by adding embroidered borders to lengthen hemlines and cover stains. You’ll be glad you did if the child gets another season out of a garment.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us what your favorite children’s theme is for the Summertime goodies you are crafting. FOUR lucky comments will be chosen to receive $25 to spend at the Applique for Kids website. Thanks and good luck!

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The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Here’s your assignment this week:
What vintage goodies from your grandmother, great-grandmother or other special family member do you have tucked away? It’s time to pull the linens out and use them as inspiration! For those feeling especially social, take a photo and post to our Facebook page! (No worries, everyone who just posts a comment on the blog has a chance to win!)One comment will be randomly selected and will win a $25 shopping spree to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

Designs in Machine Embroidery Shopping Spree

And the winner is…Shumidog “Even though most of my aunts at one time worked at the Coats and Clark factory in Central Falls, RI which made cotton embroidery thread none embroidered. Knitting and crochet were their forte and I have a number of items including doilies and bureau scarves.”

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61 Comments on Embroidering on Children’s Shirts

  1. Karon Gregory
    May 21, 2014 at 2:19 pm (6 years ago)

    I love Beach scenes the best. You can change it to girl or boy for what ever your imagination desires!!!

    Reply
  2. Martha
    May 21, 2014 at 2:22 pm (6 years ago)

    My favorite is embellished hooded towels. They are great for bath time, but also at poolside or the beach

    Reply
  3. Susan J
    May 21, 2014 at 2:24 pm (6 years ago)

    Great tips! I have two preschool great nephews and a great niece on the way, so the help is greatly appreciated. My 5-year-old great nephew likes Star Wars, so I am always looking for something “spacey” for him and the 3-year-old loves cars and trucks, so that is an easy one. I am hoping the little girl will be a “princess.” I can’t wait to do “girly” embroideries. i like to do a shirt or towel with an ocean therefor them before they head to the beach or pool this Summer.

    Reply
  4. Diane W
    May 21, 2014 at 2:46 pm (6 years ago)

    I like the Popsicles or ice cream but have been doing a lot of Disney inspired items. The smocked look is fun too.

    Reply
  5. Carol Seavitt
    May 21, 2014 at 2:55 pm (6 years ago)

    One of my nurses is due anytime. Baby boy. Think I will go with trains or baseball.

    Reply
  6. Terry Jones
    May 21, 2014 at 3:02 pm (6 years ago)

    I like insects. You can use them for Kids (boys or girls) On tablecloths or tote bags. I could go on and on.

    Reply
  7. Cathy
    May 21, 2014 at 4:56 pm (6 years ago)

    I have made a couple of baseball themed shirts for great nephews this summer, and butterflies for the great nieces.

    Reply
  8. Shelly Christensen
    May 21, 2014 at 6:57 pm (6 years ago)

    I love animals and Fourth of July designs, 2 years ago I made all 17 of my grandchildren 4th of July tee-shirts and I loved them all!!

    Reply
  9. Lori Erickson
    May 21, 2014 at 7:35 pm (6 years ago)

    I sew a lot of children’s clothes and love to add funky flowers or pocket peekers.

    Reply
  10. Donna N.
    May 21, 2014 at 7:54 pm (6 years ago)

    I always have a week of camp for my grandkids and make them camping themed embroidered shirts.

    Reply
  11. Frances Powell
    May 21, 2014 at 9:34 pm (6 years ago)

    Since I will be having a new grandbaby (It’s a Boy!!!!) in July, my focus has been on things for a baby boy.

    Reply
  12. Berenice
    May 21, 2014 at 9:43 pm (6 years ago)

    Even though my kids are older, we do a lot of beach theme items, rainbows and unicorns are big too. And for my shoe lover, a set of shoe based storage items and a tote. I don’t think princesses will ever go out of style…

    Reply
  13. Jill Hicks
    May 21, 2014 at 9:51 pm (6 years ago)

    I like to use sea life designs. My grandkids are getting to the age when they can have fun at the beach.

    Reply
  14. Patty Fiske
    May 21, 2014 at 10:01 pm (6 years ago)

    No one favorite since Granddad is a firefighter, dad a marine and redskins fan baby likes giraffes and elephants mommy likes cute.

    Reply
  15. CarolKE
    May 21, 2014 at 10:02 pm (6 years ago)

    I am using butterflies, ice cream, and cars.

    Reply
  16. Lynn Zukowski
    May 21, 2014 at 10:12 pm (6 years ago)

    I’ve been beep-beep-beep embroidering robots- great for little boys- and a little unique- not seen as often on kids clothes for summer. I think applique designs really allow you to tie in the embroidery with the fabrics in the outfits. you can make them feminine for little girls by just adding a bow and having it sewn into the final outline satin stitch.

    Reply
  17. Jodie Taylor Hickman
    May 21, 2014 at 10:21 pm (6 years ago)

    I usually am doing what my grand children are into. The most recent are BMX biking, baseball, and fishing. For our one grand daughter I just finished embroidering a princess carriage with her monogram in the middle. She is four and goes by Liz but her monogram is lHh. She didn’t even know what it stood for! Lol

    Reply
  18. Sheila Wagner
    May 21, 2014 at 10:26 pm (6 years ago)

    “GO” Accu Quilt dies are my favorite right now, I have used the baby dies in a quilt for a friend’s daughter who had a little girl. I also got the train to make a quilt for a great newphew.

    Reply
  19. Gail Beam
    May 21, 2014 at 10:34 pm (6 years ago)

    I like to use large applique sea animals and letters for beach towels and totes.

    Reply
  20. Joaniez
    May 21, 2014 at 11:12 pm (6 years ago)

    My favorite summertime theme is the beach. I love the beach and the kids love going to the beach more than I do. I can’t miss with the beach scene.

    Reply
  21. Kathleen Crabtree
    May 21, 2014 at 11:22 pm (6 years ago)

    I love beach theme designs for the summer. Especially anything with crabs.

    Reply
  22. Shirley Clark
    May 21, 2014 at 11:31 pm (6 years ago)

    My granddaughter loves flip flops and cheerleading, so I’m doing a combination of both for summer outfits. I’m also doing some beach themed shirts for our beach trip.

    Reply
  23. Laurie Borysewicz
    May 21, 2014 at 11:44 pm (6 years ago)

    I’ve been making beach towel cover ups for bath and beach. With animal faces on the hood.

    Reply
  24. Lester Ann Jensen
    May 21, 2014 at 11:49 pm (6 years ago)

    My favorite is making little girl’s skirts from recycled blue jeans. I then appliqué flowers or little animals and trim with a cute children’s print and lots of pretty ruffles.

    Reply
  25. Clarice
    May 22, 2014 at 1:03 am (6 years ago)

    Applique for kids has the cutest Boston Terrier. Just perfect for kids of all ages. I love adding embroidered dogs to just about everything.

    Reply
  26. Doreen Wales
    May 22, 2014 at 1:52 am (6 years ago)

    I love little yellow chicks added to a surprise corner .Watch faces as they find them on the inner or side of a bib,quilt,cover,receiving blanket.

    Reply
  27. Kate
    May 22, 2014 at 4:34 am (6 years ago)

    My sewing room is incorporated into my open dining/kitchen area so my grandson caught onto sewing from the moment he could get into the various drawers to investigate and hide his toys. With that said, he already has mastered threading, changing bobbins, cutting threads and pulling fabrics for his project ideas. Every week this month he has to sew a Monster Truck or vehicle of some kind or another and last month was various boat styles. Embroidery is his favorite because of all the thread changes. Keeps him occupied and really proud upon completion and wants to start the next project immediately. He just completed his first panel quilt top (Monter Trucks w/silly monsters) with 2 color borders. Grandma will finish the quilt for his arrival next week. It is so much fun reliving the sewing adventures I also had with my 2 sons and they are excited to know their son and nephew have the same opportunity. Thank you so much for all your helpful advise and hints.

    Reply
  28. Wanda H Leffingwell
    May 22, 2014 at 5:00 am (6 years ago)

    I love embroidering on Beach Towels, Also embroidering on onesies with monograms and tiny designs!

    Reply
  29. Jennifer Berry
    May 22, 2014 at 7:31 am (6 years ago)

    My favorite theme is beach/ocean life. There are so many great designs to choose from and they looks great in any color group!

    Reply
  30. PRandolph
    May 22, 2014 at 8:53 am (6 years ago)

    I love pirate themes …. I just haven’t had many occasions to sew anything with this theme. Neither of my boys were ever interested in pirates. Urgg.

    Reply
  31. Patty
    May 22, 2014 at 9:11 am (6 years ago)

    I like the trains for little boys and flowers for little girls.

    Reply
  32. Ann Santistevan
    May 22, 2014 at 10:37 am (6 years ago)

    Watermelon! Embroidered, watermelon colored fabrics and trims maybe even smocked watermelons.

    Reply
  33. Ann
    May 22, 2014 at 11:18 am (6 years ago)

    Love to do sea creatures for summer. Works for boys or girls

    Reply
  34. Colleen
    May 22, 2014 at 11:38 am (6 years ago)

    currently doing beach towels, so adding beach themes with names to everyones towels. Big family party coming up and everyone needs to have their own “NEW” towel.

    Reply
  35. Marcia McDonald
    May 22, 2014 at 11:40 am (6 years ago)

    I love nautical and beach scenes.

    Reply
  36. Barb
    May 22, 2014 at 3:58 pm (6 years ago)

    I love all the summer fun appliqués available, especially ice cream, watermelon, flip flops, lobsters, crabs, and boats. Right now I’m getting ready to do 4th of July theme T-shirts for all my grandchildren.

    Reply
  37. Karen
    May 22, 2014 at 7:40 pm (6 years ago)

    I don’t stay with themes I do what ever suits the person getting the item.

    Reply
  38. Paula Watson
    May 22, 2014 at 7:43 pm (6 years ago)

    Birthdays and Beach! Our only grand-daughter will be turning 1 this August so of course I will be stitching her up some cute little outfits. And always the BEACH!! Since purchasing a beach house I am embroidering beach towels, kitchen towels, and placemats. Oh how I love summer!

    Reply
  39. Pam
    May 22, 2014 at 8:40 pm (6 years ago)

    Animals!

    Reply
  40. Terry senko
    May 23, 2014 at 1:48 am (6 years ago)

    I love Anything beac-related or tropical for summer. This was a great post & the tips for embroidering kid’s shirts will be very handy.

    Reply
  41. Rita Corey
    May 23, 2014 at 6:47 pm (5 years ago)

    My favorite is animal pocket peekers. They are just so cute and my niece loved the one I did for her with a kitten.

    Reply
  42. Debe
    May 26, 2014 at 12:22 am (5 years ago)

    It’s got to be farm animals or machinery, anytime of the year. 3 grandsons live on the farm & the 4th likes all things farm, also.

    Reply
  43. Vicky
    May 26, 2014 at 3:17 pm (5 years ago)

    Sailboats and their accessories.

    Reply
  44. judit z
    May 26, 2014 at 7:24 pm (5 years ago)

    still jave my wedding dress with three great grand daughters.
    Now just need to figure out what to make out of it. Two are tomboys.
    Third one just arriving tomorrow.
    juditz

    Reply
  45. Doreen
    May 27, 2014 at 12:38 pm (5 years ago)

    For my four year old granddaughter anything Paris themed or Princess themed is always a hit.

    Reply
  46. Doris
    May 28, 2014 at 11:18 am (5 years ago)

    I think of lazy hot days of summer. Children riding bikes and climbing trees to eat green apple or picking wild berries. Children exploring there neighborhoods in a new way.

    Reply
  47. Grandma E.
    May 31, 2014 at 3:10 pm (5 years ago)

    When school is out I am taking turns with my younger 4 grandkids for “one on one” time. With the almost 13 year old I will be teaching her how to use my new embroidery/sewing machine. I am almost 74 and if anything happens to me it will go to her and her Mom so she might as well know how to use it. Mom is too busy right now. She can choose her own designs. For the 5 year old we already started last week by cutting out the yellow and red lady bug dress and red bolero. together. I will sew some on it before she comes then let her work on learning the sewing machine doing straight stitches. I draw lines on some fabric doubled so they have something to guide along. Put the speed to S-L-O-W and let them go with me supervising. I love teaching and working with all of them over the years (10 grandkids and now 4 great grands that have to grow up a little bit first.)

    Reply
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  54. annette rady
    June 20, 2015 at 6:45 am (4 years ago)

    I love to embroider on baby items like tees, snap crossovers and towels. To me it is the “beach” theme with buckets, sandcastles and surfboards that make a huge hit… Of course who can go wrong with “prince charming” and Princess. It’s all so fun… puts me on a real high.

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