Posts Tagged ‘t-shirt embroidery’

How to stitch on baby soft knit fabric

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Those stretchy, skinny t-shirts are so popular. Here are some tips on how to stitch them successfully. First, the right embroidery design for the right fabric is crucial. Don’t try to force a design on any fabric. Look at the limitations of this baby soft knit fabric (sheer, 4-way stretch and nubby). That’s an embroidery suicide if approached wrong! So let’s control what we can.


The stabilizer has to disappear after the embroidery process. Our choices pare down to water soluble or heat away stabilizer. The stabilizer also has to hold the fabric stretched beyond its relaxed position during the stitching process so an adhesive is best. Use a water soluble adhesive stabilizer.


It’s a knit fabric so a ball point needle (70/10) will do the job.


I’m going to use-Snap Hoop because it’s flat and lets me stretch the fabric without distorting the fibers.


A low stitch count design will allow the fabric to relax and stretch between the stitches – keeping the garment comfortable and wearable.

I love this design featured in the Crosses collection from Anita Goodesign but I know this dense fill will destroy the delicate fabric.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Fortunately, the collection was designed with fashion in mind so the same design comes in a raw edge appliqué version. Perfect for this trendy fabric.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

What if you don’t have the luxury of different versions of a design? Dissect the design in question and scale it down to an outline or sketched embroidery design in machine embroidery editing software. Remove whole color segments and see what’s left. Often, you’ll find a sketched outline and details that will work. Take a few moments to play with the design in your software.

Now that the variables are under control, it’s time to focus on the planning and hooping.

Print a template of the design. Place the t-shirt on a dress form and audition the template(s).

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Verify placement and slide a target sticker under the template to mark the center of the design. Remove the template.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Carefully turn the shirt INSIDE OUT and place it back on the dress form. Your design area will now be in mirror image on the form.

It might help you see the entire embroidery design again at this point so just tape the template back on the shirt. Flip the template over to view in mirror image and tape it to the shirt. Mark the outer edges of the design with removable chalk.

Select your hoop and place it over the design area to verify you have the right hoop. You might want to chalk the outer edges of the hoop. But this is just for reference, it’s not a crucial alignment mark.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Remove the hoop and the template.

Cut a piece of water soluble adhesive stabilizer larger than the selected hoop. Remove the protective paper from the stabilizer. Adhere the sticky stabilizer to the design area using the chalked marks as a guide. Smooth the stabilizer to the fabric over the form. This can be a bit awkward but you’ll get another chance to smooth the layers after the garment is removed.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Remove the shirt from the dress form (don’t dislodge the target sticker). Smooth the stabilizer.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Place the shirt over the hoop’s outer ring or over the flat metal frame of Snap-Hoop or Quick-Snap.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Place the inner ring inside of the hoop and capture the design area in the hoop.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

In Snap-Hoop or Quick-Snap, pull the fabric taut in the frame. Nest the rest of the shirt around the hoop.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Attach the hoop to the machine, center the needle over the target sticker. Remove the target sticker and stitch the design. I often use painter’s tape to hold the fabric away from the design area.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Remove the hoop from the machine. Gently peel the adhesive away from the shirt and trim all excess stabilizer. Rinse the stabilizer under running water to activate the dissolving process. Fill a container with this solution: ¾ water; ¼ fabric softener. Soak the t-shirt in the solution for about 30 minutes. Agitate the water occasionally. Rinse thoroughly. Wash right side out in the washing machine with like-colored garments. Air dry.

Once dry, you’ll notice a bit of puckering around the stitches.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

No worry – once the garment is on, the fabric and stitches will be stretched – and flat! Works every time (well, for me, hope it does for you too!)

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell me about your embroidery habits.  Are you stitching Valentine and Spring themed projects now?  Or maybe you are the type to get ahead of schedule and you’re stitching for the summer or fall?  Post your comment for a chance to win 30 Favorite Embroidery Tips & Techniques.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

There were TWO opportunities to win in last week’s assignment.

The winner of the Little Black Tee answered the following question:

Tell me what fabric you find to be the most challenging to embroider on? Post your comment on this blog and you’ll be entered for a chance to win The Little Black Tee!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The lucky winner is: Judith Torphy!
“I find knits with lycra the most difficult.  I will truly put your great tips to work.” – Judith

The winner of the $100 Visa Gift Card will be randomly selected later this week.  Stay tuned!



It’s Time to Revamp Another T-shirt

Hmm, why another t-shirt? I must confess, I live in them, I’m always on the prowl for the perfect t-shirt. And recently I found one that I just love – for $6.99. Wore it one day, felt so comfortable I went back and bought 6 more. Well, half of them are for testing embellishment techniques. I spent last night sketching a few ideas on how to embellish it. Of course, some of the fabrics I want to play with were not in my home studio so the real fun had to wait until I got into the office. Sketching is easy, it’s the auditioning of the fabrics and fine tuning the techniques that takes time.

Of course, this whole project isn’t just for me – Designs needs a garment – print worthy – for our next photo shoot. And we need it now. So I have two techniques that I’ve been tweaking for a few months that I think are ready to share. One I call ‘squiggles’ and the other involves my Favorite Little Flower from the Posh Pincushion book.

I think the combination of the two techniques is what will make the t-shirt stand out from the crowd.

I’m starting with a plain, white v-neck t-shirt made from burn-out cotton. This t-shirt is cut on the bias and fits an aging figure very forgivingly. It skims the figure without stretching across every bump – love that! It does have a small breast pocket which will be easy to remove (I examined the stitching – no heavy bactacking to eliminate).

A stretch mesh in a lovely shade of crème brulee will add just enough contrast to draw attention to the new embellishment.

Thread color will be just a shade or two (ok, maybe three) darker than the stretch mesh. Or maybe not – after all the real star of this garment will be the stretch mesh fabric. The cutting, positioning and layering of this fabric will keep me challenged for the next few days. I’ll keep you posted on my progress and share the finished results in the September/October issue of Designs. Well, you’ll probably get to see it before then—especially if you’re a subscriber to the blog!

I just confessed to my weakness about t-shirts but that’s not my only one. I also am on the eternal mission of finding the perfect pair of black pants. Just ask my Stitching Sister how ridiculous this can be. In April, we spent a half hour laughing over how many pairs of black pants I took with me on a week long Stitching Sisters business trip. In the photo below, you can see two large black blobs on the floor in the foreground. That my friends, is nine pairs of black pants.

Tell me what’s you’re favorite go-to purchase. Do you have a tendency to buy the same thing over and over again?  Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a copy of Posh Pincushions.

Last week we asked if you were on Facebook or not.  The winner of the Five Star Fonts gift card is…Cathy Grace!

“Yes I am on Facebook. I mostly lurk, look at pictures of family, friends, etc but am enjoying that many of the websites I frequent are now on Facebook also! Its fun to see the “new” ideas along with messages from family and friends. I love seeing what others have made, embroidered ,sewn, etc along with messages from friends and family!”

Congratulations, Cathy!

p.s.  Are you subscribed to the blog?  If not, be sure to subscribe by July 10th because on July 11th we are emailing everyone that is subscribed by email a $5.00 coupon good towards any purchase at  Click here for more info and to subscribe.