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Tips for Hand Embroidering Clothing

Tips for Hand Embroidering Clothing - Threadsy

Nicole Rollender |

If you’ve been experimenting with hand embroidery on t-shirts and other garments, you already know that the possibilities are endless (like flowers climbing out of t-shirt pockets or a full-back dragon on a black hoodie) when you have the right supplies, design and garment. Of course, there’s always room to improve, with tips from masters of the craft.

Getting Started Embroidering Apparel

If you’ve watched enough embroidery videos on YouTube and have tried embroidery already, but want to go up another level, here are tips from the embroidery experts.

✔ Choose the Right Fabrics to Embroider

Embroidery experts say that medium-weight knits with a little stretch—like cotton, twill, linen, linen blends and even denims—are the best to embroider. These include items like t-shirts, no-iron dress shirts, polos and the outer layer of a soft shell jacket. These fabrics won’t shift easily in your hoop. Plus, your t-shirt or other garment won’t pucker over time under the weight of the embroidery design.

✔ Know Which Fabrics You Shouldn’t Embroider

As you probably know, embroidery requires a smoother material that’s got some thickness, heft and durability to hold the stitches without puckering. That’s why thin fabrics, like rayon, silk and ultra-fine t-shirt material aren’t ideal for stitching. Your embroidery needle might get stuck in the fabric and tear a hole in it. Plus, if you’re using a stabilizer, it’ll show through the front of a thin white or light-colored shirt when you wear it.

In addition, try to avoid textured fabrics, like sweater materials and ribbed knits, as well as high-pile fabrics like terry cloth. Otherwise, you’ll waste your time and get rough, lumpy embroidery.

✔ Prep Your Clothes Before You Embroider Them

If your t-shirts or hoodies that you’d like to stitch are brand new, wash and dry them before you start your project. For cotton, twill and other heatsafe fabrics, give them a quick pass with an iron to ensure the fabric is smooth and crease-free before you begin working. 

Shop Products Perfect for Embroidery on Threadsy

One of the benefits of shopping with a clothing wholesale supplier like Threadsy is that our online catalog is geared towards crafters and makers like you. Our product descriptions can help you identify fabric weight and quality before you buy, and we work with brands like Threadfast who specialize in wholesale apparel that's embroidery-friendly for professional and amateur decorators alike. For example, the Threadfast hoodie below has two separate pockets at the waist instead of a kangaroo-style pocket, making it easier to decorate the entire front of the garment. Threadfast jackets are also among our most popular for embroiderers.