What Are the Best Tips for Doing Embroidery on Clothing?

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  • Written By: S. McNesby
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 29 September 2019
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Embroidery adds extra flair and detail to an otherwise plain piece of clothing. It can be added to any type of clothing, from T-shirts to evening gowns, depending on the needs of the wearer and the skill level of the embroiderer. Choosing the right embroidery pattern, method, and thread is the best way to create a successful embroidered garment. A design or project that appeals to the end user is also helpful when selecting a project featuring embroidery on clothing.

Several methods can be used for adding embroidery to clothing. Hand stitching techniques can be employed by all skill levels to complete a monogram or design of any type. This type of embroidery on clothing is simple enough for all age groups and skill levels, and a minimal investment is required. It is best used for small projects, beginner projects, or embroidery on clothing that is small or has tough-to-reach areas. A hand embroidery project is also ideal for sampling the craft before making a large investment in supplies or time.


Machine stitching techniques are user friendly, but require access to a sewing machine with embroidery capabilities. Crafters who already know the basics of embroidery will understand machine embroidery more quickly, but most machines are designed for all skill levels. Machine embroidery on clothing is most commonly used to add logos and monograms, though images are available as well. This type of embroidery works well on all fabric types, but is best for tightly woven or fragile fabrics that will not stand up to hand embroidery.

The pattern chosen for embroidery on clothing should be compatible with the fabric and garment type. A football team logo will work well on a jersey or sweatshirt, but will look out of place on a wedding gown. Adding a licensed image like Dora the Explorer to a child's garment may make it ideal for one child, but totally repellent to another. A pattern that works for the end user should be chosen in order to get the most from projects featuring embroidery on clothing.

No matter which stitching techniques are used, embroidery on clothing should be done through a single layer of fabric. Accidentally stitching the garment closed is one of the most common errors encountered by new stitchers. Choosing a hoop size that is compatible with the clothing is another way to improve the odds of success. The hoop should hold the fabric firmly in the right location without stretching the piece out of shape.


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Post 1

Also, the embroidery pattern outline should be something that will either wash out completely, or will not be conspicuous if it takes a while to wash out.

After the outline ink has mostly washed out, the wearer should iron over the embroidery to help set the colors permanently, if there are no metallic or plastic filaments in the thread. Direct heat will do this even better than a clothes dryer.

Depending on the garment and the type of thread used for the embroidery, hanging the item up to dry may be preferable to putting it in the dryer, since it could get caught on something and snag the thread, or if the thread has metallic fibers, it could melt.

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