Make It Pink! How to Embroider Your T-shirtcomments (13) October 15th, 2009
I started stitching when I was a little girl, but when I hit my teens, I set aside my needle in exchange for flashier, less traditional crafts. I was in my late 20s when I started stitching again, and the first thing I wanted to do was embellish my clothes. I first stitched on skirts and then made my way to all of the plain T-shirts I had in my dresser. My first attempts were less than stellar, wrinkly and puckery and distorted. Then I learned the secret to stitching on stretch . . . and now I'm here to share it with you! And, on top of all these secrets I'm about to share, I've also made a new pattern for you in honor of CraftStylish's Make It Pink Challange!
You can download the pattern here.
Here's what you'll need to get started stitching your way through your T-shirt drawer:
- T-shirt (obviously!)
- Pattern (if you're making your own pattern or using the one I've provided, you'll need to make a transfer. As I've said many times, I'm a fan of the Sulky Iron-On Transfer Pen in Black)
- Embroidery hoop
- Stabilizer or interfacing (I like using water-soluble but you can use a tear-away or cut-away stabilizer if you prefer)
- Embroidery floss (I used DMC 3846 [light bright turquoise], 3843 [electric blue], 747 [very light sky blue], and 310 [black] for the bird and 892 [medium carnation] and 894 [very light carnation] for the ribbon)
First, pick a shirt to embelish. A 100% cotton shirt works best. If you pick a shirt with Lycra or extra stretch to it, just be aware that you're going to have to be even more careful about overstretching it as you work to avoid puckering. Transfer your pattern onto your shirt. If you are ironing your pattern onto your shirt, use a piece of cardboard between the front and back of your shirt to avoid the possibility of the ink bleeding through.
Now you're ready to stitch. The key to getting a smooth stitch on stretch fabric is stabilizer. You can use cut-away or tear-away stabilizer, but I find that my stitches tend to loosen up while I try to remove the stabilizer. I've had the best luck with water-soluble stabilizer. It supports your work and stiffens the fabric as you work and then, once you've finished, you can wash it away. All that's left behind are your stitches instead of bits of scratchy stabilizer. This is especially handy when you're stitching on clothes for babies and children. Through trial and error, I've found that two layers of stabilizer cut larger than your pattern and your hoop work best.
Here's how the back should look as you work:
And the front:
After you make this project, show off your work to other members!
Post your project in the gallery