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Hand Embroidery?

shannonmgarvey | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Hello. My name is Shannon and I was hoping someone could give me some information or tips on hand embroidery. What I would really like to do is embroidery a pretty large logo on the back of a knit hoodie and a name on the left chest. It’s a gift for a friends birthday and I’ve looked into having it professionally done, but any company I’ve come across that does the embroidery requires at least a 1 dozen garment minimum. I just want to make one, possibly 2 – the second for myself if I like it 🙂

Now, I’ve done plenty of hand stitching and cross stitching, but haven’t actually done embroidery onto an already made garment. What could I use as a stabilizer? Is there any way to place the image on the garment as a template for stitching? I really am lost as to how to start.

Another thing is that this could possibly be a very heavily worn garment and is there anything I can do to make the embroidery stronger or so that it could be machine washed? Also, the garment will be black and the thread used will either be dark grey or black if that makes a difference in the materials I use.

I appreciate any and all help with this. Thank you!


  1. mygaley | | #1

    Perhaps you could ask at the local fabric, quilt, or needlework shop about an individual that does small lots for pay--not that this will be inexpensive--a lot of sew-ers know each other and who does what.  Five years ago a 4X6 design setup by a home sewer was 12.00 Also, I helped with a 15 ft. mardi gras mantle (cape) last year and we did a lot of the work with machine applique and then did only what we must with machine/hand embroidery.  This speeds up the process immensely.  Get a book on machine applique at the library.  God bless you, Galey  PS I almost forgot--if you put black and grey on a black background, you don't get much.  I strongly suggest using fabric pieces to try-out this color scheme.

    Edited 7/22/2006 8:12 pm ET by mygaley

  2. mem | | #2

    Have you though of applique?? I think doing hand embroidery on a heavily used hoody made out of a fleece fabric would be hard to make look professional. If you do applique you could do the whole word and fix it with vliezofix and then use a stabilizer on the back and satin stitch it on  If you machine has ZIG ZAG you can satin stitch . You will need to practise but it isnt that hard . I would look it up in a sewing book Your machine manual may have instructions The hardest thing is how to treat corners both inside and outside and curves   Good luck

  3. suesew | | #3

    You would need a lightweight iron on stablizer to keep the knot fabric from stretching. There are ways to transfer designs with a transfer pen, available at sewing stores. You trace the design onto a scrap fabric and then iron it where you want it. Be sure you reverse the design when you trace it so it will come out correctly on the finished garment. There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to do what you are thinking about. I think hand embroideries have a lot more character than machine embroideries. You might consider adding an additional layer of iron on over the back of the finished product to protect it, (if it won't flatten the front too much by doing so,) Happy stitching, Sue.

  4. Teaf5 | | #4

    Hand embroidery holds up very well to repeated washings, even with bleach--the first time my dh washed the customized shirt I made him, his roomie at the time dumped a whole cup of bleach in, ruining the fabric, but the floss stayed bright and color-true.

    That said, I think you'd be better off doing your stitching onto a separate piece of woven fabric that's close in color to the hoodie, then attaching it when finished.  The smaller piece of woven fabric is easier to hold, stays stable, and if you make a serious mistake, allows for do-overs.  Plus, the inside of the hoodie won't have a lot of knots and threads, and you can remove and re-use the design when the garment starts to wear out. 

    Cut the base fabric about 6" bigger than the completed design so that you have space to hoop it, then cut and iron under the edges when you're ready to attach it to the garment.  Position it where you want it, and attach it with either an invisible or decorative stitch.

  5. Quilter | | #5

    Have you thought about using the 'drawn thread' technique and cross-stitching the design onto the hoodie?  My daughter does this on many clothing items and they turn out beautifully. 

    My local quilt shop will do machine embroidery for people, and willingly takes on single items.  Reasonably priced too.  If you live somewhere that has several sewing machine dealers, I'd check with them too.  They may take on embroidery as a side-line.  Worth a try anyway.

  6. User avater
    Becky-book | | #6

    "Drawn thread" cross stitch is also called work on "waste canvas". The cross stitch "cloth" is designed to be moistened (dissolving the starch that holds it together) and then removed from the work leaving just the floss on the  Hoodie.  I have done this on children's sweatshirts and would suggest covering the inside threads with iron-on interfacing; withstands washings through several children (hand-me downs).

    Hope this helps,


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