DIY Embroidery: Embroider your own t-shirt

Embroidery Embroidery Kits Learning Embroidery

** Please note, this tutorial is suitable for both white t-shirt and tie-dye t-shirt kits. ** :)

Embroidery is a great tool for adding details to clothing, new or old. You can use these instructions to upcycle a well loved t-shirt, or use this kit to create your own personalised t-shirt.

Before you start, ensure that you have collected all the equipment that you will need. You can find more information on supplies in this guide to beginners embroidery.

You will need:

  • T-shirt
  • Stabiliser
  • Needle
  • Embroidery thread
  • Hoop
  • Erasable pen
  • 2 x pins
  • Scissors

DIY how to hand embroider your own t-shirt and upcycle clothes

Place your chosen design inside the t-shirt, behind the area that you wish to embroider (e.g. left breast). Trace the design onto the front of the t-shirt carefully using an erasable pen. Please be aware that erasable ink can leave a ‘ghost’ line on fabric once erased, so double check your placement before tracing your design. I would advise only using erasable ink on areas that you will cover with embroidery.

Turn your t-shirt inside out. Place the stabiliser fabric behind the traced design and pin it in place. Once complete, turn your t-shirt back the right way, so your traced design is at the front ready for embroidery.

Take your embroidery hoop and loosen the metal fastening on top to separate the two hoops. Place the inner hoop inside the t-shirt, directly beneath the design. Place the outer hoop on the outside of the t-shirt and gently press the outer hoop onto the inner hoop, then tighten the fastening so the fabric is not slipping and sliding. Be careful not to stretch the fabric - loosen the fastening if necessary. Ideally you’d like the design to be centred within the hoop with the fabric pulled taut but not stretched. This is a tricky bit and requires a bit of trial and error, so if it doesn’t work first time, just try again!

Now you are ready to embroider! Pick an embroidery thread colour to use and cut off approx one arm’s length of thread. Look closely and you will see that the thread is made up of six strands. For this project we want just two strands - carefully separate the thread so that you have just two strands together. Thread onto your needle and knot one end. Try to knot three or four times in the same place to create a knot that will hold securely.

Embroidery is a little like drawing with thread! With that in mind, decide where you will begin ‘drawing’ your design and bring your needle up through the fabric from the inside of the t-shirt. Make a single straight stitch approx 5mm long and bring your needle back through the fabric. You have your first stitch!

We will use back stitch for this design. Once you have created your first stitch (step 5), bring your needle back up through the fabric along the line you have drawn, approx 5mm from your last stitch, leaving space for your next stitch. Then push your needle back into the last hole of your last stitch. You should end up with two stitches and no gap between them. Continue until you have embroidered your entire design!

Once your embroidery is complete you will need to knot it securely. Flip your embroidery hoop over so that you are looking at the back of your design. Slip the needle under a stitch that is close to where you have finished stitching, loop the remaining thread around your needle a couple of times and then pull the needle all the way through until you have created a little knot. Repeat once to secure the embroidery.

Snip off the remaining thread, remove your hoop and carefully cut around the remaining stabiliser. You can re-use any left over materials again so don’t throw them away!

Use an iron or hair dryer to remove the ink of the erasable pen. The ink will disappear when exposed to the heat.

DIY hand embroider your own t-shirt beginners embroidery kit

If you need any help following these instructions, please feel free to get in touch at any time - I am always happy to help! Make sure to share your finished t-shirts on Instagram and tag @deliciousmonstertea.

Happy stitching!

Claire x

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