Embroider-Along Part 9: How to Embroider a T-Shirt

Welcome back to my Embroider-Along: Part 9. Hi, my name is Sue O’Very, BERNINA Ambassador and machine embroidery expert. During this series I have talked about the four basics for machine embroidery. We’ve covered Stabilizers/Materials, Needles, Threads, Hooping and how to stabilize all the basic materials. Now it’s time to put into practice what you’ve learned along the way. Today I’m going to show you step-by-step how to embroider a Ladies T-Shirt with the #SewBoss complimentary embroidery design.

we all sew how to embroider a ladies t-shirt

Embroider on a T-Shirt

In Part 5 I showed you how to embroider on a baby Onesie. Embroidering on a Ladies T-Shirt is very similar however because of the size compared to a baby Onesie and the weight of the knit there are a few other tricks I’m excited to share with you.

we all sew how to embroider a ladies t-shirt correct stabiliers

Stabilizers for a T-Shirt

For a Ladies T-Shirt the best stabilizer to use is either a lightweight sheer cut away, like PolyMesh or a Medium weight cut away. This particular T-Shirt was a little thicker and required a little more stabilization. As apposed to using two layers of the PolyMesh I opted for the one layer of Medium weight. As you’ve learned in the previous lessons it’s a good idea to place a piece of water soluble stabilizer over the top of a knit. I prefer the StitcH20, this wash away stabilizer helps the stitching lay smooth, the design to not get sunk into the knit and it also doesn’t stick onto the presser foot.

we all sew how to embroider a ladies t-shirt stabilizers

Thread and Needles for a T-Shirt

The choice of thread for embroidering on knits really depends on the design and desired effect. Refer to Part 3 where I talked about different types of threads and needles. Personally I avoid metallic thread on Ladies T-shirts as it can be scratchy against sensitive skin. Today I am using the Isacord 40 wt Polyester embroidery thread. I like how this thread works on my BERNINA 790 Plus! As far as needles use an embroidery needle, 75/11.

we all sew how to embroider a ladies t-shirt embroidery threads and needle

Embroider on a T-Shirt – Step-by-Step guide

Now that you’ve got your stabilizers, needles and thread ready lets gather the rest of the tools needed. In Part 4 I discussed hoops, grids, marking pens and adhesives. For the Ladies T-Shirt I will be using a Frixion highlighter and the Dritz Spray Adhesive. I have created an awesome design #SewBoss which would be a great project for a gift or for yourself! Download the SewBoss Embroidery Design Files here. The design comes in two sizes; 5″x7″ and 6″x10″. Remember in Part 4 I covered hoop size vs actual embroidery area. Because of the actual embroidery area of the 6″x10″ design I am able to embroider it with my BERNINA 790 Plus Oval hoop.we all sew how to embroider a ladies t-shirt printing template

Find the center front of the shirt and mark a vertical line. Print the template and cut around the design area so the template lays nicely. Mark the horizontal line.

we all sew how to embroider a ladies t-shirt finding center of embroidery area

Connect the marks to form the cross hair lines. In a ventilated area place a piece of cut away inside a box. Lightly spray the stabilizer with the adhesive. The box is nice so the spray is contained and residue doesn’t get onto your machine or cutting area. Turn shirt inside out. Place the sticky side of the stabilizer to the wrong side of the shirt.

we all sew how to embroider a ladies t-shirt spray adhesive

Smooth out any air bubbles of the knit. Hoop the shirt/stabilizer combo and double check the placement with template. Place a piece of StitcH20 over the embroidery area. In order to keep the stabilizer in place between the hooping station and the machine try this trick. Get your fingertip lightly wet and place your finger on the wash away stabilizer, the side touching the shirt. Gently push the dampened area onto the knit. Repeat on all four corners. This is a quick tip for keeping the wash away in place.

we all sew how to embroider a ladies t-shirt how to hoop and place water soulable stabilizer

Set design onto machine and add a basting stitch around the outside. Refer to Part 5 for some tips on using a basting stitch. Sew the design.

we all sew how to embroider a ladies t-shirt basting stitch

Once design is complete, remove hoop from machine and materials from hoop. Remove all the wash away on top, use tweezers as needed to get the stabilizer out of the tiny areas. On the wrong side of the shirt use Duckbill Applique scissors to cut around the stabilizer. The Duckbill scissors are nice because they lay flat against the shirt without accidentally cutting the shirt.

we all sew how to embroider a ladies t-shirt removing water soluble and cut away

Sometimes when hooping knits the hoop will leave marks. These marks are referred to as Hoop Burn. Most of the time the hoop burn will come out after washing.  If the shirt is a gift or for sale you will most likely not want to wash the shirt first. Here is a great trick on how to remove hoop burn without washing. Hang your shirt. Shake a bottle of Mary Ellen’s Best Press so you see lots of bubbles inside. Spray about 8-10″ away lightly saturating the hoop burn. Let set for about 10 minutes and the hoop burn will most likely disappear. Repeat as needed.

we all sew how to embroider a ladies t-shirt removing hoop burn

What is next?

The next three parts of my Embroider-Along are going to be focused on the other types of materials and using everything I have learned along the way.

How long have you been embroidering? Let me know in the comments below and please ask any questions you might have about materials I haven’t covered. Be sure to keep following along here, you can also follow BERNINA on Instagram and Facebook to see the latest post!

Here is the Embroider-along schedule:

Until next time I hope you have a creative day, bye-bye!


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