How to Embroider on a Knit Shirt

If you know me, you probably know that I embroider for my youngest daughter's Montessori preschool.  Although DD now attends public school, I still offer to do embroidery for the parents at the Montessori school.  It provides them an option to get the their children's clothing locally and still be able to have the school's logo embroidered for their uniform dress code.

The beginning of the school year is always busy with back-to-school preparations, so I have been busy in my sewing room getting these shirts done for folks.  I put a tutorial up on my site last year for a parent who was new to embroidery and wanted to try to do this for herself.  

I'm reposting the tutorial here so that others can get some ideas.  This is what works best for me and how I do them. 

Step 1.  Mark your shirt with the center and cross marks.
Step 1
I use the Embroider’s Buddy (Little Buddy in this case) to mark my garments.  This handy ruler has sizes marked along the edges.  Just line your size markings with the shoulder and center of the shirt.  I use a chalk or a water-and-air-erasable marker to make my marks.
Step 1 continued

Step 2.  Spray the back side of the marking with a bit of temporary adhesive spray.  I prefer to use KK 2000 or 505 Spray & Fix, which doesn’t gum up the sewing needle.  The adhesive will secure the knit to the stabilizer and prevent it from shifting around while it is being embroidered.
Step 2

Step 3.  Hoop some cutaway stabilizer.   For knits, I use either medium weight cut-away or the no-show mesh kind.   I do not hoop knit fabrics as they tend to stretch and move for me under the hoop. I also don't like the burn marks on fabric that some hooping leaves behind.
Step 3

Step. 4.  Place your shirt on top of the stabilizer so that the markings are centered under the needle.  Lightly pat into place so spray adhesive sticks.
Step 4

Step 5.  Float a piece of water-soluble topping over the knit and under the embroidery foot.  Do a temporary-baste stitch around the design.  The baste stitch not only attaches the topping to the knit, but more importantly, attaches the knit to the stabilizer to provide a secure but temporary attachment.
Step 5

Step 6.  Stitch your design as usual.
Step 6

Step 7.  Remove shirt from hoop, cut away the back stabilizer from around the design.  Remove the baste stitching and trim jump stitches.  Tear off the excess topping.  You may be able to see this picture shows that there is still topping inside the design.  Carefully remove what you can from inside the design:
Step 7

Step 8. Spritz the design with some water.  The topping dissolves instantly.  The chalk marking should also disappear.  Blot with a clean, dry cloth. 
Step 8

Step 9.  Lay shirt flat to dry. 

If you liked this tutorial and found it useful, please let me know!  

1 comment

  1. This tutorial is EXACTLY what I have been looking for! I just commented on one of your more recent posts that i didn't know how to embroider without hooping the fabric...but now I do!! Thank you so much...looking forward to reading more of your posts.

    ~ Darlene
    Facebook = My Honey Bunch


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