Embroidering Your Clothing Made Easy

Embroidering on clothing is a great way to turn a plain shirt into something a bit more unique. Throughout this tutorial, you’ll learn what supplies are required and what steps are needed into order to add a unique spin to your boring old t-shirt.

You’ll watch as I embroider a tortoise onto a shirt for my boyfriend as a gift. This isn’t my first time stitching a silly creature on a shirt. A few years back, I embroidered myself a shirt with an armadillo on it, and he stole it from me ages ago. So here’s hoping that I might be able to get my armadillo shirt back. I also designed my possum pattern specifically as a gift for a friend that I ended up stitching on a shirt.


  • Your desired article of clothing made of 100% cotton
  • A design of your choice
  • Fabric stabilizer
  • Sticky Fabri-Solvy or a heat soluble pen
  • Embroidery floss
  • Embroidery needle
  • Embroidery hoop to fit your design
  • Scissors

For this project, I used a cotton shirt as my article of clothing paired with an original drawing of a tortoise.

Step 1 – Transferring your design

There are two ways of getting your pattern onto your shirt. You can either use transfer paper or freehand your design directly onto the shirt using a heat/water soluble marker. I opted to trace my design onto sticky fabri-solvy and placed it directly onto the shirt.

Step 2 – Stabiliser

Flip your shirt inside out and lay it flat. Place a sheet of stabilizer where the design will be and carefully secure your embroidery hoop between the layers.

Try not to pull the fabric too tight when securing your embroidery hoop. You don’t want to cause any wrinkles in your finished design.

Step 3 – Get stitching!

Start embroidering as you normally would. I tend to opt for simpler designs when embroidering on clothing. I usually avoid using satin stitches when embroidering on clothing as it can be difficult to keep the tension the same while making satin stitches throughout an entire project. Then once you remove the embroidery hoop, the inconsistent tension will really show.

Step 4 – Finishing Touches

Once you’ve finished embroidering your design, remove any excess stabiliser. Do the same for the sticky fabri-solvy, if you used.

Next, soak your shirt in a bowl of warm soapy water. If you used sticky fabri-solvy, gently rub at the areas containing it until it dissolves. Next run your shirt under cold water. You can now wash your shirt as normal.

And that’s it! It’s so easy! Best of luck in embroidering on your clothing.

Enjoyed this post? Then check out some of my other blog posts or purchase the in-depth embroidery journal guide. You can also join the free Embroidery Journaling Facebook group to chat with others working on Embroidery Journals. Follow me on any of the following social media websites:

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