embroidery on clothes blog

Just starting out in the world of In The Hoop Machine Embroidery, and being surrounded by very talented and creative people, I was itching to test my hand at a little ITH Embroidery on some clothes.

I have done my usual January tidy, and removed a number of items of clothes that I have not worn for over 6 months or, lets be honest, at all.

I have had a small pile of clothing sitting on my desk for a little while now, staring at me to be upcycled.

Allison recently released the Dream Catcher Embroidery design and I knew I had to give this one a try.

Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Design - Dream Catcher Embroidery design

With the help of both Martyn (Creative Design Technician) and Cassie (Machinist) I set to work on putting this beautiful design onto an old Bathrobe.

Step 1: Finding the Placement

Putting the item of clothing on and measuring the size and placement of the design to the clothing item is key. Each piece of clothing sits a little differently and you want to make sure you get the best placement for your design.

I wanted to put the Dream Catcher Embroidery design in the centre of my robe, on the back so that it hung between my shoulder blades.

With Martyn's help we measured from the neck of the robe to the top of where the hoop would sit.

Once we knew where the top of the hoop would be, we could make our marking points with our hoop template.

We then measured to find the centre of the robe, placed our hoop and the hoop grid template inside and marked the placement for our design.

Tip: To be a little more accurate, especially if you are wanting to do this off centre or in a more creative placement you can print off a picture of your design and place this on the item of clothing, in the hoop and measure from there.

Step 2: Stabiliser

As I do not want the stitching to shrink or warp on my upcycled robe I have used a Sulky Soft'n'Sheer Cut Away Permanent Stabiliser in the hoop, under the fabric (on the inside of the robe). Since publishing this post, we have released our own range of stabilisers if you need some!

I have had this robe for a while and the fabric is quite fine, so I wanted to ensure that it had enough strength to stay in place for the stitching of my Dream Catcher Embroidery design.

I have used the grid template again to line up the stabilizer and the robe to make sure I have this in the right spot.

Step 3: Securing the Hoop

To really make sure my robe didn't slip I have taped the edges of the hoop with a thin, hoop width, double sided tape and pinned my stabilizer and robe in place.

Pinning my Robe into the Hoop to keep the fabric from slipping.

Tip: To make pinning close to the hoop easier, pinch the fabric and stabilizer where you want the pin to come out, using your nail as a guard. Be careful not to push too hard and prick yourself.

Pin all the way around the outside of the hoop, getting as close to the outside edge of the hoop as you can.

Hoop Taped, Pinned and almost ready to go...

Step 4: Embroidery Stabiliser

I added an additional layer of Sulky Wash-Away Stabiliser to the front of my design. Martyn suggested that I do this so that the embroidery is given some extra height and further support while in the hoop (it was a great suggestion).

Sulky Wash-Away Stabilizer on top of the Robe for additional height for the embroidery and support in the hoop.

Pin in place and get ready for the fun!

Step 5: Basting Stitch

Basting stitches are for holding your layers of fabric and stabilizer together in the hoop to minimise movement.

Stitch the basting stitch prior to stitching your embroidery design, they are long stitch which means they are easily removed once you've finished your embroidery

Pulling the Bobbin Thread through to the top of the hoop

Before you start your basting stitch be sure to pull the bobbin thread up through the design, or cut this off under the hoop. If you start your basting stitch without doing so the bobbin may pull and cause your stitches to slip.

Step 6: Embroider

Now that everything is safe and secure you can set to work on your design. Gather any hanging material up and out of the way of your Embroidery Machine arm and keep an eye on how things are going.

Step 7: Trim

Once you have finished your design you just have to unpick the basting stitch, trim your cut-away and wash out the wash-away.

Trim the Cut-Away about 1.5cm/.5" from the embroidery

Remove the loose threads from the back side of the embroidery design, just trim these off. Be careful not to cut through the design (I almost did - trying to rush).

Trim the loose threads on the back side of the embroidery design
Now to wash the design

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog. As I have mentioned I am a ITH Beginner, so if you have any hints and tips that you would like to share please do.

~ Kaelei

We have a great community on our Facebook Page - Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Facebook Group. We welcome anyone who loves ITH or is looking to learn ITH to join. Click here to Join.

If you would like to learn more about ITH we have a great ITH Beginners Course we would encourage you to try:

ITH Beginners Course - 12 Exclusive Designs, 12 Tutorial Videos & All at your Own Pace

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