Hand Embroidered Clothes

The most sustainable clothes, are the ones that are already in your wardrobe. So why not bring an old item of clothing back to life with some hand embroidery and make something that can be unique to you.

Hand embroidery on clothes can be easy to do with the right preparation. If its a new item of clothing you will want to wash it first so that it doesn’t stretch and my advice for caring for your newly embroidered piece is to hand wash from now on.

Often when I embroider onto clothes I don’t have a particular plan, I just draw and see what happens. I don’t always have a complete design by the time I start to embroider, I like to get started and then see how the piece grows as I’m working on it.

After scouring through the comments left on my Instagram, I’m going to answer the most frequently asked questions

Do you use stabilizer?

I do and I don’t. It really depends on the weight of the fabric that I’m stitching on. If it’s a jersey type t-shirt where the material is particularly stretch then yes I would recommend using stabilizer. This will make sure your stitches don’t distort and stretch the fabric out of shape. However, I have embroidered a couple of t-shirt style blouses and the fabric is much more suitable to hold its shape.

How do you protect the stitches at the back?

A great tip I have for you hear is to keep your stitches neat! Make sure when you tie of a piece of thread you have finished with, you tie it off as neatly and as secure as possible. I also don’t trail threads between elements, for instance, if I am stitching a couple of flowers that I will be using the same colour thread, for I will tie off the thread after finishing each flower instead of perhaps just trailing it between. This will keep your back neat and prevent any easy damage from snagging.

How do you draw your design onto the fabric?

This depends, I like to draw some designs free hand and others I design first and transfer via the light box or window method (link to my guide on transferring your design here) The designs that I have drawn free hand, in my opinion are my most successful. I think that’s because I do a little bit at a time which really encourages me to work with the shape of the item of clothing and really consider where the embroidery will sit when you’re wearing the clothes.

Can you still use a hoop?

Absolutely! Although I do not have the hoop as tight as I would when I’m just stitching onto loose fabric. I keep the hoop loose so it just holds the fabric so that its easier to stitch on. You will really want to keep paying attention to your hoop tension making sure it isn’t stretching the fabric out of place.

Do you cover your stitches at the back?

No, I leave them as they are and I don’t seem to find them annoying but I know other people do. If you’re using a dark colour or heavy weight fabric then you can cover your stitches, but I never like when you can see the patch through the material when you’re wearing your clothing. Also leaving the stitches uncovered means you can go in and make any repairs necessary.

If you have any further questions that I haven’t answered, please drop a comment below and I will get back to you.

Thanks for reading, and please subscribe if you’re interested in seeing my work and picking up some tips and tricks on hand embroidery ~ Georgie

Author: georgiekembroidery

30 year old embroidery enthusiast living in Gloucestershire, UK.

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