I want to make my own embroidery T-shirt! Steps how to make it and precautions embroidering on a T-shirt

Recently T-shirts and tops with embroidery became popular.

Even basic T-shirts are cute with just one point, and if you embroider yourself, it will be the only original item in the world. It’s also wonderful to embroider your favorite food and animals on your children’s T-shirts, and to make matching patterns for yourself and your children.

However, because T-shirts are elastic, are you worried about whether you can embroider them neatly?

So, this time, I will introduce the method of embroidery which I tried to embroidery on a T-shirt as a beginner myself and important points I noticed during the course of embroidery.

How do I find an embroidery design?

When you put embroidery on a T-shirt, isn’t the design the first thing you worry about? There are five ways to find a design.

  • Find your favorite designs from embroidery books
  • Search for embroidery designs on the web
  • Find free images
  • Draw your own illustration
  • Use a beginner’s kit

Let’s decide the design to embroider the T-shirt. Please refer to the following.

The basics of embroidery and cute designs are covered in the book. There are many types of embroidery such as European embroidery, cross stitch, and bead embroidery and techniques how to embroider in more sophisticated ways.

Reference: Name Plate

“Introducing FREE design recipes and ideas ♪” by Totsuka Embroidery Research Institute. There are alphabet and one-point embroidery designs.

Reference: Birdies_and_flowers 1

This is an overseas embroidery design. It’s colorful and cute.
When searching for embroidery designs on the web, it is easier to find them by searching for “embroidery (embroidery) free download”. However, there are a lot of cross-stitching designs (embroidery that expresses designs by arranging stitches with crosses on cloth) in Japan.

You can print and use free images instead of embroidery designs. “Pixabay” is safe because it is copyright free. If you can’t find a picture you like, draw an illustration yourself or use a beginner’s kit.

What are embroidery kits for beginners?

This is a beginner’s kit that allows you to practice embroidery from the basics. You can master 22 kinds of stitches in 6 practice courses. It is recommended to start as a new hobby, but may be frustrating for those who want to embroider a little on a T-shirt.

Lucian’s starter set comes with an embroidery frame, needle, embroidery threads and fabric. It also contains instructions with initials and one-point designs. However, since cross stitching is a method of embroidering so as to fill in the grid, when embroidering on a T-shirt, you need a grid-like sheet called “waste canvas”.

Search results for embroidery designs and embroidery kits for beginners

When I looked for a kit for beginners, there were many cross-stitched ones. I wanted to buy an embroidery book, but I wanted to embroider as a test to see what it would look like this time, so I decided to use items from a Dollar store without buying materials and books needed for embroidery from craft shops or bookstores.

When first I embroidered

1. Preparation

Embroidery frame

Some stores don’t carry these in stock while others don’t even take special orders from the makers or carriers. If you buy it at a handicraft shop, it will cost you around 1,000 yen (=$10), but you can get it at Dollar stores with much reasonable prices! This embroidery frame in the image here has a diameter of about 15.5cm (about 6.1 inches).

Embroidery threads

There were a lot of colors in a set, and there was almost no one color. When making colorful embroidery, it is better to consider the design first and decide which color is needed before purchasing threads.

Embroidery needles

When two embroidery threads are used, the embroidery needle should be No. 7. Choose an embroidery needle set containing No. 7.

Embroidery sheets

Actually, when I first tried using the “transfer sheet which the lines disappear with water”, I couldn’t copy the lines on the T-shirt. (I think it depends on the fabric of the T-shirt) If you can’t transfer, try the “embroidery base sheet.”

The embroidery base sheet is a base sheet on which illustrations can be printed with a printer. Of course, you can draw your own illustrations or copy illustrations. It’s a sticker, so it’s convenient because it can be put on a T-shirt and embroidered on it. The sheet is soluble in water.

2. Prepare an illustration and embroidery

This time, I used a water-based pen to draw an illustration directly on the base sheet for embroidery. I wanted to make it simple, so I didn’t use a ruler. Please note that if you draw with an oil-based pen, the line will not disappear after washing.

If you want to print a copyright-free illustration that you like, print it first on plain paper, check the size, and then print it on the sheet.

At about 1cm (0.4 inches) around the illustration, cut the sheet and remove the sticker.

Place the sheet on the T-shirt where you want to embroider, and put an embroidery frame.

3. Let’s start embroidering!

First, take two threads from the bundle of the embroidery threads and pass them through the needle. When embroidering, do not make a knot, leave about 10 cm (3.9 inches) behind the T-shirt and start embroidering. (I will finish up the end part when I complete the embroidering) This time, I embroidered with basic stitches, “Back Stitch” and “Satin Stitch.”
Since it was embroidered on the sticker-like embroidery base sheet, I thought that the needle would be sticky, but that was not the case, and the fabric was difficult to stretch, so it was actually easy to embroider.


I embroidered while going backward, in the same way as regular reverse stitching.

Satin Stitching

I stitched while shifting by the width of the thread to fill the circle.

4. Finish up the thread

When I finished embroidering, I turned the T-shirt over. First pass the needle through the embroidery thread that was left about 10 cm (=3.9 inches) , cross about 2 cm (=0.8 inches), and cut the excess thread.

5. Melting the base sheet for embroidery

After I soaked the base sheet for embroidery in water for about 5 minutes, it will melt when gently washed with running water. It became slimy and felt like it melted away after disappearing. Overall, it melted immediately, but the sticky part was difficult to remove because the embroidery thread was tangled with the thread.

6. Finish!

My first embroidery was completed! However, the thread spacing and the pulling condition are not consistent, and it feels a little wavy. . .

In addition, there were places where the base sheet was torn with a needle, and the width was smaller than the width that I thought was embroidered. If I changed the stitching of embroidery, the line may have appeared clean.

But it looks cute from a distance. 😉

Advantages and disadvantages of embroidering T-shirts by yourself

The embroidery itself took about 10 minutes, but it took a long time to prepare, finding the embroidery frame, and I couldn’t copy the illustration on the T-shirt with the transfer sheet, so I went to buy a base sheet. However, since all the materials are available at Dollar stores, I was able to embroider without too much preparation.

Advantages of DIY embroidering

You can make your own favorite design
You can make your own design with embroidery. It doesn’t take that much time, so I’m happy to make it right when I wanted it.

It can be anywhere you want on your T-shirt
It can be embroidered on the neck, sleeves and pockets on your T-shirt.

Embroider on your favorite T-shirt
The embroidery T-shirts you find in stores may not have the design or material of the T-shirt you would like, but if you want to embroider yourself, you can choose the T-shirt of your favorite style and material.


balancing a design is difficult
When I wear it after embroidering it, it is difficult to grasp the finished image because the balance of size and position is bad. Also, when printing a design, some may need to be enlarged or reduced.

Hard to embroider depending on the types of fabric
There are various fabrics even for T-shirts, so some are difficult to be embroidered. If you have a thin T-shirt, you may see through the thread on the back of the embroidery thread.

Limited designs that can be embroidered
An elaborate design makes embroidery difficult. If you have an embroidery book, you will know how to embroider, but if you have a copyright-free design, you have to think about which stitch you want.