A couple weeks ago I started a blog series about how to embroider your clothes to add new life to your wardrobe! I have embarked on a new mission to glam up my families old clothes by adding embroidered elements. I know though that it can be daunting to pierce a needle through the Yarn of a trusty old jumper. “What if I ruin it?” “what if it doesn’t work?” “where do I even start?” Don’t worry I have had those thoughts and fears too. But with a few pointers to keep in mind, and with me being the guinea pig first, it will give you that extra bit of confidence to have a go at embroidering your own clothes. Here are some top tips for making your wardrobe over-hall a success:
1. Use a Stabilizer
Images Courtesy of Plystre Knitwear
The best place to start when embroidering your own clothes is to choose a cotton garment. Cotton is super easy to stitch on and you most likely won’t need a stabilizer. This is a great starting point if you are a nervous stitcher, as it will build your confidence and you will slowly ease your way into the process.
If you want to be more adventurous, and stitch on jersey or wool, you will need to invest in a stabilizer. The above photos from Plystre Knitwear is a perfect example of when you would need to use an a stabilizer.
A stabilizer holds the fabric securely and prevents it from stretching out of place. It also adds stability to thinner more delicate fabrics. This means that when you have finished your beautiful stitches, you won’t be left with a puckered, overstretched mess. A stabilizer will keep everything neat and in the right place!
There are lots of different types of stabilizers and interfacings to use from tear away and water soluble ones, iron on interfacing… and there are different weights too. It really depends on what fabric or fibre you are dealing with but it definitely plays an important role!
2. Choose the Right Needle
The above photos are courtesy of Dhara Shah from Chain Stitch Store.
I cant stress enough the importance of this point! I have made the mistake far too many times of using the wrong needle. Getting part way through a project and having to start again is never fun!
If you use a needle that is too big it can leave gaping holes that your thread won’t fill. But if you use a needle that is too small your fingers will start to ache after just a few stitches. A simple principle I go by to determine the right size of the needle is that if you are struggling to pull the needle through the fabric, then you need a larger size needle. If you notice that the thread doesn’t fill the hole the needle has just made, then you will need to choose a smaller size needle. You could test this out first on a part of the garment that wont be seen.
Its not just the size of a needle that is important but it is also the type of needle. Depending on how sturdy or delicate your garment is and what fabric or fibre it is made of, will help you to determine what type of needle to choose. As an Example, if you were to stitch on denim you would need something with a sharp tip in order to pierce through the thicker fabric and the needle would have to be quite thick and sturdy…a large chenille needle would be ideal! If you were stitching onto a knitted garment, however, or a delicate fabric like chiffon, a tapestry needle would work well because the blunt tip would not split the yarn.
I am speaking from experience when I say that choosing the right needle can take a project from being a headache to hassle free.
3. Choosing the Design and Colours
This is the fun part! This is where you can be as creative as you want to be and really create a unique item of clothing that makes you feel amazing!
The possibilities are endless. You could embroider floral elements, slogans, modern shapes and elements, bees and insects…what ever YOU want to add to YOUR clothes…go for it! I have a Pinterest board with tons of suggestions on linked above to give you some inspiration.
I know some people struggle to know what colours go well together. The simple principle that I like to apply is “If I like it…then it works!” Don’t be afraid to be you and be unique. If you really are struggling though, here is something I have done from time to time. In the past when I have struggled to choose colours, I have taken my project to my local craft shop and asked the opinion of the lady that runs the shop. We placed different threads together and compared them against the colour of the fabric until we got just the right combination. This really helped and was great to have someone else’s input…often suggesting colour combinations that I wouldn’t have thought of.
Now you have done all the design work…its time to embroider those clothes!
Those are my top 3 tips on how to embroider your own clothes with success. If you are still feeling a bit nervous about stitching on your favourite piece of clothing, why not try a garment that you don’t mind if it goes a bit wonky or enlist the help of friends. These things are always much more fun when you get your crafty group of friends together…even if it is via zoom! Otherwise send me a message via the contact page and we can book in a one-to-one session.