Embroidery Tutorial: How to Personalize Your Favorite Knit Sweater

Kaara's style
by Kaara's style
5 Materials
1 Hour

Do you have a simple knit sweater that you would like to take up a notch? Then follow this tutorial and learn how to make this stunning hand-embroidered sweater. I will show you how to do hand embroidery lettering with duplicate stitch knitting.

You might just try this once, and then go looking for more sweaters to embroider!

Tools and materials:

  • Knit sweater
  • Yarn that matches the gauge of the sweater
  • Scissors
  • Sewing needle
  • Water-soluble pen
Making word art

1. Making your word art

Use the water-soluble pen to write the lettering you want on your knit sweater.

I’m putting the word “kind” on the front chest of my sweater. Once I’m done embroidering, and wash my sweater, the pen will wash away.

Snipping yarn tip

2.  Make your first duplicate stitch

Here’s a tip for easily threading your needle with your yarn: Snip off the tip of the yarn on an angle. That makes it easier to thread through the eye of the needle. 

Thread your needle and do not make a knot in the end of the yarn.

Hand embroidering

Now, starting from the inside of the sweater, and at one end of the lettering, draw your needle up through the sweater to the front, going right between two rows of stitching on your sweater.

Hand embroidering

For the first stitch, cross your yarn over the row of sweater stitching to the right, and insert your needle through the two stitches above where you started, from right to left. 

Tip: You can easily discern the sweater stitches by looking for the point of the “V” that marks the bottom of where two stitches meet.

Hand embroidering

Draw your needle back down through your sweater at your starting point, just below where you first came up. 

Bring your needle up through the sweater at the bottom of the next stitch above your first one.

Hand embroidering

Now you have completed your first duplicate stitch.

Hand embroidering

3. Continue stitching

Reinsert your needle through the two stitches above your first stitch.


Hand embroidering

Then, as you did before, go back down at the bottom of that stitch, and up at the next sweater “V” point.

Completed duplicate stitches

Two duplicate stitches all done!

Note that the yarn I’m using to embroider with is a bit thinner than the yarn of my sweater, and that is why you can see a bit of the sweater showing through my embroidery stitches. 

Continue in the same pattern for the vertical rows of embroidery.

Creating diagonal lines

4.  Now for the diagonal lines

Creating the diagonal rows of embroidery requires a slightly different technique for stitching. 

To create the diagonal, after you make your first duplicate stitch, and have gone down into the bottom of the “V”, move your needle over and come up at the bottom of the “V” diagonally above the previous one. 

Make another duplicate stitch and move diagonally up to the next, until you have your diagonal line. 

Then go back down filling in the duplicate stitching on the diagonal line.

Continue embroidering with the duplicate stitch until you have filled in all your lettering, leaving long tails of thread wherever you need to cut them. 

Sewing in the tails

5. Sew in the tails

Now it’s time to make the inside of the sweater a bit neater. 

Remember, that you do not have any knots on the inside of the embroidery, so you need to secure those tails of thread. 

For each tail, thread the yarn through your needle, and sew small back stitches through your inside sweater stitches until the tail is sewn in. Then cut the remaining bit of tail.

Sewing in the tails

Now the inside of your sweater looks nice and clean.

Before shot

Here is my plain sweater.

After shot: Completed embroidered sweater

Embroidered sweater

And here is my hand-embroidered sweater!

Let your imagination guide your lettering – make it personal, festive, inspiring – whatever you choose! Pick up some plain sweaters at a thrift store, and make custom gifts for your friends and family! 

Please leave a comment to let me know how your duplicate stitching turned out, and what you put on your hand-embroidered sweater.

For extra support with embroidery, check out my post on Embroidery for Beginners: 8 Easy Stitches You Need to Know.

Suggested materials:
  • Knit sweater
  • Yarn that matches the gauge of the sweater
  • Scissors
See all materials

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Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Jeanne Jeanne on Dec 09, 2022

    I love this idea! 💗

    Your tutorial is nice and detailed. Your sweater looks great! Thanks for sharing!