How to Embroider a Custom T-Shirt Using 4 Easy Embroidery Stitches

by Gulsen
8 Materials
2 Hours

Do you have a plain t-shirt that could do with a little sprucing up? If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place! I’ll show you how to embroider a t-shirt (or anything else for that matter) with four easy embroidery techniques.

This really is your ultimate guide to beautiful embroidery stitches, which you can use to embroider your own t-shirt with a custom design. Let’s start!

Tools and materials:

  • Embroidery thread
  • Needle
  • T-shirt
  • Paper
  • LED light pad
  • Pencil
  • Washable friction pen
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Stabilizer
Drawing the embroidery design on paper

1. Make your design

Draw out your design on paper. It can be anything you like, from letters to flowers; let your imagination run wild!

Transferring the design onto the t-shirt

2. Transfer the design

You can either use tracing paper to transfer the design or a LED light pad like I’m using. Put the LED pad under your t-shirt together with the design, and then trace it onto the t-shirt. 

Tip: Use a washable friction pen for this. 

Using a stabilizer to avoid losing the fabric shape

You can use a stabilizer to avoid losing the shape of your fabric. You can place it under or over the fabric. 

Placing the embroidery hoop over the t-shirt

3. Embroider

Next, place your embroidery hoop before you embroider your t-shirt. 

Drawing a wheel for the woven wheel stitch

1. Woven wheel stitch

This stitch, otherwise known as “spiderweb stitch” or “woven wheel rose”, is pretty easy to do! To make things easy, draw a circle and five equally spaced spokes. 

How to do a woven wheel stitch

Embroider the spokes with a simple stitch. Once you’re done, come up to the side of the center, in between two spokes. 

How to do a spider web stitch

Then, weave the thread under the nearest spoke. 

How to embroider a woven wheel rose

Then, over the next spoke. 

Weaving under and over the spokes

Continue weaving under and over the spokes, going around the circle while pulling the thread gently as you stitch. 

Embroidering woven wheel roses

Your woven circle will start taking shape. Continue as the shape is filled out. Aren’t these woven beauties just cute? 

Woven wheel roses

2. Lazy daisy stitch

Now, I’m going to show you how to embroider a lazy daisy stitch. Come up in the spot where the center of your daisy will be. 

How to do a lazy daisy stitch

Then, go back down the same hole or closer. Leave a good-sized loop just before the end. You can use your fingers for guidance. 

Threading the needle through the loop

Bring your needle back up to the point where the end of the petal will be. Make sure your needle goes through the loop and that the loop is lying flat. 

How to embroider petals

Make a tiny stitch to anchor it down. That’s your first petal! Now, make the rest of the petals, working your way around. 

How to embroider flowers

You can make as many petals as you like! If you accidentally pull your thread too tight, just use the end of your needle to pull and loosen it. 

Embroidered flowers on a t-shirt

3. French knot

Come up where you want your knot to be and pull it through. 

How to embroider a French knot

Wrap the thread around your needle, depending on what size you’d like the French knot to be. Make sure the thread is held between your thumb and pointer finger. I usually go 2-3 times. 

How to do a French knot

Keeping the wrap on top with your fingers, take the needle back down through where you initially came up. 

Pulling the thread through the wraps

Then, start pulling your thread through the wraps you made. 

Embroidering French knots

The trick with this is not to loose the tension of the wraps. So, when you start pulling the thread to the back of your fabric, keep holding the thread with your fingers. Once your thread is almost all the way through; you can let go. 

How to do a heavy chain stitch

4. Heavy chain stitch

Start the heavy chain stitch by making a small vertical stitch. 

How to embroider a heavy chain stitch

Bring the thread back up one stitch length away and pass the needle under the first stitch without picking up any fabric. 

Creating a chain with embroidery thread

Put the needle back in where the last stitch came out. 

Sliding the needle under the first stitch

Move down another stitch length, come up through the fabric, and slide the needle under the first stitch. 

Embroidering a heavy chain stitch

Once again, go back down in the same spot where the last stitch came up. 

Heavy chain stitch

Now you have two chain links on top of each other. 

Adding another link to the heavy chain stitch

Again, come back up on stitch length away and pass the needle through the last two loops. 

Heavy chain stitch embroidery

Keep following this method, and always remember to pass through the last two loops. 

Hand-embroidered t-shirt

Pretty awesome, right? 

How to embroider on a t-shirt

For the “vibes” design, I decided to use French knots. 

Embroider your own t-shirt

How to embroider a t-shirt

Now you know how to embroider a t-shirt using four different stitches. What do you think of my hand-embroidered t-shirt? I love the different stitches and colors; it definitely makes for some fun summer vibes!

Thanks for joining me, and I hope you have fun embroidering!

Suggested materials:
  • Embroidery thread
  • Needle
  • T-shirt
See all materials

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