How to Embroider Clothing by Hand: A Guide for Hand Embroidery

Even though stitching may seem ordinary, turning it into beautiful embroidery on your clothes can unleash a world of creativity. You’re about to embark on a journey where each thread serves as a brush stroke, each fabric as a canvas.

We will guide you through the basics, including the necessary tools, the best fabrics, and the essential stitches to learn. What’s the secret to making your embroidery stand out? And how do you take care of these embellished clothes?

Stay with us to unravel the threads of this intriguing craft.

Key Takeaways

  • Select quality materials and tools such as threads, needles, and an embroidery hoop for successful embroidery on clothes.
  • Please choose or create appropriate patterns. And transfer them accurately onto your fabric using techniques such as tracing or printing.
  • Understand the importance of thread and needle selection.
  • Apply embroidery techniques effectively and secure stitches properly. Ensure careful removal of embroidery hoop and stabilizer for a professional finish.

Materials and Tools Needed to Embroider

embroidery materials and tools

Before you thread your first needle, let’s gather your toolkit. You’ll need a captivating pattern, a variety of vibrant threads, sharp needles, and a sturdy embroidery hoop. With these essentials in hand, you’re ready to embark on your embroidery journey.


When starting embroidery, it’s important to choose the right materials and tools. One key element is the fabric, which greatly affects the outcome of your project.

When you decide to embroider clothing, opt for 100% cotton, linen, or even denim. They’re easy to stitch, making your task less daunting. However, avoid satin, tulle, or stretchy fabrics as they can be challenging to master.

Don’t forget to wash your fabric in the washing machine before you start, as this can prevent future shrinkage. Practice on a scrap piece of fabric to see how it sews.

A Pattern

After choosing your fabric, the next step in your embroidery adventure is to sketch or print a pattern. This pattern will be your guide for creating your own design. Whether drawn or printed, this pattern is your creative blueprint. It can be as intricate or as simple as you prefer.

You can even choose from a plethora of pre-made embroidery patterns available online or in craft stores. To transfer your design, you’ll need printer paper or tracing paper. Carefully pin the pattern onto your fabric to ensure it doesn’t shift around. This will guide you in perfecting your design placement and result in an embroidery piece that’s both unique and personal.


With your pattern firmly in place on your chosen fabric, it’s time to bring your design to life with the right embroidery threads. These threads, also known as embroidery floss, can be your canvas’ paint, creating a vibrant, tactile image.

Floss, a high-quality option, helps prevent color bleed and ensures lasting brightness. Thread weight matters, too. Higher numbers signify finer threads, while lower ones suggest thicker strands. Matching the right needle to your thread weight is crucial, though we’ll delve into needles later.

Finally, remember to store your thread properly. Keeping your threads in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight, maintains their quality and color. Now, you’re ready to turn those threads into art.


Embroidery needles are very important for sewing colorful threads. They have large eyes that can hold multiple strands of thread. But, not all embroidery needles are created equal. They come in various sizes, typically ranging from 3-9. Here, the smaller the number, the larger the needle size. It’s crucial to choose the right size to prevent fabric damage and ensure smooth stitching.

Moreover, you’ll find needles crafted from materials like stainless steel, nickel-plated steel, or even gold-plated steel. These varying materials aren’t just for show; they provide the durability needed for different fabrics and floss types. With the correct needle in hand, you’re one step closer to transforming your clothes into embroidered masterpieces.

Embroidery Hoop

Now it’s time to get your embroidery hoop, another important tool for fabric decoration. This humble tool, often made of plastic or wood, is your fabric’s best friend. It holds your material taut, creating the ideal tension for precise, even stitching.


Good embroidery scissors can make a big difference in your crafting. They provide precision when cutting thread and reduce strain on your hands during long creative sessions. With their sharp tips, they easily navigate through fabric, making hand embroidery a breeze. Keep them clean, sharp, and exclusively for your embroidery projects to prolong their life. Embroider with ease and enjoy the process even more with the right scissors.


In embroidery, using a stabilizer is important to keep the fabric in place and avoid stretching it. It’s especially useful when working with thin or stretchy fabric. Imagine it as a safety net, catching any missteps and ensuring your design remains intact.

Stabilizers are like the unseen heroes of embroidery. You apply them to the back of your fabric, inside the embroidery hoop, before you start your first back stitch. After your design is complete, if you’ve used a water-soluble stabilizer, it will dissolve leaving a clean finish.

Choosing the right stabilizer can significantly enhance the quality and longevity of your embroidered masterpiece. So, never underestimate the power of a stabilizer!

Which Type of Fabric You Can Embroider on?

Different fabrics like cotton, linen, or denim can influence the ease of stitching and the durability of the embroidery. Use thick, non-stretchy fabric instead of thin, stretchy, satin, or tulle materials to make your embroidery project easier.

An essential preparatory step is pre-washing your chosen garment to remove sizing or potential shrinkage. Consider the weight and stretch of the fabric, as they can affect how you sew. If you want to embroider onto clothing, remember to choose the suitable fabric to embroider.

And remember, practice makes perfect! Take some time to hone your skills on a test piece before you let your needle loose on the final item.

How to Embroider Clothing by Hand

how to embroider clothing

Embroidering by hand can bring a unique, personal touch to your clothing. Start by washing your garment. Then, cut out your pattern and transfer it onto a stabilizer which you’ll then stick on your clothing. To start your embroidery journey, place your garment in a hoop and have your design within reach. Use different stitches to make your design come alive. Do you want to learn how to embroider onto clothes? The following is a detailed tutorial for beginners.

Step 1: Wash your clothing before stitching onto it

Before plunging into the exciting world of embroidery, it’s essential to pre-wash your chosen piece of clothing. This crucial first step ensures that your future embroidery designs maintain their integrity. Imagine spending hours hand-stitching a detailed pattern, only to see it warp after the first wash. It’s devastating, isn’t it?

To avoid this, hand wash your garment using a gentle detergent. The pre-wash step removes dirt and chemicals and lets the fabric shrink before sewing. It eliminates wrinkles from your garments. Always make sure the fabric is completely dry before you thread your needle, to ensure a smooth stitching process. By doing this, you’re setting the stage for your embroidery to shine, creating a piece of art that lasts.

Step 2: Cut out your Pattern

Once your clothes are clean, it’s time to cut out your pattern. Hold sharp scissors and a pattern ready, and you can start transferring a beautiful design onto your fabric. Precision cutting is absolutely essential in this case. The more accurately you trim along the pattern’s outline, the cleaner your work will appear. You’ll want to eliminate excess fabric, leaving just enough to securely attach your design. Removing unnecessary material improves the appearance of your embroidery and makes it easier to sew. So, take your time, be meticulous, and let your creativity shine.

Step 3: Transfer your Embroidery Design onto Stabilizer and Stick the Stabilizer on the Clothing

Prepare to bring your embroidery design to life by transferring it onto a Stick and Stitch stabilizer. This step is crucial to keep your design in place while you embroider. This creative process involves printing or tracing your design onto the stabilizer. With a keen eye for detail, cut out the stabilizer along the design’s outline for precise placement on your clothing.

Peel off the stabilizer’s backing, then stick it onto your fabric. This provides the perfect support for stitching, keeping your design just where you want it. Once you’ve finished your masterpiece, the stabilizer can be easily washed away, leaving only your beautiful embroidery behind. It’s an innovative way to make sure your design doesn’t budge while you stitch!

Step 4: Place your Clothing into a Hoop

Secure your design onto the fabric with a stabilizer, then begin stitching with your embroidery hoop. The hoop isn’t just a tool. It’s your gateway to creating beautiful embroidered clothing. Using an embroidery hoop can make your work easier. To achieve precise stitching, you must master the art of securing fabric into the hoop.

Begin by securing your clothes in the hoop. Please ensure the area you wish to embroider fits perfectly within the hoop’s embrace. This is crucial to maintain tension. A well-hooped fabric sings with the promise of smooth, wrinkle-free embroidery. Adjust the hoop’s screw, pulling the fabric taut until it’s as flat as a freshly ironed shirt. Remember, your hoop is your ally, ensuring your design stays in place, facilitating a perfect stitch every time.

Step 5: Start Embroidering your Design and Use Embroidery Stitches to Trace your Design

Now that your fabric is securely in the hoop, you can start stitching your design. There are many embroidery stitches such as running stitch, long satin stitch, straight stitch, long and short stitch, back stitch, split stitch, or French knots. Secure your embroidery thread at the back, ensuring its firm hold. As your needle flows with practiced grace, remember to maintain a consistent tension. This method produces impeccably uniform and beautiful stitches.

Don’t rush this process; take your time to trace your design accurately. Your embroidery isn’t just a craft; it’s a labor of love. Remember, practice different embroidery stitches on scrap fabric before you dive into your project. This way, you’ll perfect your technique, making your final piece a testament to your skill and patience.

Step 6: Make a Knot to Secure your Stitches

After tracing your design with practiced stitches, ensure its beauty by securing the stitches with a careful knot. This is the critical step in embroidering on clothes that will safeguard your intricate design. First, gently pull the needle and thread through to the back of your fabric. Here’s where your nimble fingers come into play. Twist your thread into a small knot, finding the balance between tightness and bulkiness to make it secure. A bulky knot risks creating an unsightly bump on your garment’s facade.

Step 7: Cut off any Extra Floss

Trim any excess embroidery floss to finish your hand-embroidered piece for a clean, professional look. Grab your sharp embroidery scissors, preferably ones with a pointed tip. They’ll be your best ally in achieving that neat finish you’re aiming for. Be deft, yet gentle. You don’t want to accidentally cut into your fabric or fray the floss.

Step 8: Remove the Embroidery Hoop and the Stabilizer

After cutting the floss, carefully remove the embroidery hoop and stabilizer from the fabric. You’ll want to gently loosen the hoop’s screw, delicately lifting it off your labor of love. Now, don’t rush. This isn’t a race. Your stitches, those tiny works of art, require respect.

Next, it’s time to bid farewell to the stabilizer. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, either tear it away or dissolve it. Be patient, ensure every bit of it’s gone, without damaging your embroidery. Avoid any temptation to pull or tug at the fabric. Once done, inspect your masterpiece for any stray stabilizer bits. Your embroidered fabric is now a testament to your patience and creativity.

How to Maintain your Embroidery Garments

Wondering how to keep your embroidered garment looking new? The secret lies in the care.

Always hand wash your embroidered treasures with a mild detergent. This gentle approach preserves the vibrant colors and intricate stitching. Remember to avoid bleach; those harsh chemicals can damage your handiwork.

After washing, don’t chuck your garment in the dryer. Instead, air dry it by laying it flat. This helps maintain the shape and prevents any potential shrinking.

Lastly, if you need to iron, do so on the reverse side. This protects your stitches and keeps them looking impeccable.

Proper care ensures that your embroidery continues to shine, adding beauty to your wardrobe.


As you’ve seen, embroidering clothes by hand is a delightful blend of creativity, skill, and patience. You can start your project in easy steps. With the right tools, the proper fabric, and a little practice, you can transform plain clothes into stunning, personalized pieces.

Keep practicing and refining your skills – the world of embroidery awaits. Remember, maintaining your embroidered garments is key to preserving their beauty.

So, grab your needle and thread, and let your creativity bloom on the fabric!

Leave a Comment

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00