Embroidering on Knit Fabrics

If you’ve been around for a while, you know that I like a little something extra. That really, we all do here at Sew Liberated. We love a special detail, like the gores on the Lichen Duster, or the loop on the back of the Studio Tunic. We live for a clever pocket, a beautiful flat fell, a perfect gather. So you had to know, we’d need to add a little extra to our Bedrock Tees

For me, it is a little embroidered tomato. And I am here to show you how to do it yourself. You don’t have to do a tomato. I know not everyone is as passionate about this acidic enigma of vegetation as me. You could do flowers! A snake! A tiny mouse! Mushrooms! Something geometric! Anything you can draw, really. And if you don’t like to draw, you can find many, many designs in books and on this vast internet, and I have compiled a whole list for you at the bottom of this post. 

Quick tips on embroidering on knits

  • Make sure the hoop is pulled taut
  • Try a few different needles to see what you like
  • I prefer 3-4 strands of threads, so the lines stand out from the fabric
  • Use fusible web to reinforce the back
  • For very slippery knits use Solvy. You can trace your design right on the Solvy and it washes away after you stitch. 

Supplies for embroidering on knit fabrics

  • Your Garment
  • Solvy 
  • Embroidery Hoop
  • Hand Needles
  • Embroidery floss in colors of your choosing

For my tomato and for the lettering, I used a chain stitch. I used a vine stitch for the leaves. I love this stitch for outlining or for writing because it is so bold. You could also use a back stitch or other stitch of your choosing. 

How to embroider on knit fabrics

  1. Sketch out your design on paper (or trace off something you like)
  2. Try on your garment and mark where you want the design. I went with just about where I thought a chest pocket would be. 
  3. Transfer the design to Solvy, or use a water/heat soluble pen to draw directly on your fabric.
  4. Pin or baste the Solvy in place. 
  5. Start stitching! Check out this guide to common embroidery stitches from CrewelGhoul for some other basics to start with. 

I just love embroidery. It feels special to have a little bit of handwork on something I sewed as if am merging these different ways and eras of making. And now I have a tomato, one of my favorite foods, on my sweatshirt. Always a good thing. 

Our favorite embroidery resources

Responses

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  1. Thank you! The Kiriki Press Stitch Library resource is wonderful. Learn the stitches and let ones imagination set free to create.
    Thank you for this great resource.