embroidery pics and questions about t-shirts

I've decided not to do a Stitch School post today. I'm sure you're all out celebrating the holiday or picnicking or something other than sitting at your computer. At least I hope you are. We're finishing up planting the vegetable garden today and doing various outdoor chores.

But in case you have stopped by today I'll leave you with some pretty pictures of an embroidered table scarf with what are probably thousands of French knots. No, I didn't count them but just look at it. This scarf isn't in perfect shape but I didn't pay a lot for it and the embroidery is just extraordinary.

There are a couple more pictures on my Flickr page (click the photo). It's all French knots except for the leaves and daisy petals, packed very tightly together to form a solid mass.

I also found this very cool example of spiderweb flowers on Ebay. This is what they look like when you leave some of the underlaying structure showing:

spiderweb flowers

And finally, I have some questions from readers about embroidering on t-shirts that I can't answer. So I'm turning it over to you guys:

I would like to embroider something on a t-shirt for my daughter. Can you recommend a stabilizer suitable for this type of project?Anita

I recently embroidered a t-shirt for a toddler. Do you typically put some sort of lining on the back of the embroidery? I used some back stitching so there is quite a bit of thread on the back side. I have considered using iron-on interfacing as a backing but am worried that it will cause visible lumpiness when the shirt is worn.Andrea

Can anyone recommend stabilizers or give any general advice about embroidering on t-shirts? Thanks in advance (and thanks from Anita and Andrea, too)!


Melissa Norris said...

I haven't tried it but noticed a T-shirt stabilizer at Sublime Stitching today. It may be worth checking out.

Beth said...

I'm wondering if a tear-away stabilizer would do the trick? That would stabilize the fabric so it doesn't stretch while you sew and would allow you to have less bulk and "lumpiness" when you're finished. Haven't tried it, but that's what I would try

elizabethdee said...

I embroider on T-shirts all the time, and use either Sulky's Totally Stable iron-on, tear-away stabilizer (not the heavyweight version) or their SuperSolvy (i think that's the right version, it's definitely Solvy, and it comes in folded sheets, it's not the liquid or powder).

The iron-on, tear-away type is the most talked-about, and I bet the one at Sublime Stitching is great. But the Solvy type has a couple of advantages. First, Solvy is named for "dissolve" -- it dissolves on contact with water, which means that you won't need to tweeze bits of it out from under your stitches, the way you might with a tear-away. Second, it's transparent, which means you can place it on the right side of your T-shirt, a BIG advantage when you're working on a dark-colored T-shirt. Instead of having to transfer a pattern to your dark-colored T-shirt, you can simply trace it onto the Solvy (just use either a permanent marker or do what i do, use a white colored-pencil).

The main thing to remember about stabilizers: be sure to use a piece large enough not just to cover your design, but to fit into your hoop.

As for backings, I wouldn't use one for a toddler, probably. I would for a newborn or for an infant, and then I'd sew flannel over it.

Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...


I'm not sure how helpful this is - but I like to embroider on another piece of fabric and then attach that to the shirt. This way there is only one bit of stitching next to their skin.


janet said...

Racquel, how do you attach the fabric piece? I think it would look cute to turn under the edges and then blanket-stitch (or use a loose running stitch) the fabric piece down.

Anita said...

Thank you, thank you! Any recommendations where I can buy the Solvy, washable stabilizer?

thank you again, I can't wait to get started on a project.


*** hunzer *** said...

I've been trying SO HARD to resist the urge to start embroidery but now, I have succombed. THANK YOU for your stitch school posts. I've gotten a ton of ideas. Like I really need another hobby!!



elizabethdee said...

Hi Anita,

I get my supplies online at joann.com but I imagine any fabric store would have the Sulky products. And I double-checked, and it's the Solvy, not the SuperSolvy that i prefer. However, if you find you want a heavier stabilizer, you can always iron two sheets of Solvy together -- how great is that?

One thing I forgot to mention. The tear-away is not good if you're doing a lot of satin stitch, as the paper will get stuck underneath your stitches and require finicky tweezing to get out.

By the way, the feel of the threads on the reverse doesn't bother me, and unless you're dealing with a kid with major sensory issues, is not likely to bother anyone but a very young baby. Embroidery thread is just not that coarse, and if you're a little bit careful with your finishing, it shouldn't be irritating. As for the look of the interior of a toddler's T-shirt, I am not so exacting!!

Anita said...

Wow, Elizabeth thank you again. Guess I'll be making a trip to JoAnn this week!

AndreaLea said...

That is a really cute idea. I'll have to try that next time.
The embroidery I just finished was for a one-year-old so I wasn't sure how sensitive she would be to it. I was the neatest I've ever been with my stitching though! I have two boy toddler/preschoolers so I don't do much embroidering on their shirts. :)
Thanks for the ideas and thanks for mentioning this Janet!

Smockity Frocks said...

I have embroidered on several baby onesies for gifts. I ironed freezer paper on the back and it worked great and tears away easily. (I got this idea from Pleasantview School House.)

I then used a heat and bond prduct to put a silky backing on the shirt to cover the threads.

Here is where I blogged about it:

Smockity Frocks said...

Oops! Wrong link. Try this: www.smockityfrocks.blogspot.com/2007/03/embroidered-baby-gifts.html

Anonymous said...

I've found that many children, especially young ones are sensitive to embroidery against their skin. I bought my daughter some cute embroidered jeans and she wouldn't wear them because of the knots and stitches on the inside. We get a lot of baby clothes from BabyGap and I've noticed that they use a very soft knit iron on interfacing on the back of their embroidery. It works really well and it still allows the shirt to stretch so it isn't obvious from the front that it is there.