Embroidery is a very simple and relaxing craft that anyone can pick up. In this Instructable I will be teaching how to embroider your name into a t-shirt using the back stitch. This is a beginner project that allows you to get more comfortable with the back stitch and create a cute personalized item.
Step 1: Materials and Set Up
For this project, you will need:
- small embroidery hoop: A two part ring often make of wood or plastic. It is used to keep the fabric taut and in place to assist embroidery.
- embroidery needles: These needles are much larger than regular sewing needles because the string used for embroidery is significantly larger than regular sewing string.
- embroidery floss: This string is much thicker than normal sewing string. Often the string is composed of multiple smaller strings, allowing the user flexibility for how thick of a string they want to use.
In this Instructable, a 4 inch wood hoop, DMC floss, and clover embroidery needles were used.
When setting up the hoop, start by loosening the screw at the stop of the hoop to separate the two hoops. Then, place the smaller hoop underneath the fabric you are looking to embroider (figure 3). In this case, place the smaller hoop inside the tshirt and place it where you want to embroider your name. Next, place the larger hoop on top of where the smaller hoop is. You are going to push down in the top hoop, sandwiching the fabric between the hoops as the smaller one inserts into the larger hoop. Then, slightly tighten the screw. As you tighten the screw to its stopping point, pull on the fabric so it stays taut within the hoop. If you push on the fabric between the hoop, if you should have a "bouncy" quality from being taut (figure 4).
Step 2: Planning
Planning is an important step because you want to set yourself up for success.
First, decide on the shirt you want to use. For beginners, I would suggest picking a shirt that's fabric is neither too think nor too thin. The two extremes will make it harder to control the fabric. Using a shirt of medium thickness will allow you to embroider with ease for this first project.
Based on the thickness of the shirt, you can decide how thick of a floss you want to use. Embroidery floss separates into 6-8 smaller pieces of floss (figure 5) . The DMC floss used in this project separates 6 times. Personally, I prefer using floss that is three strings thick because when threaded through the needle, becomes 6 strings think (figure 6). You can chose to use more or less, it is dependent on how think you want your embroidery to be. However, if the shirt material is on the thinner side, I would suggest using thinner floss. On the other hand, if the shirt material is on the thicker side, I would suggest using thicker floss.
It is a good idea to outline the pattern you want to make, or in this case, stencil your name, because in embroidery, the string will cover any marks you make on the fabric (figure 7). This also allows you to merely to stitch the outline, rather than "eyeball" where the next stitch needs to be.
Step 3: Begin the Back Stitch
First, push the needle through the back of the fabric at the lowest part of the first letter. Then push the needle back through, about one millimeter away from the initial threading, following your outline (figure 8).
Then, push the needle through the back again, one millimeter way from the last stitch. You will see a spacing from your first stitch to where the string currently is. then, you still push the needle through the front, going backwards from where the string is currently, essentially closing the gap (figure 9).
You will continue creating these one millimeter gaps by pushing the string from the back of the fabric to the front then closing these gaps by then pushing the needle back to where the last stitch was.
Try your best to keep the stitches an even length.
Step 4: Follow Your Plan
The best part about writing your name on the fabric before touching is a needle is that it allows you to just trace!
One suggestion I have is that when going over rounded parts of letters, make slightly smaller stitches in order to achieve rounded lettering. If you make the stitches too large on the rounded areas, your letters may come out looking quite boxy (figure 10).
The next part is going from letter to letter. It is actually quite simple! Merely start the next letter as you started the first one in step 3, starting the first stitch at the point of the letter closest to the point where you ended your last letter (figure 11). Figure 12 shows a view from the back.
Then continue using the back stitch as used to trace the last letter. Repeat this process when jumping from letter to letter.
Step 5: Finishing
Once you have finished all of the letters, you want to tie off the embroidery well so it does not come undone!
First, turn your shirt inside out so you can see the back of the fabric and the inside hoop so you have good visibility. Then, thread the needle through a piece of the string on the back, making a little loop. Then push the needle through the little loop pulling tight (figure 13).
After, cut the string as close to the needle as possible, taking the two ends and tying a regular not (figure 14).
Step 6: Enjoy!
Hopefully you enjoyed the process as much as the finished product! Although embroidery is detail oriented, once you have learned how to carry out the process, it can be a very relaxing activity. Most importantly you get a personalized finish product you can be proud of!