Hand-Embroidered with Love

Long time no see, friends! I took a semi-intentional break from blogging while preparing for my move (ie: all my cute sh*t was packed up so I technically couldn’t shoot any content). Shame on me for not planning ahead! March was a busy month all around, with two weddings and a move so I let myself neglect G&J for a bit. But I’m back today and I’m sharing previously promised and very delayed post on how to hand embroider your comfiest t-shirt.

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I have such an affinity for cheeky tees, and more recently embroidered ones.

They are clean, simple and I love the added detail of a stitched saying. For Alden’s bachelorette, I made each girl a shirt to have as a little souvenir. I’ll be honest, this project was a little trickier than I anticipated. It took me a few tries to get the hang of the backstitch, but once I got use to the technique, the project became surprisingly relaxing. I would work on 1 or 2 shirts every night while catching up on my dVR – #multitasking.

SUPPLIES | T-shirt + Embroidery Thread + Embroidery Needle + Disappearing Ink Pen + Wine

STEP x STEP |

  • To make your pattern/stencil, type your desired phrase (use a semi-thick font) and print on a white piece of paper.
  • Cut out a box around your pattern and slip the piece of paper inside your shirt. The lighter the tee, the easier it is to see your stencil.
  • Trace onto the shirt using a disappearing ink pen. Once you’re happy with your word/phrase placement, you can begin threading the embroidery floss and needle.
  • Cut a long strand of the floss – the length really depends on how long your word or phrase is but if you ran out, you can always re-thread and pick up where you left off.
  • Before you thread the needle, split the floss in half, so that you have 2 strands with 3 strings in each. (See photo below)
  • The trick when threading the needle is to push the eye of the needle through the thread (instead of pushing the thread through the needle). This video explains it best.
  • Now that you have traced your word or phrase and threaded your needle, take a sip gulp of wine and get started!
  • Use the back-stitch to complete your word (this video is super helpful, skip to 0:18). When you make the first stitch, tie a not on the inside of your shirt, as shown below.
  • Continue stitching, making sure your stitches are short so that you have more control over the line or curve of the letter. The shorter the stitch, the smoother the lines.
  • Once you’re finished with the entire bottle of wine word, knot the thread to secure it in place and clean off any dangling threads on the inside of the shirt.
  • When knotting the thread at the end of your word, make sure not to pull the thread too tight. You don’t want to pull the thread from the front because it will gather the fabric in between the stitches. 

Don’t forget to dip the area of the embroidered word in water to remove the pen marks. This pen is water soluble and the ink vanished almost immediately.

If you’re not an expert seamstress (*raises hand*) don’t let this project intimidate you. With the help of YouTube and a glass of wine, you would be surprised about how much you can accomplish. If you decide to try this DIY, I would love to see your finished product – send me a Snap!

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