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Just starting out in T-shirt embroidery and looking to spend onequipment and designs? And don’t know what to do right?
That’s why we’re here. We’ll list the most important factors that relate to T-shirt embroidery, whether you do it professionally or personally. From buying the equipment to stitching embroideries, we’ll shed some light on each of the points.
First and foremost, let’s start with a quick look of what you’ll need to buy;
- Cut Away Stabilizer
- Tear Away
- Water Soluble Stabilizer
- Tender Touch
- Basting Spray
- Embroidery Thread
- Embroidery Needles
- Alcohol Swabs
- Embroidery machines
- Good Fabric Scissors
- Ball Pins
- Pin Cushion
- Ball Point Needles
- Marking Pen
- Storage cart
FYI; I come from a garment manufacturer family and had my own belt of experiences running two private apparel entities. Moreover, also contributed as a senior merchandiser in a crucial embroidery project for Venice.
So, let’s check out a bunch of expert tips to get started with T-shirt embroidery!
1. Familiarize Yourself with Your Machine Dealer
When you start out as a novice embroiderer, your dealer is the single best resource for you. The reason behind this is that the manufacturers require such dealers who are experts in the technicality of the machines. So your dealer should be an expert on embroidery machines by default.
Great dealers are like personal cheerleaders and advisors. They offer you lots of important tips, ideas but most importantly encourages you in your work. You’ll be able to gain useful and practical knowledge from them. Your enthusiasm will be energized by them and you’ll gain enough confidence to succeed.
More importantly, all embroidery machines basically function the same, but their performance varies depending on how each machine operates. Most dealers will provide practice classes for owners that will certainly help you to familiarize yourself with your machine and its functions.
2. Buy the Machine You Personally Feel Comfortable with
In the market, you’ll see many manufacturers with their many machines with different features of all sizes and functions. Don’t be hasty while choosing a machine. This is your tool. So be picky and choosy before selecting one.
Choose the one that feels comfortable to and understandable to you. You can start with the basic versions then upgrade to the professional version.
3. Attend More Practice Classes
Project and practice classes help to sharpen your embroidery skills with the additional support and instructions by trainers and peers. Most dealers will offer extra courses to refresh and reinforce the basic skills.
Additionally, they will provide information to machine functions which is beneficial for the levels of every skill of machine embroidery. This makes it so important to have a relationship with your dealer. It can be much helpful!
Attend private lessons or with a group, or you check out collections of many online embroidery lessons found on the web. And you can watch them as much as you like, and as long as you want, no matter it is day or night.
Utilize your machine effectively at home by applying the knowledge to make elegantly embroidered designs on your T-shirt.
As for technical difficulties that are very specific to your own machine, software, needles or even thread, browse the online forums as these are very useful sources to troubleshoot the problems you face. Every well-known manufacturer will have support pages on their forums and websites so that the users might discuss to find and share any information.
4. Study More about Embroidery
Reading books and booklets or even articles on the machine or the hand embroidery can prove to be a big help while you’re building and honing your skills. Additionally, you can read about machine embroidery, in other great sources like,
Subscribe to magazines which talk about machine embroidery, like the topic of Designs and Creative Embroidery. They will inspire you as well as provide you the information on equipment such as needles, threads, stabilizers, and hoops etc.
You’ll be able to enrich your techniques with the discussion on creative and effective techniques on many articles. You can find many magazines on the web and download instantly at a minimal cost. And fortunately, many publishers will offer previous volumes with a good discount.
Web and Social Media
The Internet is the ultimate vortex of resources. Along with thousands of passionate and independent bloggers, there are many commercial websites who sell designs, lessons and embroidery supplies. They also have their own bloggers as well.
Subscribe and Follow embroidery resources that you like via their blogposts, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds. Embroidery designer companies frequently offer free designs via the social media.
Many embroidery designer shops will send out newsletters after you sign up with an email address. Some companies even provide e-books, booklets on a variety of topics for free!To invite creative embroiderers to their product sites.
The E-books and electronic booklets are easy to grab and access. You can read these with any PDF reader or in mobile devices.
5. Keep an Embroidery Journal
Scientists always keep excellent notes while researching on what they’re researching. S you should do the same thing. What you’re doing is like doing experiments.If you have a journal it will keep your projects disciplined and help you to learn what works and what does not. And you can use your previous notes to improvise another project you’ll do later.
6. Schedule Time to Sew
Learning embroidery on machine or hand is a collective process. So the more you will stitch, the easier it will get. Make time to pursue this embroidery passion you have, whether by reading daily or better, like sewing daily.
30 minutes a day might seem too little but if you focus well, like every other skill, this 30 minutes of practice will make an expert out of you!
So these are the basic chunks, but how will you achieve effectiveness and efficiency in embroidery?
Here are 9 steps for achieving beautiful embroideries on T-shirts
First of all, quality matters. Why? Because as you sow, so you reap. Pick quality shirts for your project. Heavier cotton fabric stitches much better as well puckers less compared to lightweight shirts.
Even the best cotton that doesn’t shrink can shrink, so forget no-shrink. Wash and dry your shirt before starting your embroidery. Even the most perfect embroidery designs will surely pucker if the material below it shrinks a little amount.
If you are going to wear it, care for it. That is why the stabilizing clothing is done. Use stabilizers, such as a no-show mesh which is fusible. They don’t let the knits to stretch out and break their shapes keeping the embroidery in its place.
Turn your shirt inside-out. Then use a piece of no-show fusible mesh with a larger than that of the hoop.
Turn the shirt right-side out, find the center point.Then put the stabilized shirt in the hoop. The fabric should be straightened in the hoop, and not crooked or not pulled.
Use the Perfect Needles, Threads
Use needles with ball point to embroider on T-shirts. Always try to use the smallest possible needle for your project. Eileen Roche, an instructor at Craftsy recommends a (70/10) needle for light-weight knits.
And since shirts are used and washed frequently, the polyester thread seems to bethe perfect choice because it does not fade and has resistance to bleach.
Choose Lighter Designs
Embroidery designs that have open areas matches and works great with T-shirt knits. But heavy designs makes the shirt stiff, lumpy and uncomfortable to wear because of the puckering.Because the material is too weak to support the hard stitches.
Add a Topper
Use a water-soluble topper, it will help your embroidery to reach perfection on knits. Just place a piece of a thin film of water-soluble topper over the embroidery and pin it there. It ensures a professional presentation of the thread when on the knit. When completed, remove the extra part and wash away the rest.
Keep shirts with stains to experiment with trial stitching. Make sure they are light-weight like the shirt you wish to embroider. Because a test shirt can be used many times until it becomes a waste, and importantly you can try out stabilizer, thread, design combinations and fabric before starting to embroider the real thing.
Remove the Excess Stabilizer
After finishing embroidering your design, trim the stabilizer carefully near the stitches and make round edges. Naturally, the thread and stabilizer won’t irritate the sensitive skin but if you do then you can use a fusible tricot over it.
Press at the Back
When you’re done with the embroidery, gently put pressure on the back where you did the embroidery with a press cloth. It will release wrinkles and the hoop marks that might have occurred while handling.
And at the end, happy stitching! Do let me know, if you got helped or not. Also, suggest me steps if I have missed any. I’ll be quick on my ass to fix things for you. Cheers!