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Embroidering clothes with a DIY hoop!


  • Scissors + sharp knife (optional, if your scissors do not have a pointed blade)
  • Embroidery or sewing thread
  • Thin plastic container or embroidery hoop
  • Embroidery or sewing needle
  • Pencil / water soluble pen or marker
  • Clothing you want to stitch / fabric / felt
  • Optional: stitch guide and sample designs


1. If you do not have an embroidery hoop at home, you can make your own using a thin plastic food container with lid. You will need to cut out a hole on the lid and cut a ring out of the bottom container. 


2. Sandwich your fabric between the lid and the bottom container, and you have your own DIY embroidery hoop! Then you're ready to transfer your pattern onto the fabric. You can use pencil or any water soluble pen or marker (like a washable Crayola marker works fine). For lighter fabrics, you can tape the design against a sunlit window, place your fabric over it, and trace the pattern through the shirt. Or freehand it! It doesn't have to be perfect!


3. Now you're ready to stitch! If you're using traditional embroidery floss, the floss can be separated into six individual strands (link to handy video to demonstrate the best way to separate threads!). You can choose how many strands you want to stitch with (I usually do 2-3 strands for clothing). For sewing thread, you can choose to make your stitches thicker by using multiple strands.  Then, thread your needle and tie a knot on the long end.

4. Refer to the stitch guide for the type of stitch you would like to use on your design. I will be using the backstitch for the rest of the photos and the video. For all stitches, you will start by placing the needle underneath the fabric and pulling up through the fabric, then insert the needle back down through the fabric and pull so that the stitch is flat. Do not pull too tightly when you do this, as the fabric may pucker.

Insert the needle back up through the fabric - for the back stitch, you'd do it an equal length away from the previous stitch, and then you would bring the needle back down the previous hole you had made. And keep repeating! Quick tip: for smoother curves, you may choose to make smaller stitches


5. You can choose to switch up colors of thread wherever you'd like to add a fun dimension to your piece. I used up a some of my thread remnants from previous artworks to create this finished piece.

Hope you enjoyed this fun little project!