DIY: Hand Embroidered Shirt + Onesie

Hey y'all! I've been trying to think up some fun tutorials to share that have to do with knitting/embroidery, and I tend to struggle because most of my ideas are more autumn and winter weather based. And because it's so dang hot outside, nobody wants to be thinking about knitting up baby socks! So, we'll save those tutorials for a later date. I thought a simple embroidered t-shirt and onesie DIY might be nice, and cool, to do!

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 Supplies:

  • T-shirt, preferably with a pocket, and/or Onesie
  • Embroidery thread in your preferred colors (I like DMC)
  • Embroidery needle
  • Embroidery scissors
  • Fabric pen
  • Small embroidery hoop
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First thing is first, choose where you want to embroider your design. For the t-shirt, I decided to embroider a simple phrase, "I make the flowers grow." I also added a few simple "lazy daisies" to make the design pop a little more. To begin, place the section of fabric you would like to embroider and with your fabric pen, write and/or draw in that area. With the fabric pulled taught, it will be much easier to draw out your design. When it comes to fabric pens, make sure to find one specifically marketed towards embroidery. Mine washes away with water, and I usually just dab at the design with a Q-tip dipped in water.

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Once your design is finished, it's time to embroider. If you are new to embroidery, most embroidery thread is made up of 6 strands that you can easily pull apart. I used 3 strands for all of my designs this time around. I wanted them to really pop but not be too bulky. I usually embroider on cotton or linen, so for both of these clothing items, the fabric was a really soft and stretchy cotton (probably with some spandex in it) so embroidering was a little tough. If you're a newbie, I suggest using a 100% cotton t-shirt to begin with or maybe denim. It won't stretch as much and will be easier to handle when pulling the thread through the fabric. This would be so cute on jeans!

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When I embroider words, I like to use Stem Stitch. I think it works the best with script, but some people like to use straight stitches or back stitches. Either is fine, it's all up to preference! If you don't want your embroidery to itch against your skin, it may be a good idea to add a felt backing. I did not do this as I was in a hurry, but you can learn how to do that here.

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For the onesie, I wanted to pick something a little trendy, masculine, and cute. I decide a potted cactus would be perfect! When it comes to creating an embroidery design, it's good to have a finished picture in your mind. Because you're mostly following lines and filling in blank spaces, you really don't need to be a great artist. Most simple lines and child-like drawings will work perfectly. As you can see, I just drew a simple little cactus and turned it into something better! Just fill in those blanks however you please.

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When you're all finished, knot up the backs. You can either dab at the fabric pen marks like I do, or if you really want it clean, I suggest hand washing your piece in the sink with some detergent. This way the pen will really be out of the material, as sometimes when it dries the pen marks come back.

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Go put those bad boys on!! This was so fun, easy, and relaxing. Now you have a cute, personalized piece of clothing. This would be a great idea for making an old piece new again. I'll probably wear this white T shirt a lot more than I would have before! Have a great day.


xoxo Kayla