Eight Tips for Embroidery on Knit Fabrics

March 29, 2018By Emily ThompsonDIY, Embroidery, Projects 5 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

I’ve recently discovered the joys of machine embroidery. I’ve been embroidering on everything! Bags, clothes, home decor. I was a bit wary of using my Brother Innov-ís NS1750D to embroider on knit fabric, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought! I sew primarily with knit for my kids, so I’m super excited that I’ve figured this out. Today I’ve got 8 tips for embroidery on knit fabric. Of course, these aren’t fool-proof, and you should still practice before using your final fabric, but these tips should get you started on the right foot.

Embroider on Knits

  1. Choose airy, open embroidery designs. Dense designs are too heavy for the fabric and produce a patch-like effect.
  2. Choose a more stable and dense knit fabric, such as double knit or interlock.
  3. If you are embroidering on fabric you just purchased, make sure to pre-wash first.
  4. Use a knit needle – this may seem like common sense, but sometimes I forget to change my needle for embroidery.
  5. Use a cut away stabilizer that doesn’t stretch. You could also use a water-soluble stabilizer. To prevent knit fabric from puckering and distorting during embroidery, use a soft cut-away stabilizer that doesn’t stretch in any direction.
  6. Knits stretch easily so, baste the fabric to the stabilizer before putting in the hoop. I basted around the perimeter of the stabilizer before putting it in the hoop.

Embroider on Knits

Embroider on Knits

  1. To remove the cut-away stabilizer after embroidery, first cut the big sections. Then, use sharp embroidery scissors to trim the remaining excess stabilizer very close to the stitching. Cut as close as you can to the stitching.

Embroider on Knits

Embroider on Knits

  1. Press/steam your design from the back to smooth out the fabric and finish the embroidery process.

Embroidery on Knit

There you go! My tips for using a machine to embroider on knit fabric. What would you add? Have you experimented with knit fabric embroidery? I can’t wait to use this technique to make fun t-shirts for my family.

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5 Comments

  • I never heard of basting with your sewing machine before hooping — helpful tip! I like seeing the back of the embroidery (it’s rarely shown in tutorials), but it’s odd that a photo of the front wasn’t included.

  • When I machine embroider a name with 3” dense letters on a t shirt what do you recommend. Should I use a fusible tear away and hoop 1 layer of no show mesh and another layer of no show mesh at 45degrees. Then should I carefully pull off the tearaway and cut around each letter of the non woven or do not cut around each letter?

    • hi! I actually haven’t tried this exact situation so I would have to test it out. Do you have a scrap of fabric of similar weight? I would play around with the mesh and see. I don’t think it would hurt to put the double layer though so give even more stability. just be careful not to stretch it out when you cut or tear it away after.

  • after embroidering and trimming, I fuse a piece of Tender Touch stabilizer over the inside of the design, otherwise the stitches will irritate tender skin.

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