Floral Embroidered Top DIY

Embroiderd Top DIY Project on A Beautiful MessWe are abosolutely in love with this embroidery DIY that Kelli made for you today! If you've never tried hand embroidery, this is a great project to get started on!Embroidery ThreadSupplies NeededFirst thing's first. Gather your Supplies: embroidery thread, embroidery needle, washable marking pen, embroidery hoop and a basic tee.Step 2Step 1. Sketch out a design that works with the silhouette of your tee. Or you can download mine: Download Design-left chest + Download Design-right chest. Print out each side on an 8.5×11 sheet of paper. Size may need to be adjusted according to the size of your top. The top two flowers closest to the center are meant to overlap, so you know your design is aligned correctly.Step 3Step 2. Trace your design onto your garment. You can either use carbon paper or a light box for this. Because I have a light box at home, I decided to go this route. You could also try securing your t-shirt and design on to a window on a bright day. Your design should already be printed out on paper. Place the paper inside your t-shirt, and line up your design exactly where you want the embroidery to sit. Place your top on a light box (or a window) and you will be able to see the entire design through the front side of your top. Using your washable marking pen, trace the design onto the front side of the fabric. (don't worry, the ink will wash away with it's first rinse!)Step 4Step 3. Attach your embroidery hoop before you begin stitching. Place the inner ring under the front side of your top where you want to begin stitching. Loosen the tension on the outer ring and place that on top of the inner ring, so your fabric is stretched tightly between them. Tighten the adjustment screw, and you are ready to get started!Step 5Step 5bStep 5bStep 5bStep 4. Using an embroidery needle with a large eye, thread your needle with your embroidery thread. You can separate your some of your embroidery floss strands to make your embroidery thinner and more delicate. But I chose to leave them whole, because I like the chunkier look. To start, I did a simple backstitch for the vines. For the fill on the leaves and flowers, I just stitched as I went along, with no exact method.  But I found that making all of my stitches move in the same direction, made the design look much better. Keep working your way through your design, swapping out embroidery colors as you come to them. Every time you are finished with a flower or a particular section of color, make sure to create a knot on the under side before moving on. This will keep it from unraveling in the wash.Step 6AStep 6AStep 5. Once you are totally finished with the embroidery, gently rinse your top in cold water to remove the ink from the marking pen.  Throw it in the dryer or hang dry overnight.  Voila!

Thanks so much, Kelli! We love your floral design.

Have any of you tried hand embroidery? What types of projects are your favorites? xo.

  • Floral Embroidery is the perfect one. Especially DIY makes it so fascinating to do. And you btw did justice to it! Kudos!

  • Kelli,

    This project is next on my list! May I ask what brand/style shirt you used? I love the shape!


  • I’ve done this to a shirt and it really turned out just great! Thank you so much for the tutorial, I absolutely love love love your blog!

  • Rini,
    It was. A super lightweight fusible interfacing would make it easier!

  • was this done without interfacing? How did that work? I do a lot of embroidery, but I have never tried with knit fabric because I’m worried about the fabric puckering/pulling.

  • I love this! I’ve just bought a pale blue cardigan that needs something like this on it. I can’t wait to start….

  • I actually hand embroidered a canvas bag for my brother with his personal logo: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4170313970784.2162353.1072286664&type=3

  • Your finished piece and design are lovely – I would just like to note that, especially for a beginner, it would be far, far easier to hand embroider a t-shirt (or any knit/non-woven – i.e. “stretchy” material) if you ironed some stabilizer onto the back first (or the front if it is a dark material and you want to print the pattern onto the stabilizer). It is sooo much easier! Hand embroidery is traditionally done on woven material (like cotton fabric for quilting, or even-weave linen fabric if you are doing cross-stitch or anything you’d want to frame). Stabilizer keeps the knit fabric from pulling all over the place and tangling up your stitches.

    I learned this tip from the Queen of contemporary hand-embroidery, Jenny Hart. She sells stabilizer on her Sublime Stitching site, or you can buy it elsewhere (I use Sulky “Totally Stable” Iron-On, Tear-Away Stabilizer… I think I got that recommendation from Jenny before she started selling stabilizer in her own packaging on her site… I don’t know if she is selling re-packaged Sulky or something else).

    Another thing I do sometimes, especially if I want to add a design to the front of a onsie for a baby gift or any kind of centered design that will go on the front of a t-shirt is to embroider it onto a plain piece of woven cotton (the kind you can get from any shop that sells fabric for quilting) and then use interfacing (the thin kind that is basically just a sheet of washable adhesive) to iron it onto the front of the onesie or t-shirt and then go around the edges (in other, more correct terms, applique it on). This sandwiches the stitches (and any knots, bumps, messiness, mistakes, etc.) in between the front of the embroidery and the garment, so you can’t see the back of your embroidery, your stitches will be glued down and less likely to come undone, and won’t be scratchy on baby or grown-up skin.

    Sulky also makes pens that you can use to trace your design and turn it into an iron-on. So if you draw a design or motif that you really like, you can iron it on (it will be backwards, of course… there are tutorials on this and everything else I just wrote online, go googling) and stitch it up wherever you want. Hand embroidery is really fun and you can do all sorts of cool things with just a few basic stitches. Then you can get deeper into it and learn (look up) hundreds of stitches that have developed over the centuries. My favorite online source for seeing how to do stitches is the video library at Mary Corbett’s Needle n Thread http://www.needlenthread.com/ . My favorite book is Mary Thomas’ “Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches” http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Thomass-Dictionary-Embroidery-Stitches/dp/1570761183 . And of course, for the coolest contemporary embroidery patterns, Jenny Hart’s http://www.sublimestitching.com !

    Again, this is a really cute shirt! It should inspire a lot of people to try stitching. 😀

  • totally gorgeous! But I am still afraid, it looks so difficult… Yet an awesome DIY!


  • You really inspire me to start sewing and stitching! I will sure start learning once I move and have extra space!

  • ah! this has got to be one of the best things i’ve seen …ever! definitely on my diy bucket list 😀

  • lovely work, you make it look like it is easy work.


  • I’ve done some hand embroidering… This is really gorgeous.
    As you continue practicing your embroidery skills, you may want to experiment with using less thread – you can separate the individual threads in the embroidery floss so instead of using all six you use two or three or four.. It can add nice dimension to designs to use different thicknesses 🙂

  • This turned out really nice! I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while now, your post just gave me some motivation to get to it! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Curiously, Kimberly

  • this is amazing! i love embroidery on clothing. I definiteley will try thi during the holidays!

  • Looks like something fun to try while I’m sitting around indoors these cold winter months! Thanks for the idea!

  • Oh wow, it looks so beautiful! Thanks so much for the post, I will try it out!

    It would make my day if someone has a look at my blog!


    xxx lena


  • Genius! I have no idea how to do embroidery, could you do a cool cross stitch project next? That I can do.
    Love your blog!!!

  • Aw man, that’s what i’ve been searching for, for ages! this is how i wanted to upgrade a plain dark blue summerdress of mine. i guess now i can get started! thanks a lot!


  • This is such a great tutorial. The end product looks amazing great work. 🙂

  • OMG this is really awesome hand embroidery.Love this too much.Really such a wonderful i learn form you and also want to do it by myself.thanks.


  • this is so lovely! reminds me of this greek shirt my mother brought back for my baby girl. I’d wish she had bought the same for me! Now, i can do it myself…although i wonder if i will be patient enough!

  • Embroidery projects are always so much fun. Great DIY!


  • this looks amazing but i think this might be far too advanced of a diy for me! i might cheat and go the permanent marker with a light box route!


  • I am surprised you didn’t have to use a stabilizer…it sure turned out wonderfully!!! Great work!

  • OH – how cool! Now, if we could get a pattern for the aztecy pattern than Isabel Marant used on her jeans last season! OMG – that would be so FAB!
    -Daisy Nguyen from PS BANANAS fashion blog:

  • So cute! I use to be really into embroidery but then I got sidetracked and never went back into it. This DIY makes me want to get back into embroidery.

    My blog: acolorfulcreation.blogspot.com

  • This is awesome, I’m in love with this embroidery. I did a little hand embroidery on some pieces of my patchwork blanket I made some time ago and I still love it every time I see or touch it. So, this T-shirt embroidery would make a perfect project after finishing all my recent projects. Thanks for sharing!


  • Such a cute, customizable idea! Love this!!
    xo Heather

  • This is sucha wonderful idea! Looks absolutely gorgeous and so unique!

    xx Emily


  • I honestly had no idea what went into doing something like this. Actually seems like something I might be able to pull off, now. Great tutorial.

  • Great and nice post. I like things like that where someone could be creativ, Perfect.


  • Incredible! I love how dainty it looks.


  • This is really cute! Just thought I’d add a few extra tips that people might find helpful:

    – If you tack some scrap fabric along the neckline (so that it extends out) it will be easier to mount the top in the hoop.

    – It’s a good idea to check that your thread is colourfast before stitching, if you’re using a water-soluble marker. Just get a white tissue, wet a small piece of your thread and leave it on the tissue overnight to dry. If it doesn’t leave a mark on the tissue you should be fine!

    – It can be handy to put some interfacing behind the design when you’re stitching, so it’s a bit more sturdy. You can just trim it really close to the stitching once you’re done.

    Hope you don’t mind me adding these hints – I work with embroidery every day, so I like being able to help out!

  • Wow! This is adorable! I’ll certainly be trying this out!
    brighton-girl.blogspot.co.uk xx

  • Wow. that looks like it took a load of work to do!!! Great job!

  • love the shirt!

    Rachel Nicole @ Summer Breeze


  • Very impressive, though I think I’d start with a smaller design!Rx


  • I love this idea! I work in a craft store so I walk by these supplies daily and have never thought about making an embroidered top. I have many tops that could use a colorful unique touch… I need to try this!

  • I would never have the patience I’m afraid, but this top is surely something special!

  • I really love this I might have to do this sometime. I love how it makes a basic tee spiffy.

  • This is gorgeous!! I love hand embroidery, but I don’t always have the time or patience for it, so I started using a basic sewing machine to add pretty stitching to t-shirts and other things. It’s fun and fast once you learn how. Not to replace this kind of amazing hand stitching–but a nice alternative! I even co-authored a book about it: http://ourimprovdiary.wordpress.com/improv-sewing-our-book/

  • Amazing!! This is really stunning. I may just try this!

    Talia Christine

  • Ah I used to do that when I was little, with my grandmom. But this is much more stylish haha. Defenitely gonna try it!

    Great post!


  • Wow, looks so professional! Super cute idea. Thanks for sharing!


  • this is sooo pretty. and the instructions are less intimidating than i expected.

  • Embroidery designs by Dropcloth are really cool!! The designer is amazing. I have completed her sampler and learned how to embroider (from knowing NOTHING)!! You can buy her stuff on etsy and maybe on her website too.. not that I have it in my brain right now. Google “Dropcloth embroidery” and I am sure it will come up!

  • I love really simple embroidery projects like this: http://www.boun-see.blogspot.com/2012/10/diy-mantra-workout-towels.html

  • I really love this and can’t wait to try it myself! Such a great tute and with a free download 🙂


  • Looks fun! I have a few tshirts that are just a solid color. This would be a great way to spice them up. I haven’t done any embroidery in years, but have had to itch to pick it up again lately.

  • Can always count on ABM to do a great job of making the most scary DIY look manageable.
    Xo Inna, Baking in Couture.

  • Wow, I never tried embroidering anything before but Kelli makes it look so easy! I might try it sometime 🙂

  • This is so beautiful! I’m thinking of including some embroidered pieces in my next collection.

    Thanks so much for the inspiration.


  • Wow! I’ve never embroidered before, but I really like this idea… Definitely going to be on my to do list! xo. Deanna

  • This is absolutely beautiful! My embroidery skills are a little rusty, but I can’t wait to try this out! Thank you! xxx

  • I’ve tried hand embroidery, but flunked. Love the look though! Done very well here.

  • What a lovely idea and it turned out great!


  • I love this diy project ! Congratulations for the result, it’s so beautiful !

  • this is absolutely incredible! ive always wanted to learn how to embroider and this makes it so simple! cant wait to try!

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