How to Make Embroidered Shirts *Without* a Sewing Machine
Categories: DIY Style

How to Make Embroidered Shirts *Without* a Sewing Machine

We know how it goes — you see a shirt in your favorite discount store and think, “I could *totally* make this cuter if I added a little somethin’ extra to it.” Then you buy the shirt, come home, look at your sewing machine (IF you even have one), and put the project at the bottom of your to-do list. We get it. There’s something about having to use a machine that can be daunting, right? So we’re offering you an alternative to breaking out that dusty Singer — iron-on fusible adhesive, AKA Wonder-Under. You can use this magical stuff to “hem” most fabrics, making tailoring and embellishing an almost-no-sew breeze. Keep reading to see how we used fusible adhesive to make two tunics into embroidered peasant blouses.

Materials

– tunic (we bought ours at Old Navy)

– fabric

– fabric scissors

– iron-on fusible adhesive

– iron

– embroidery thread

– tissue paper

– pencil

– sewing needle

– sewing pins

Instructions

1. Cut a rectangular piece of tissue paper to use as your pattern, and pin it over the area you will eventually be covering. Trace the shape of the area you will be covering with pencil, then unpin and carefully cut out your pattern.

2. Place the stencil back onto the shirt to double-check that it’s accurate.

3. Pin the tissue pattern onto your swatch of fabric, then trace around it to transfer the pattern shape to the textile. Unpin the tissue. Cut out your pattern, leaving about 1/2 inch of fabric around all of the edges.

4. Trim the corners of your excess fabric, then cut slits into the excess fabric up to the pencil line. This will make it easier to “hem” the edges later.

5. Cut small, thin strips of Wonder-Under and line the inside of your pencil marks.

6. Iron over the fusible adhesive for eight seconds (or however long the adhesive instructions suggest), then carefully peel away the top paper of each strip. Next, fold over the excess fabric so the fusible adhesive is sandwiched, then iron again for about 15 seconds (or, again, however long the fusible adhesive instructions suggest). Repeat until every excess strip of fabric has been ironed over the Wonder-Under.

7. Next, pin your swatch onto the shirt. Using colorful embroidery thread, stitch the fabric onto the shirt. Voila!

Pro Tip: That extra tissue paper from Christmas can be used as homemade pattern paper. Smart, huh?

Cut a rectangular piece of tissue paper to use as your pattern paper, and pin it over the area you will eventually be covering. Trace the shape of the area you will be covering with pencil.

Unpin the tissue and carefully cut out your pattern.

Place the stencil back onto the shirt to double check that it’s accurate.

Pin the tissue pattern onto your swatch of fabric, then trace around it to transfer the pattern shape to the textile. Unpin the tissue. Cut out your pattern, leaving about 1/2 inch of fabric around all of the edges.

Trim the corners of your excess fabric — this will be useful when you eventually “hem” the edges.

Cut slits into the excess fabric up to the pencil line — this helps you have more control over the final shape of your pattern.

Cut small, thin strips of fusible adhesive and line the inside of your pencil marks.

Iron the fusible adhesive for eight seconds (or however long the adhesive instructions suggest), then carefully peel away the top paper of each strip. Next, fold over the excess fabric so that the Wonder-Under is sandwiched, then iron again for about 15 seconds (or, again, however long the fusible adhesive instructions suggest). Repeat until every excess strip of fabric has been ironed over the fusible adhesive.

(Pssst! The tricky part’s over!)

Next, pin your swatch onto the shirt with the hemmed side facing down.

Using colorful embroidery thread, stitch the fabric onto the shirt.

There you go!

B+C designer Rosee is visibly impressed with how easy this DIY was.

Sales pro Ashley is *really* feeling her new embroidered shirt.

See how much joy Wonder-Under brought into these women’s lives?! So much.

What other sewing hacks do you recommend? Have you ever used iron-on fusible adhesive? Let us know in the comments below!