Friday, 7 February 2014

Transferring Embroidery Designs to T-Shirts and Stretchy Fabrics

Sometimes you may want to break away from the traditional cream or white background fabric and stitch an embroidery design onto something else
Whereas transferring a design onto light fabric is quite simple, how to do this on dark cottons, wool and felt can be puzzling for novice stitchers
And stretchy fabrics like T-shirts pose an even greater challenge!
The problem can be solved by using a product called embroidery stabalizer
This is an opaque paper similar to interfacing which is designed to do just what it says - stabalize the fabric while it is stitched
The most well known brand is 'Stitch N Tear' made by Vilene and many embroiders tack this to the back of lightweight fabrics
It can be seen on the back of machine embroidered designs on shop bought T-shirts
Vilene make another product called 'Fuse N Tear' which has a waxy coating similar to freezer paper
The right side feels papery or slightly rough and the wrong side feels shiny or waxy
This wax coating melts when ironed and will stick to fabric long enough to allow you to stitch it but as it is not an adhesive doesn't leave any residue when it's removed

This is my method for stitching on T-shirts
What You Need
T-Shirt
Embroidery Stabalizer
HB Pencil
Stranded Cotton Threads
Crewel Needle
Scissors
Iron
Design  ( I have used my Folk Art Flowers Pattern)

What You Do



Step 1
Trace the design onto the papery side of the stabalizer using the pencil then position onto the outside of the T-shirt making sure the waxy side is facing the fabric and iron in place
Iron another piece of stabalizer to the inside of the T-shirt at the back of the design













Step 2
Stitch the design with 3 strands of embroidery thread using back stitch and stem stitch


















Step 3 
When the design is completely stitched. tear away the stabalizer - do it quickly (think leg waxing or taking of a sticking plaster!)
The stabalizer should tear away easily but if you get any stubborn little bits use the point of your needle to remove them

Warning - DO NOT USE SCISSORS - you run the risk of cutting into the t-shirt














Step 4
When the stabalizer had been removed stitch any small details such as french knots
You can also follow the outlines already stitched and add more lines of stitching
At the back, trim the stabalizer to approx 1/4" from the design edges. it will feel quite stiff but once it has been washed a few times it will soften and you wont really notice it



DOS and DONTS

DO

  • Iron a second piece of stabalizer to the back of the design
  • Stitch with 3 strands of thread - I have found this gives the best results
  • Use a continuous stitch such as back stitch, or stem stitch to work the design - this will make it easier to remove the stabalizer 
  • Make your stitches fairly tight so they don't pull out when you remove the stabalizer
  • Add other stitches and french knots AFTER the stabalizer is removed


DONT

  • Use a hoop as it will stretch the fabric out of shape, the 2 layers of stabalizer make the fabric firm enough to stitch in your hand
  • Use scissors to remove the stabalizer as you risk cutting the t-shirt and stitches - use the point of a needle instead
  • Use a complicated design with too many small sections
  • Remove the stabalizer until the whole design has been stitched
This method also works well on dark non- stretchy fabrics and on felt and wool but remember you wouldn't need the second piece of stabalizer