Go Back

How to Embroider Clothing without Messing Up

Want to learn how to embroider designs onto clothing? This easy-to-follow tutorial will show you the fail-proof way to embroider by hand. And includes a (free download) for creating your first embroidered clothing item with the abstract face design you see in the photo.
So whether you're attempting emboidery by hand on a pair of jeans or embroidering a t-shirt, this embroidery guide / technique has you covered.
Total Time1 hr
Keyword: clothing, crafting, diy, embroidered, embroidery, fashion
Author: Brittni
Cost: $5 or less



  • Start by drawing a design onto a very thin piece of paper (tracing paper works great for this). OR print out the downloadable face design here onto thin paper.
  • Next cut around the design, leaving some space all the way around, but not too much that you'd have a bulky area to have to sew around. Then pin the paper to the clothing that you want to embroider, in the spot that you want the design to go. Again, this is another moment where using tracing paper for the design comes in handy because you can see through it to figure out the placement of the design, in relation to pockets, seams, etc.
  • Thread a needle with embroidery floss and then double or triple knot the end of a long piece of that floss (make it much longer than you think you'll need and double the width if you want a bold / thick line like you see in the photos). **See notes for beginner embrodiery stitch options.
  • Then start on the underside of the piece of clothing you're using, so the knot won't be visible, and hand sew the design through the clothing and paper that has your design on it, as shown in the photo.
  • Once the design is complete, tie a double or tripe knot on the inside of the garment once again to secure the remaining end. Then, you can rip off the paper by hand and it's ready to wear. Be careful though, you don't want to aggravate the embroidery floss design or cause it to fray / bunch up in any areas.


The easiest / most basic embroidery stitches to try would be:
  • Running Stitch: This stitch is also known as a straight stitch and is the most basic of embroidery stitches. For a running stitch, you will push the needle through one side and then back through the other side, leaving a small space in between each stitch. *This may not be the best stitch for this particular project, if you're using the tracing paper or printer paper as your guide. Here's an example of a running stitch.
  • Back Stitch: A back stitch will create a solid line, which is perfect for this tracing paper design technique. To create a back stitch, you start with a simple stitch. Then skip the length of the first stitch for the second, and then go backward to attach the second stitch to the first, by going through the end of your last stitch. Here's an example of a back stitch
  • Split Stitch: This is also a good stitch for the design and technique shared here. For a split stitch, create a simple stitch, then push your needle through the middle of the stitch you just made and create a new stitch. Repeat that process over and over again. Here's an example of a split stitch.