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How to Add Custom Embroidery to Sewing Projects

We love adding embroidered accents to quilts! It gives your quilts a personalized touch and is a fun and easy way to incorporate handwork into larger projects. Here are our best tips for adding embroidery to your next project!

Gather Supplies

Here are the supplies you need for adding embroidery to your projects! We've linked some of our favorites below.

Create a Pattern

Create a pattern by hand writing or selecting a font from your computer. A script or cursive font works best because it has fewer starts and stops between letters. Scale your pattern so it fits inside the piece of fabric you're sewing into your project (remember to leave some extra space around the embroidery, so the design doesn't get sewn into your seam allowance).

Tip: Choose a simple font without too many flourishes because the details will get lost when scaled down.

Trace the Pattern

Trace the pattern onto your cotton fabric using either a thin permanent pen if you are confident your stitches will cover your lines or a water-soluble pen if you want something more forgiving. If you don’t have a lightbox, you can tape the pattern to a window or gently trace the pattern on top of your phone or tablet screen. We recommend tracing with your fabric stretched on the inside of the embroidery hoop so it lays flat against your surface and helps keep the fabric taut.

Tip: Use short, even strokes to prevent you fine pen tip from catching on the fabric weave.

Stabilize Your Fabric

We recommend adding a lightweight fusible interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric before embroidering. The fusible interfacing gives the fabric more stability, which prevents puckering between your stitches. Plus, if you are using a light colored fabric and dark thread, it adds an extra layer that helps hide loose threads or tails. Cut the fusible slightly smaller than your fabric and follow the instructions on the packaging to add it to the wrong side of your fabric. If needed, protect your iron from the fusible by using a pressing cloth or pressing paper.

Stitch Your Design

Center your fabric in the embroidery hoop and stitch your design. For small words with fine lines, use only 2-3 strands of embroidery floss or 8wt perle cotton. A simple backstitch or stem stitch works well for lettering. Experiment to see what stitch and size floss you prefer. You may need to shorten your stitch length around curves.

Tip: If using a directional stitch like a stem stitch, always work in the same direction, keeping your “loop” below the needle. You may need to rotate your hoop as you stitch around each letter to keep working in the same direction.

Trim and Press

After stitching your lettering, remove the fabric from the embroidery hoop and press carefully from the back side of the embroidery with no steam. If you used a water-soluble pen, remove the marks first. Center your design and trim to the size needed for your pattern.

Sew Into Your Project

Add your embroidered fabric to your project for a personalized touch! Here, we added embroidered book titles to a block from our Book Club pattern.

Video Tutorial

Elizabeth walks you through her process of creating and tracing an embroidery design onto fabric!

Thanks for joining us for "happy hour",

Lindsay + Elizabeth

This blog contains affiliate links to Amazon. We only recommend products we truly use and love. If you use our affiliate links, we may receive a small commission.


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