Machine Embroider Your Life: Embroidered T-Shirts


embroidered t-shirt

Let’s Make Embroidered T-Shirts!

It’s the fifth week and the fifth project of Machine Embroider Your Life from American Quilter’s Society and EverSewn! We’re so excited to bring you nine great machine embroidery projects to make in the following weeks. There’s lots of fun in store. This week we’re making embroidered t-shirts. Let’s get started!

Click Here to download the written instructions as a PDF


  • 120 x 180 mm Embroidery Hoop
  • 11/75 Machine Embroidery Needle
  • Medium Weight Cutaway Stabilizer
  • Spray Baste Adhesive
  • Ruler
  • Paper Scissors
  • Seam Ripper
  • Pins
  • Craft Clips
  • Pencil/Marking tool
  • Scrap paper for placement guide
  • Embroidery Thread(s)
  • T-shirt, pre-washed

embroidered tshirt

Create the Placement Guide

Hoop a piece of scrap paper, scrap stabilizer, or scrap fabric in the hoop. Load the hoop into the machine. We’ll create our design and then finish the placement guide.


If you’re following along on a machine other than the Sparrow X, select a design and arrange the design following your machine’s editing software. Designs with open areas work well on t-shirts. Designs with dense stitching work best on thicker material like sweatshirts. We have some ideas below with links to the design.

t-shirt embroidery

Moth & Horse Galloping

t-shirt embroidery

Floral Heart & Mini Rainbow

Open the EverSewn Pro app on your smart device.

Select the Pattern tab. The design we make in the video is in the Animal folder.

embroidery tshirt

Select the gray moth. The app takes you to an information page. Click the pencil button in the upper right corner to send it to the editing screen.

Add a basting stitch by selecting the “Basting” button down in the bottom sliding menu. Finally, click the button in the upper right corner that looks like a sewing machine with an arrow pointing at it to send the design to the machine for stitching.

Finishing the Placement Guide

With the design set, and the hoop loaded with hooped scrap paper, stitch out the basting stitch. Remove the hoop from the machine. Make an X on the paper at the corner where the clamp is to keep track of the design orientation, you can even sketch the design inside the basting stitch to help you visualize. Trace the inside of the inner hoop with a pen or pencil.

Unhoop the paper and cut out around the marked inner hoop line to complete the placement guide.

To place the guide, use a ruler to measure 2″ down from the top of the collar on crewnecks, or 1″ down from the point of a V-neck. Find the center of the t-shirt. If placing with the t-shirt on a mannequin, use a tailor’s tape measure and marking tool. Fold the excess paper at the top edge of the placement guide out of the way. Bring the sides of the basted area together and fold a crease into the placement guide to mark the center. Set the folded edge of the placement guide against the ruler/top mark and center it. Pin in place.

For easier pinning, try sliding a ruler or bit of cardboard between the layers of the shirt under the area to be pinned.


Turn the t-shirt inside out.

Cut a piece of medium weight cutaway stabilizer large enough for the embroidery hoop. Apply some spray baste adhesive to the center of the  stabilizer, and then lay the sticky side over the area to be stitched. Allow the adhesive to dry before turning the shirt right side out again.

Slide the outer hoop between the stabilizer and back of the t-shirt with the clamp oriented to the mark oriented to the mark we made earlier on the placement guide. Make sure the clamp is loosened enough to hoop the t-shirt and stabilizer.

Lay the inner hoop over the placement guide and line up the edges of the placement guide to the edges of the inner hoop for placement. You can add a couple pieces of double sided tape to the underside of the inner hoop to help hold it in place while adjusting the outer hoop.

Adjust the position of the outer hoop until everything is aligned. Press the inner hoop into the outer hoop and close the clamp. The neck of the t-shirt may not be totally caught in the hoop, so if it isn’t, just add a pin for stabilization. Once you are satisfied with the placement, remove the placement guide. Roll the excess t-shirt out of the way and secure with clips. Install the hoop into the machine and move to the “Stitchout” step.


Return the EverSewn Pro App to the beginning of the design by using the rewind button. Press the start button on the front of the machine to begin stitching the design. Follow any thread change prompts from the machine/app until the design is finished.

Finishing Touches

While the t-shirt is still hooped, remove the basting stitches with a seam ripper, and then remove any pins. Unhoop the project and cut away the excess stabilizer.

If the design wrinkles when washed, press with a warm iron and a pressing sheet.

embroidered tshirt

Now all you have to do is enjoy your embroidered t-shirts!

Click Here to download the written instructions as a PDF

Keep the fun going!

Join us in the AQS Project Parade Facebook Group to show off your creations!

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