Design Muse: Making a Scene

Breaking out of hoop limitations is one of our favorite tricks. Designs that can be used in more flexible ways let you create something larger than your machine can do on its own -- for instance, this Ship and Waves design. By using the ship design as a centerpiece, and repeating the light-stitching waves, you can create a whole stitched seafaring scene on any surface you can hoop! We used it to make this bright and cheery hoodie with merry waves dancing across the bottom. I’ll show you how easy it is...

All you need to make your seafaring hoodie is:

  • Embroidery design(s) -- I used the Ship and Waves in the largest size, but the beauty of this design is that it'll make a big splash even with a smaller embroidery area!
  • Hoodie (I know, who saw that coming?)
  • Sheer mesh cutaway stabilizer, such as Floriani No Show Mesh or Sulky Soft 'n' Sheer (great for light designs on apparel!)
  • Printed templates of your embroidery designs (here's how to print them)
  • Tape
  • Scissors and pins
  • Seam ripper, if you designs wrap far enough to reach your front pockets

I’ll be showing how to make a hoodie specifically, but this scene technique can be used on anything, from pillows to scarves and more.



So, first let's use our templates to work out where things should go. It might seem tempting to place the ship first, but what you want to do is really work out where your bottom line of waves will be, and work up from there. I wanted my waves to start just above the bottom seam of the hoodie, so I placed one template there, to give me an idea of how many waves I would need to repeat before I placed my ship.

In this case, I figured I’d do two waves and then the ship on top. Once I had that worked out, I could then expand the waves on either side as needed.

So, keeping your template in place for reference, hoop up your first part of the hoodie with some sheer mesh cutaway stabilizer on the back. Make sure it’s hooped up nice and snug, but don't stretch or distort your hoodie.



Start stitching that first line of waves!

Since these waves are two-toned, I decided I would blend the colors like a rainbow with each stitching. You could stitch them all in the same colors if you like, it just depends on what look you’re going for.

Once you have your first wave design stitched, use your template to place the next on on top, slightly offset to one side. This will create a more organic, natural overlap.

Stitch that second wave just overlapping the first. The great thing about this “scene” is that perfect alignment is not necessary. A little overlap will just look like natural, rolling waves.



Finally, use your ship template to stitch your showcase piece. I lined this one up so it was basically directly above my first wave design, so the waves created a simple offset pattern that would be easy to repeat on the sides.

More eagle-eyed people will notice, after I placed the template, I accidentally stitched the ship facing the opposite way! Oops. Oh well, he can sail into the dawn instead of into the sunset. The flexibility of the design meant that it didn’t really matter. Phew!

So, you’ve got your main event done... your ship sailing the high seas. Now we just need a bit more seas...



All you have to do now is repeat your waves design. In this case, my waves were three high, so I repeated that pattern out from the first wave designs. Overlap them just slightly to make it all look like one design.

Don’t worry too much about lining things up perfectly. Remember, that slight misalignment, the organic nature of how you place your designs, will all just look natural with those rolling waves!

As you continue your waves outward, you will eventually find yourself wrapping around to the front. In the event that you start to get close to your front pockets, you can just use a seam ripper to open up and fold back that edge.

That way you can stitch your design so it starts to sneak into your pocket, and you can close it back up after you’re done.



Once you have stitches your waves all the way out and around your hoodie, pin your pocket back in place and stitch it back onto your hoodie.

That’s it!

Lots of repetition eventually lends into a seamless scene of a ship at sea, beautifully stitched across whatever you please.



The stitching is bold and whimsical on a bright new hoodie, but light stitching enough to be perfect for clothes. Even with a small hoop, you can create a big scene.

Of course, this can be used on anything, from bright pink hoodies to elegant stitched decor, like this example used on a pillow.

Try it across the bottom of towels, scarves, skirts, bags, and more.


Our digitizer Meg, with her already adorable pink hair, loved her new bright pink hoodie. With a little patience and a flexible design, you can create a "scene" on lots of projects. Go big and bold and rock your embroidery skills with pride. People will wonder how on earth you made it yourself!

Want a printer-friendly PDF of this page? You got it, bud.
Suggested designs for this tutorial: 
Ship and Waves (Split)_image
Ship and Waves (Split) $3.99 - $4.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 7.52"w x 5.87"h | 6.22"w x 4.84"h | 3.86"w x 2.99"h | Hand Embroidery