Ah, T-shirts. Everyone wears them, everyone needs them. They can be at the bottom of your closet or the height of fashion, all depending on how they present themselves. So how do you pull your tee from lowly laundry to the fashion forward?  I’ll show you...

To start you’ll need a shirt, obviously, embroidery thread, a sewing marker, and of course your favorite Urban Threads design.

So here we have an ordinary T-shirt bought at your local mega mart everywhere chain.  Frankly, the run of the mill T-shirt is, well, rather run-of-the-mill.  Not much to it really.  Not that it needs much, just a little some-thing ratchet it up a notch.  And I think I know just the thing..


Grab any Urban Threads design you think would look neat-o on a shirt. I like the heraldic crests because they fit nicely on tees. Not surprisingly, because I designed them to fit nicely on tees. I’m clever like that.

To guarantee proper placement, I’d recommend printing out your design to help with alignment. (Most embroidery software can print, and if you need some, check out www.Embird.com.) Measure the width of your T-shirt, and the width of your design, and make sure it’s centered in the middle.  If your tee has any useful features, like a v-neck that helps you find the center, go ahead and use those too.

A word of caution before you start stitching away. Some nice stretchy thin tees might be just a bit too thin to embroider on.  Detailed designs, such as this crest, might begin to punch through the fabric. If you have a super thin tee, I’d recommend using a lighter design, like a scribble.  They work quite well.

Using a pen or other pointy object, poke a hole in the center of your template. Then, using a vanishing ink pen, which you can pick up at sewing or craft stores, draw a dot on your tee through the hole to mark the center on your shirt, as well as the top, bottom, and edges of your design, using the cross hairs on the printout.  Make sure your design doesn’t move about while you’re doing this.  Remove the paper and use your marks to make a cross on your tee.  This will help you hoop it straight, and let you get your design exactly where you want it.

Turn your tee inside out. Spray some fixative on a piece of stabilizer and place it on your tee, making sure it covers the area where the design will be. I used a special “no-show” mesh stabilizer that works well with tees and isn’t as bulky as regular stabilizer.

Hoop it up! Use those useful little lines you made to match them up to the marks on your hoop. This will ensure that you don’t sew it crooked, backwards or upside down. I wouldn’t advise skipping this step. You may think that this stuff is foolproof, but nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool. I have proved this to myself many times over.

Attach your hoop to the machine. Make absolutely sure that you move the back half of the tee out of the way.  Pull it under or aside the hoop, depending on where you have it placed, and use clips it necessary to keep it out of harms way. Now stitch away!

After the design is finished, take it out of the hoop and carefully cut away the excess stabilizer. Clip away extra threads and make sure everything looks a-ok.



Voila! Don some cool shades and you have now achieved instant rock star status. Your newly embroidered tee will bring you fortune fame and fancy friends. Strangers will admire you, doors will open, and money will float from the heavens...or something like that. At the very least you’ll have a sweet new shirt that took you no time at all.

Want a printer-friendly PDF of this page? You got it, bud.
Suggested designs for this tutorial: 
Heraldic Crests (Design Pack)_image
Heraldic Crests (Design Pack) $5.98 - $7.98
2 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 2.60"w x 9.41"h | 1.81"w x 6.50"h | Hand Embroidery