Embroidery Library

Embroidering on Sweaters

Free project instructions for embroidering on sweaters.

Free project instructions for embroidering on sweaters.


Make your sweaters even better with a beautiful bit of embroidery! Cozy and unique, this simple project makes a great gift for friends and loved ones -- or a luxurious treat for yourself. Follow along below to learn how!

Project Needs & Notes:

- A sweater
- Sheet mesh cutaway stabilizer, such as Sulky Soft 'n' Sheer or Floriani No Show Mesh
- Water soluble stabilizer for topping, such as Sulky Solvy, to prevent the stitches from sinking into the sweater knit
- Seam ripper
- Temporary spray adhesive
- Thread for embroidery (the design used in this example calls for Madeira Burmilana thread, a 12 weight wool/acrylic blend - you can also use BurmilanaCo, a 12 weight cotton/acrylic blend)
- 100/16 sharp sewing needle
- Tailor's chalk
Note: Tailor's chalk is best for marking dark colored fabric, as it tends to last longer and show up better.  However, this wax-based tool may leave residue if used on some synthetic fabrics. It is best to test a small corner of fabric before committing to chalk.

Designs used in this tutorial include:
- M21305, Jacobean Autumn Flower Spray (Thick Thread)

Free project instructions for embroidering on sweaters.
Begin by preparing the sweater for placement of the embroidery design. We would like to place this design on the cuff of the sleeve. Open the sleeve using a seam ripper, and lay the sleeve flat with the right side facing up.

A template, or printout, of a design is an excellent tool to help with placement. Print a template of the design using embroidery software. If you do not have embroidery software, Wilcom TrueSizer is a free program to use.

Arrange the template on the sweater, and use tailor's chalk to mark the center point and the horizontal and vertical axis lines of the design.

Free project instructions for embroidering on sweaters.
Lay the sleeve flat with the right side of the sleeve facing down. Then, spray the stabilizer with temporary spray adhesive and smooth it over the inside of the sweater sleeve.

Note: The sweater used for this design has a wide sleeve cuff. If the sweater you've chosen is narrow and needs to stretch, please read our Fabrics 101: Embroidery on Sweater Knits.

Free project instructions for embroidering on sweaters.
When hooping the sweater, align the hoop with the axis marks of the design, and make sure that the stabilizer and sweater are taut within the hoop.

Free project instructions for embroidering on sweaters.


Load the embroidery file onto the machine, and attach the hoop to the machine.

Be sure to lower the machine tension and change the needle to a 100/16 sharp sewing needle. This will help avoid thread breakage and nesting.

Free project instructions for embroidering on sweaters.
Move the needle directly over the marked center point on the sweater. Follow the color change sheet, and embroider the design.

Free project instructions for embroidering on sweaters.
Once the design has completed, remove the sweater from the design and carefully cut away the excess stabilizer.

Free project instructions for embroidering on sweaters.
The water-soluble topping can be removed with a damp paper towel. Chalk marks should come out with steam.

The thick thread used in this example can leave behind some fuzz. It's a good idea to clean the bobbin case after stitching with thick thread.

Free project instructions for embroidering on sweaters.
To complete this project, simply close the sleeve with a straight stitch. Be sure to match the thread color to the sleeve color.

Embroidering on Sweaters



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Products used in this Project: