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Perfect Embroidery Placement

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Where you place your embroidery designs is all about your personal preference. But after you make the decision about where you want the designs to be, it can be a little tricky to embroider them in that exact spot. This technique demonstrates marking and placement so that you can always put your design exactly where you want it.

Designs Used

To get an idea for where you'd like to place a design, use a template. Print a template of the design from your embroidery software, at full size. Your printout will have helpful markings, including a horizontal axis, a vertical axis, and the center point of the design.

Trim the paper around the shape of the design.

Arrange the template onto a garment to determine the approximate placement.

For this example, we're putting a floral spray design on the center of a t-shirt. We want it to be a few inches down from the collar, and centered horizontally.

After we have the template placed where we want it to go, we mark the general areas with horizontal and vertical strips of masking tape. The tape isn't used to find the exact lines or axes - we'll draw the lines in pen on the tape a little later.

You can use anything to mark on fabric - air erase pens, chalk, soap, and you can even mark lines with creases from an iron. We're using masking tape to demonstrate the process - you should use a marking device that you feel comfortable with.

After the tape is laid down, find the exact horizontal center of the garment. Measure between the sleeve seams. Divide by two, and mark that center point on the vertical piece of tape.

Mark it again, a few inches lower. That way, when you draw the connecting line, it will be a straight line, and become the vertical axis.

Then, draw the vertical axis.

Now that the center is found, and the vertical axis is marked, we can draw the horizontal axis. Position the template so that the vertical axis on the template lines up with the vertical axis on the strip of tape. Then, extend the horizontal markings from the template onto the masking tape.

Poke through the center, and make a mark. When the hoop is on the machine, scoot the hoop until the needle is directly over that center mark.

Because the shirt is cotton knit, we'll stabilize the fabric with a piece of cutaway backing. A quick shot of spray adhesive helps to keep the fabric and stabilizer together, nice and tight.

Spraying into a box makes sure that the adhesive doesn't get on the sewing room floor, or on other equipment.

Turn the garment inside out, and smooth the stabilizer onto the embroidery area. Then, turn it right side out again.

Slide the hoop inside the shirt, under the stabilizer. Put the inner hoop on top. Align the marking lines on the masking tape with the center markings on the sides of the inner hoop. This part might take a couple of tries - patience and placement both require practice.

When embroidering on a garment, keep the excess fabric out of the way by using clips. We purchased these hair clips at Target, in the hairbrush section, and they're great for keeping the fabric rolled up and out of the way.

Scoot the hoop so that the needle is right above the center point. Remove the tape, and embroider the design.

Next, we're going to embroider coordinating designs onto a cardigan to wear with the shirt. To do this, we're going to line up two designs on the right side of the cardigan, and then mirror that alignment on the left side.

We're starting with a floral wedge, and we want that to be near the shoulder area along the neckline. Below that, we'll put a coordinating floral placket that will trail down both sides of the buttons

Use masking tape to mark the approximate vertical and horizontal lines.

Extend the markings from the template to the tape, and draw the horizontal and vertical axes with a ruler.

To mark the left side of the garment, extend the masking tape from the right side, all the way to the left. Tear the tape at the button placket so that you can unbutton it and hoop it later. Continue drawing the horizontal lines on the tape.

To find the center point for the floral wedge on the shoulder, we measure the distance from the sleeve seam to the center point of the template.

Then, we take that measurement to the left side. Measure in from the sleeve seam the same distance, and mark the center point.

To make sure that we have the proper angles, we're using a piece of paper. You can also use a t-square. Position the paper so that the corner is on the center point, with the edge of the paper on the horizontal axis. Then, use the edge of the paper to draw the vertical axis.

To find the center point for the floral placket, we're measuring the right side from the center point of the design/template to the center of the button.

Repeat that measurement on the left side. Mark the center.

Use a piece of paper or a t-square to find the vertical axis. Position the corner of r apiece of paper on the center point, with the edge of the paper on the horizontal axis. Draw a line along the edge of the paper to form the vertical axis.

The cardigan is a light cotton knit, so we're stabilizing the fabric with a piece of cutaway backing. The weave is pretty loose, so we're making sure the fabric isn't skewed, and is laying nice and flat.

The marking is done, so we line up the markings on the hoop with the markings on the tape, and then forward the needle to the center point. Remove the tape, and embroider the design.

Finally, we're going to put a small coordinating design on a sleeve, just a delicate accent that's going to tie the entire set together.

To center this design on the top of the sleeve, we're putting the seam at the exact bottom.

Mark the vertical and horizontal lines, and extend the markings from the template to the masking tape. Mark the center point, and use a ruler to connect the marks.

Hooping a cuff can be tricky. To do this, we turned the sleeve inside out. Then, we sprayed cutaway backing with spray adhesive, and hooped it. Press the sleeve down firmly, and roll back and pin the excess fabric so that it doesn't get caught while sewing.

By using a template, and plotting your placement using this technique, you'll be able to put the design where you want it, each and every time.

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