Embroidery on Golf Polos

I’m sewing a small logo on lightweight 100% polyester 4.1 oz golf polos.  Would a 70/10 BP be ok?  Also, what type of backing do you suggest?

You are correct in thinking that a small ball point needle should work best. However, as you will be sewing through stabilizer as well, you may actually need to use a sharp. If the machine starts skipping stitches or leaving loops of thread on the top of the design then you will need to change to a sharp.

There are many options for stabilizing knits, but one good rule of thumb — at least one of the layers needs to be a permanent cut-away stabilizer. As you are embroidering a lightweight knit you will want to keep your stabilizer lightweight as well. It is always best to adhere the stabilizer to the fabric and allow the entire stabilized area to be enclosed in the hoop.

However, if your logo is very small, you may wish to hoop the stabilizer and use a basting tool to baste a “frame” around the area the logo will stitch — this will prevent you from having to hoop the shirt. The basted frame will be removed when the design is finished and the stabilizer can be trimmed close to the design on the wrong side.
Just FYI for very professional looking results, you may wish to try a tricot knit stabilizer as your permanent layer. As that type of stabilizer is stretchy and very thin it tends to disappear when the design is finished and usually does not show through to the front on white or light colored knits. When I use this product with knits I like to iron on a piece that is just big enough to accommodate the design. I press it on lightly and then apply a layer of Sulky’s Totally Stable iron-on tear-away stabilizer on top of that. I make sure the Totally Stable stabilized area is slightly larger than the hoop. I hoop the article taking care to prevent hoop burn on delicate fabrics by loosening the hoop screw generously before pushing the inner hoop into position within the outside hoop.

After embroidering I remove all of the excess tear-away, warm up the tricot stabilizer with the iron slightly, peel away any excess and trim it as close as I can to the design. Sulky makes a great tricot knit stabilizer: Sulky Soft & Sheer Extra  and I also like Cover-A-Stitch by AllStitch.

I hope this helps you! Good luck!
Evy Hawkins
A Bit of Stitch

Over the Moon Shelf Elves


Please let the designer “ A Bit of Stitch” know that her shelf elves pattern is over the moon awesome!!!!  I made about a dozen sets (couples, lol) for Christmas gifts and everyone went bonkers over them!  I used tiny bells, heat set crystals, teeny tiny pom poms and such and they were gorgeous!  I used the heat set rhinestones for the clothes, collars and for earrings on the girls!  Awesome!!  I already purchased the new doll pattern with clothes, monthly one, and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!  I’m so glad that there’s a “year round” doll because I wasn’t going to put the Christmas shelf elves away.  They’re just too cutely wonderful to put in a box until next year and every time I see them I just smile….. lol

Thank you!!!!!!!


Prom Girls Designs?

This is more of a request than a question. I own my own small alterations business. I get about 10 prom dresses a year that I have to take about 6 in of hem off. I would love to find something in the form of a wall hanging for my fitting shop. I have all the fashion girls but only 1 of those are for a prom. Do you see in the future 6 to 8 prom girls with different styles. Would love to do something with these lovely scraps. Thanks

How to Embroider on Gloves

I’ve done a little bit of embroidery on gloves, but mine were fleece. I don’t think cotton would be that different. Here’s what I did:

Open the seam on the pinkie finger side of the glove (most gloves have a seam there). Hoop a piece of sheer mesh cut-away stabilizer that has been sprayed with temporary spray adhesive. Open out the glove as much as possible and press onto the stabilizer, pinning or basting the parts left flopping to the stabilizer (away from the path of the needle) as securely as you can. Depending on your design, slip any additional stabilizer under the hoop after the hoop has been put into the machine. When I need to use additional stabilizer with sheer mesh, I like to use a very soft tear-away, nothing stiff or scratchy.

Before you begin you will want to mark the design position on the glove with crossed centering lines that will coincide with the centering marks on the hoop and plastic placement grid that comes with the hoop. Printing a paper template of the design makes positioning a lot easier!

When you are finished, sew the side seam back up.

Evy Hawkins
A Bit of Stitch

Is my Bobbin Thread too heavy?

I was told by a sewing machine service woman that my trouble with uneven and skipped stitches was my BOBBIN thread being too heavy.  I had Metler Quilting thread in my machine and she said fine for top thread but do not use on bobbin.  Now I read your article on bobbin thread not being the usual problem.  Who do I believe?  I have a Brother.

Been sewing for thirty years and have never heard of this.


If your machine is relatively new and computerized, using a heavy bobbin thread might cause problems because most new machines are set to accommodate only the lighter, finer “bobbin” Lose Weight Exercise threads.

Superior Threads has a great selection of bobbin thread, you might want to check them out. I would not recommend using a thread in the bobbin that is heavier than what you are using on top. Some quilting thread (I am not familiar with Metler Quilting thread) is 30 wt. which would be too heavy for a bobbin.

However, skipped and uneven stitches are usually caused by a faulty needle, incorrect threading of either the upper tensions or lint and fuzz in the bobbin case. One of the best things about using thread that is especially designed for use in bobbins is that it does not create excessive fuzz and lint. 🙂

I hope this helps!

A Bit of Stitch

What is Stipple?

I would like to know exactly what is meant by the phrase “stipple” designs.  I am looking for designs that can be sewn with heavy threads, such as Sulky 12 Lose Weight Exercise, and would like to know if stipple designs are appropriate for that thread.  Thank you – Barbara.

Dear Barbara,

There is a bit of controversy about the proper definition of  “stipple” as it applies to quilting. Some quilters say that stipple means a meandering line of stitching that is used to secure (and flatten) layers of cloth and batting together. This line is to be a single row of stitches, looped around in a serpentine design and never crossing over itself. Some quilters call that stitch “meander stitching”. For myself, I call that type of stitch stipple, but am not fanatic about the lines crossing over themselves when creating a “motif” stipple design. A motif stipple has a recognizable shape, such as a flower or heart, that is repeated periodically during the process.

Sulky 12 Lose Weight Exercise is a hard thread to use with machine embroidery designs as it is 100% cotton (not great for high speeds) and very thick, like a topstitch or buttonhole thread. Some folks I know use a serger needle in their embroidery or sewing machines (as long as the shank fits correctly) because of the increased thread groove depth and the larger eye. I’ve had good luck with that little trick myself! Stipple designs, as long as they are single lines of stitches that do not double over themselves, could be used with this heavy thread. I would slow the machine speed down, loosen the top tension slightly and use a large eyed or metallic needle.

I hope this helps!

A Bit of Stitch

Embroidery on Ribbon

I was wondering if you had any advice on machine embroidering on ribbon.

The hardest part of embroidering on ribbon is stabilizing it. It must be kept perfectly flat and smooth or the results will be skewed. I have used sticky stabilizers with some success, and also temporary spray adhesive and basting. I guess the best results I’ve had were when I sprayed regular tear-away stabilizer with temporary spray adhesive (it doesn’t leave as much sticky residue on the ribbon if you spray the stabilizer) and then machine basting the ribbon along both edges to the stabilizer as well.

To be perfectly honest, I have never been completely satisfied with the results of any of my embroidered ribbon projects. The ribbon always seems to pucker and ripple along the edges after the stabilizer is removed. I think that is caused because a satin ribbon (just like satin fabric) is an unstable environment for embroidery to begin with, and grosgrain ribbon is not much better.

I hope you have better luck than I’ve had!

A Bit of Stitch

Removing Wash-Away

Hi, I am currently embroidering velour towels and using wash-away on top.  The problem is I don’t want to have to wash the towels to remove.  Is there another way to do this? Ta – Marg

Hi Marg,

Are you using a clear film wash-away on top? If so, there is no need to remove what remains under the stitching after you have ripped away the excess. Especially if the towels are for sale or to become gifts. The first washing will remove the remaining stabilizer…no need to wash it until it needs it! If you are using a cut-away fabric type wash-away you can try spraying the back of the towel lightly with water directly on the embroidery. The water will travel along the stitching line to the top of the towel and melt the stabilizer enough that you should be able to remove the excess cleanly from around the design. I wouldn’t suggest using a fabric type stabilizer for towels though. A clear film will work better…or a permanent vinyl topper such as DrycoverUp by Hoop-it-All.

Hope this helps!

A Bit of Stitch

Stabilizer for Redwork

I am trying to do redwork which has scripture (words).  Which stabilizer should I use tear away (and Lose Weight Exercise) or cutaway.  I have trouble with the words coming unstitched.  Should I leave back stitches in tact?  Thank you – Linda

Hi Linda!

I’m not sure what project fabric you are using, but for most fabrics I’d use Sulky’s iron-on tear-away. This brand of tear-away is very easy to remove and you will stand less chance of disturbing the stitching. When tearing away the excess, put your fingers on the stitched portions of the design and tear away the stabilizer up to your fingers. Leave a little around the stitching. If it is possible to leave the stabilizer intact on your project (and it won’t hinder the finished look from the front…for instance, on a pillow top or framed embroidery) use a fusible mesh stabilizer over the whole project back and don’t remove it. My personal favorite is Lite & Sheer Mesh Fusible from Terradon Embroidery.

Do not clip the jump threads between the lettering on the back of the fabric. Just clip the front jump threads and any long tails of colored thread on the back. Use a tiny drop of seam sealant, such as FrayChek, to help secure the beginning and ending of each knot on the wrong side of the project. (Do a spot check first on a scrap of your project fabric to be sure that it will not show when completely dry…some fabrics will mark.) Depending on what your project is, it may even be advisable to use a fusible webbing, such as Wonder Under or Steam a Seam, to adhere a piece of interfacing permanently to the wrong side of the embroidered fabric. This will definitely help prevent those stitches from unraveling…but will also give the fabric stiffness, not always desirable!

Good luck!

A Bit of Stitch

All Puckered Up

Hi, I am embroidering about 30 squares for a quilt group that makes quilts for veteran hospitals. All my designs are patriotic. A lot of them are puckering. I am using tearaway stabilizer, have tried cutaway and sticky. Also loosened the thread tension and did not pull the fabric after putting it in the hoop. They are still puckering. Some of the designs are dense. I am using cotton squares and #11 or #14 needle depending on the design. HELP!!!!! Hope you can set me on the right path. Thank you, – Susie

Dear Susie;

Aren’t you just the sweetest person to be making quilts for veterans!!!!

Sounds like you have a “design unsuitable for the fabric” problem. That means, the fabric weave is too light and not tightly woven enough to support the stitches in the design, causing them to push the fibers apart instead of resting on top of the fibers as they should. Which makes puckers around the design! Here’s a good test…hold your fabric up to a strong light, look at the light holes coming through it. Do you see large patches of fabric that look brighter? Do you see unevenly spaced light holes with some larger than others? If so you probably have a piece of fabric that was woven of inferior cotton thread. Spinners would call it “seconds.” While seconds is okay for most sewing projects, embroidery doesn’t always do so well on it. Look for a high thread count, 200 or so and a nice thick, sturdy feeling cotton.

Sounds like you are stabilizing just fine. I would recommend that you always adhere the stabilizer to the fabric, regardless of it’s type. You can use temporary spray adhesive if you’re not using a wet and stick or an iron-on stabilizer. After the stabilized fabric is in the hoop, slide another piece under the hoop while it is in the machine for those especially dense designs.

Another option would be to try using editing software to reduce the stitch count. If you happen to be using some free designs from sites that offer lots of freebies by various folks you might have designs that have been automatically resized when they were converted and have not had their stitch counts adjusted. No matter what you do, those designs will pucker.

Good luck! Let me know how you do!

A Bit of Stitch