When I got my Brother PE-770 embroidery machine and Embrilliance software last March, my first "project" that I completed by the end of the month (after three weeks of learning while practicing on scraps of fabric), was a baby gift set. This was also my first embroidery post on this blog!
I continued to make baby gift sets to continue to learn. I still think they are a great way to practice because new moms love personalized things for their new babies so you instantly have a happy cheerleader, excited for your efforts! And some of those moms got less than stellar results as I continued to learn (and sometimes fail as you can see below), but they received projects with tons of effort!!
Last June, when I did the first baby project tutorial, personalized burp cloths, I had planned on a series of tutorials. All these many months later, I am finally doing the second one. At this rate, it is safe to say that in ten years, I should have them all completed.
One of the hardest things I finally figured out was baby onesies! I had read where others liked the snap-back onesies and side zipper gowns in order to easily deal with baby clothes with a single needle machine...and I had read that the cheap, thin ones were the worst, the hardest to successfully sew. I had read that some embroiderers open up the sides of onesies to stitch flat and then re-sew the sides. All of those solutions had merit and were perfectly acceptable, but I wanted to be able to embroider regular onesies, cheap onesies, any onesie!! The first step to accomplishing this came when I found clearance Imagin8 brand onesies at Michael's Craft Store. They were priced down to 70¢ so I loaded up a cart and bought tons of them. I gave myself permission to try and learn, even if that meant throwing away any that didn't work out until I had it figured out. I threw away quite a few that were complete disasters, but in the end, I learned how to stabilize them, stitch them without any extra tools (like the HoopItUp that I wasted money on), without cutting open the sides, without spending money on expensive blanks with back or side openings, and with perfect, repeatable results. The hardest part was learning how to stabilize them properly, without the stabilizer shadowing and showing through to the front, without puckering, without a stiff rectangle on the front.
This tutorial shows what I finally figured out. I am sure there are many other ways to do this, but this is the way that finally worked for me. It works for me every single time without fail! Learning this meant that I had acquired skills to embroider on all sorts of knit clothing!
Supplies needed to float and embroider a onesie:
- embroidery software - I use Embrilliance Essentials. I use my software for every single project that I stitch. This allows me to merge and size my file, add text, and print out a full-size paper copy of my design with a list of color steps for the stitch out.
- embroidery file ready to save and stitch (The file I have used in this tutorial is made of an applique that I digitized myself and the Daphne font from Stitchtopia.)
- Ballpoint embroidery needles size 75/11.
- Fusible No Show Poly Mesh stabilizer (this is a type of cutaway stabilizer)
- tearaway stabilizer
- water soluble stabilizer (WSS) if a topper is used
- applique fabrics (if doing applique)
- Heat N Bond Lite (hnbl) (if doing applique)
- Stitch cover (this is not a stabilizer but rather a fusible knit facing that covers rough stitching. Cloud Cover, Tender Touch, CoverAStitch are some of the trade names).
- Temporary textile adhesive (Mettler Web Bond TA 101 is what I use but there are several options on this)
- Curved scissors for trimming appliques or an electronic die cutter to pre-cut the applique shapes (if an applique file is used)
- Rubber-ended seam ripper or other rubber-ended tool (for removal of WSS if it is used)
I buy my stabilizers and stitch cover from World Weidner (they are also on Amazon). I buy my hnbl from Walmart.
This tutorial will not show you the steps of how to do applique. For that, check out this tutorial from Itch2Stitch: click here. For how-to on cutting appliques with an electronic die cutter, click here. I most often cut my appliques with scissors but sometimes my Silhouette is a better option.
Step One: I pre-wash the onesie, the fusible no show poly mesh stabilizer, the stitch cover, and the fabrics I use for appliques. Many people do not do this but I find my best results when I do.
|These are both the same brand, same size onesie, from the same package. The one on the top has been dipped in hot water and thrown in the dryer. The one on the bottom was straight out of the package. It shrunk in the width and length.|
Step Three: I prepare the applique fabrics that I have pre-shrunk by fusing HeatNBond Lite (hnbl) to the wrong sides of the fabrics.
Step Four: I hoop tear-away stabilizer in my 5x7 hoop. I use my grid to mark the cross-hairs to show the vertical center line and horizontal center line.
Step Five: I tape the paper copy of the design onto the hooped tearaway.
I place three thumbtacks from the backside of the hooped stabilizer so that the points are on the top. I place one in the center, one on the vertical line, and one on the horizontal line. I try to pick places where the design will cover the onesie to hide any holes created. (This method of transferring placement is something I learned from Lisa Shaw's blog post on alignment.)
I remove the paper copy, leaving the thumbtacks in place. (I sometimes have to tape them on the back). I set aside the prepped hoop and the paper copy.
Step Six: I apply fusible no show poly mesh to the wrong side of the front of the onesie. It will be trimmed down later so applying a rectangle is fine.
Step Seven: I iron the onesie to make the knit fabric perfectly smooth. I fold the onesie in half lengthwise to get a vertical center line that will match up with the vertical center line on the paper copy of the design.
Step Eight: I use the print-out from my Embrilliance software to place the full-size paper copy of the design where I like it, matching center lines. (When in doubt, I use a placement guide from the Embroidery Library.) I tape and pin in place on the top and bottom of the paper copy to keep in place. (Note: for clarification, my design included that pink border, but I decided not to use it. That is not the basting box. The basting box is just the thin back outline. I only mention that in case seeing that is confusing to anyone.)
I turn the onesie inside-out so that the paper copy is inside the onesie.
Step Nine: I spray temporary textile adhesive on the tearaway on the prepared hoop. A little goes a long way.
Step Ten: I match up the holes on the paper copy with the thumbtacks EXACTLY. I pin the onesie in place on the top and bottom of the hoop so that the onesie cannot shift as I smooth it in place..
I like to also make sure the vertical lines on the paper copy match the pencil line on the hooped tearaway-- just a double-check.
I carefully unpin and peel away the paper copy.
I carefully remove the thumbtacks from the back of the hoop.
Step Eleven: I gently smooth the onesie in place, taking great care NOT to stretch it in any way. I use a brayer to press it in place to smooth out that fold line.
Step Twelve: I put in a ballpoint needle in my embroidery machine. I check to make sure the bobbin thread is the right color (white or black depending on the color of the onesie) and that it is in sufficient quantity.
Step Thirteen: I attach the hoop to the machine and stitch a basting stitch. This is the hardest part because this will be the largest design stitched in the hoop. I usually apply water soluble stabilizer (WSS) at this point because I think it can keep the stitches from sinking in a bit, but on this project, that is debatable. I hold the onesie out of the way as it stitches, pressing the stop button as needed and keeping my fingers out of the way of the needle.
Step Fourteen: I stitch my design. I keep the paper list of steps next to my machine that I printed from my software when I printed my paper copy. It keeps me aware of what part of the design will stitch when so I can be sure to move that part of the onesie out of the way. I sometimes remove my hoop during stitch out to iron down tacked on applique pieces (before the satin stitch is applied) using a tiny iron I bought at Joann's. More often than not, I get in a hurry and forget. I think this is a matter of personal preference and time.
Step Fifteen: I remove the finished applique from the machine, cut jump threads from the front and back. From the back, I clip the basting box threads and remove that.
I tear off the tearaway.
I pull up the poly mesh and trim close to the design.
From the front, I remove the WSS. Anything that doesn't pull away, I use the rubber end of my seam ripper to rub it off. (Any that is still remaining can be removed by placing a damp cloth over the stitching and pressing with a steam iron to melt the WSS).
I press the design with an iron to remove pin holes and make it crisp.
I turn it inside out and fuse piece of stitch cover (cut to the shape of my stitching) to the wrong side of the embroidery.
I turn the onesie to right side and it is complete!
List of links in this post (none of the links on this post are affiliate links; these are all direct links):
- Embrilliance Essentials software: click here.
- Info on how I digitized the frog applique: click here.
- Daphne font from Stitchtopia: click here.
- Source for stabilizers (World Weidner): click here.
- Source for stitch cover (World Weidner's Over the Back Cover A Stitch: click here.
- Source for HeatNBond Lite (Walmart): click here.
- Tutorial for the first baby project, personalized burp cloths: click here.
- How to do machine applique tutorial by Itch2Stitch: click here.
- How to cut applique fabric using Embrilliance and an electronic die cutter: click here.
- Info on basting boxes: click here.
- Thumbtack placement info on Lisa Shaw's blog: click here.
- Placement guide for embroidery on children's clothing: click here.
|Designs from the title pic:|
Frog Onesie - applique is one I digitized. Font is from Stitchtopia (Daphne).
Tie Onesie - Applique Market. Font is Block in Embrilliance Essentials.
Robot Onesie - robot is from Hang to Dry. Font is from Designs by JuJu (Bean Stitch Block).
To see all of my embroidery notes, links to my other embroidery projects and tutorials, check out my Embroidery page on this blog using the tabs at the top, or just click here.