How to Center Your Embroidery Designs Every Time!

How to Center Your Embroidery Designs Every Time
how to center embroidery design elle est forte metallic thread milk sugar
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When I first started out trying to embroider onesies, I was having a very hard time getting my design centered on the onesie.  It would often end of too far to one side.  Then, I met a wonderful lady named Teresa.  She’s an expert in all things embroidery.  I was having an issue with one her designs I had purchased, so she took the time to teach me a few amazing tips about embroidery.

First thing she taught me, is don’t use embroidery needles, use regular sewing needles except with metallic thread, use metallic needles. (Please feel free to see my post on How to Embroider with Metallic Thread.) This tip worked wonders and also saved me money on being able to buy needles in bulk.

Next, she gave me tips on how to center the designs.  This was life changing.  My designs went from all over the place, to centered every time!  First, start off with some sticky tear away or cut away stabilizer.  I like to use Sulky Sticky Tear Away Stabilizer.  Cut it slightly larger than your hoop.  I like to use a rotary cutter whenever possible, saves the aches I get in my hands from using scissors too often.

how to center embroidery sticky tear away stabilizer
Cutting Sticky Tear Away Stabilizer

Place the Sticky Stabilizer around the bottom of your hoop.  I like to cut slits around the side and bottom pieces to give a snugger fit around the hoop.  Find a piece of paper, thicker the better and line up the middle notches.  Take a disappearing ink pen and mark a line down the center of the stabilizer.  Please note, I used a regular pen this time, as I was in the middle of moving my sewing room and couldn’t find my disappearing ink pen.  If you look closely at the photos, a little showed up on the dress bodice when I rinsed off the water soluble stabilizer, so please use the disappearing ink pen.

how to center embroidery design draw line with paper
Draw Line down Sticky Stabilizer

Now you should have a perfectly straight line down the middle of your hoop.

how to center embroidery draw line down center
Straight Line down Sticky Stabilizer

Next, we will work with the bodice, this can also be used with t-shirts or onesies.  Take your bodice piece and fold it in half.  Take your bodice to the ironing board and press the folded side to create a line.

how to center embroidery on shirt iron
Iron Folded Bodice Piece

Depending on the fabric used, keep the iron on a lower setting.  I created a very visible line, so it was easier to see in pictures.  The less line you make, the easier it is to iron out later. Now you should have a perfectly straight line down the middle of your bodice.

how to center embroidery on shirt iron down middle
Straight Line Down Bodice Piece

If your embroidery design has a placement stitch, run it now.  Next, take the bodice to the hoop and match up the two lines; the line on the stabilizer and the line on the bodice.   Please remember to leave room for seam allowances if you are sewing a piece together.

how to center embroidery design match up lines
Line Up the lines on the Sticky Stabilizer and Bodice Piece

I was working with metallic thread, so I wanted my design to stand out more and not sink into the fabric, so I used a layer of water soluble stabilizer on top of my bodice as well.  I usually use a thinner water soluble stabilizer, however being in the process of moving my sewing room, I didn’t look for it. Then, place the top piece of the hoop into place.

hooping an embroidery design
Optional: Top with Water Soluble Stabilizer

Now stitch your design!! Voila you are done!!! (If you used a water soluble stabilizer, wash it off now).

how to center embroidery design elle est forte metallic thread milk sugar

In my picture you can still seed the line down the middle of the bodice.  You can get this out, by steaming the item or ironing it out.  I was literally scrambling at the last minute to get this dress done, as usual, so I did not have enough time.

Supplies for this project:

  1. Embroidery Machine (I used the Brother SE400)
  2. Sticky Tear Away (or cut away) Stabilizer
  3. Disappearing Ink Pen
  4. Rotary Cutter
  5. Water Soluble Stabilizer (optional)
  6. Sewing Needles
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About Seams Sew Lo 173 Articles
Hi I'm Lo and I love to sew and I also love to play with my two children! I am a work at home Mom of two toddlers.  I never planned on staying home with the kids, however when I was 8 and 1/2 months pregnant with my first child, Little Dude, I was unexpectedly let go from my corporate job.  With a newborn and a tough job market, I decided to buy a Brother Sewing/Embroidery Machine and taught myself to sew. I would like to thank the many bloggers, youtube videos I have watched and PDF pattern designers for all their help. With a degree in International Business from Blaise-Pascal University in France I decided to open my own business, an Etsy shop.  I started making baby leg warmers and then added embroidered bodysuits.  I was so busy I couldn't keep up and had to seek out third party help. After my second child, Baby Girl, life became super busy.  There is something about little girls clothes that makes them so much fun to create.  I started venturing out to more articles of clothing.  It has been a fun adventure. I am learning as I go.  I sometimes skip steps or take short cuts, sometimes I take a long road to get where I need to go.  I don't think sewing needs to be perfect, I think it should be fun!!

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