Update an Old Shirt with Embroidery

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Hello everyone. Laura here from Trash to Couture. For this post, I will share with you how to embroider onto a collared shirt with the Brother SE625 Sewing and Embroidery Machine. This is a great way to update old or boring clothing. The SE625 has a set of built in floral patterns that I will be using on this denim shirt. Get the details below on how to embroider you own custom look.


  • Brother SE625 Sewing and Embroidery Machine
  • Stabilizer: Choose the best one for your material
  • Embroidery thread
  • Embroidery pattern
  • Shirt to embroider
  • Marking tool
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  1. Begin by pressing your garment. Then use the template to mark where you want your design to be. I mark both right and wrong sides with a fabric marking tool. Choose an area of the shirt that is flat. For this design, I will be using the yoke and the back panel.

Tip: Use a stabilizer that works with your fabric and place at least 1 inch over the markings. I love the ones that you can cut to measurement, peel and stick it right on.

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2. Hoop it. Hooping Tip: You don’t want it too tight or too loose. It should sound like a drum when tapping it.

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3. Set up your machine to embroider. You can adjust the size and placement of the pattern which makes it easy to place the design exactly where you want it.

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4. Once the first set of embroideries is complete, continue to repeat the previous steps for more designs wherever you’d like. The SE625 makes it easy to mirror images to create patterns like I did on the yoke.

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5. If the yoke isn’t enough, the back panel is another great place to embroider.

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The options and ideas are endless on what you can add embroidery too! Watch my video to get the steps on how to embellish your shirt with embroidery:

Watch Video:

Speed simulated for demonstrative purposes. Actual speeds will vary.

This article has been republished from Brother Sews USA. The original article can be seen here: http://blog.brothersews.com/embroidery/embroider-shirt/

Sewing tips and ideas

Sewing Machine:

If you don’t have a sewing machine it’s a good idea to find one that best suits your sewing interests. Do you plan to sew garments, quilts, clothing, or something else entirely? What type of materials do you prefer working with? Are you interested in embroidery? So many options, and Brother has all the different machines to fit your needs. Also feel free to reach out to us ambassadors, we are happy to help!


Use your resources:

If you’re a hands-on learner like me, I suggest you look around your area for sewing studios that offer classes and camps. These are great for everyone! It’s ideal to have a space and time set up to learn without distractions.  I taught sewing for adults, and it was such a great way to learn. Within a week, students went from threading their machines to sewing simple projects (zipper pouches, tote bags, doll clothes).

Another great option is to learn sewing virtually! There are many resources offered online through sewing blogs and sewing websites. Check out Stitching Sewcial, where you’ll find step-by-step sewing tutorials, patterns, and tips to use that range from beginner to expert.

Start small:

It’s a good idea to start with a simple project before diving into a more advanced one. I remember one of my first sewing projects was to pick a pattern and fabric to go with it.  I went with a dress that required all the fixings and on top of that picked a plaid chiffon fabric.  BOTH of these were not “beginner friendly” and I found myself in over my head.  I was 12 and I can remember the frustration I felt when sewing that dress. Perhaps a gathered elastic skirt would have been a better first project at that time.

Consistency is Key:  I like to say “a little each day goes a long way!”  It takes time to hone your skill. Even the busiest of days I try to find 25-30 minutes to give to my craft. Whether it’s browsing a sewing blog for tips on using a cover stitch machine or laying out a sewing pattern and prepping to cut the next day. It surprises people how long even a simple sewing project can take and this is how I like to break it down.


Don’t skip the in between steps: When I first started sewing I would speed through my project like it was a race! I would skip the “annoying steps” I felt were unnecessary like pressing, and pattern markings, etc. These steps are as important as the sewing itself and can be the difference between a wobbly hem and a professional looking garment. While it may not get done as quickly you will see the difference in the overall result.


No rules:

At the end of all of this there are no rules. Have fun and be creative. Sewing is a personal journey after all and you will find your own ways that work for you. Perhaps “that fabric doesn’t work with that pattern” but it never stopped me anyways.

This article has been republished from Brother Sews USA. The original article can be seen here:http://blog.brothersews.com/sewing/national-sewing-month/

Quick Tip: Exploring Options for Elongation Stitches

Elongation style stitches are much more fun than their rather technical name implies. The term elongation simply means that patterns in this category of decorative stitches can be re-sized in a range from 1 to 5. As they are re-sized, the pattern or shape of the stitch is maintained. Examples in the photo above show patterns stitched out in all the different sizes. Although the size varies, the density remains the same and the general shape of the stitch does as well. Depending on the size and the stitch selected, different sizes can produce interesting variations. In addition, changing the length of the stitch makes the pattern denser but also shortens the length of the pattern. One of my favorite tricks is to select a larger size pattern and then shorten the stitch length. This results in a fuller looking stitch that is a bit shorter than the original pattern. See examples of sizes below in Figure #1b:

Figure #1b

You’ll find these 7mm satin style elongation stitches built into many Brother machine models. They’re located in the Character/Decorative stitch menu of the machine. See examples of stitch menus below in Figure #2a and #2b:

Figure #2a
Figure #2b

The size key allows for elongating the stitch in a range from 1 to 5.

Some machine models include an additional feature for creating step stitch patterns. This technique allows for moving stitch patterns left and right to sew wide patterns with multi-directional stitching. See Figure#3 below:

Figure #3

Remember to change to presser foot “N” when sewing these decorative stitches. This foot has a groove on the underside, so it flows easily across bulky satin stitches. See Figure #4.

Figure #4

It’s also important to be sure fabric is firm and well stabilized before sewing these decorative stitches. A layer of tear-away stabilizer is a good choice for many situations. Be sure to test stitches on scraps before sewing your actual project. Have fun experimenting with elongation stitches, trying different sizes, patterns, and combinations. Enjoy!

This article has been republished from Brother Sews USA. The original article can be seen here: http://blog.brothersews.com/tips-tricks/elongation-stitches/

Get Creative with a Customized Cell Phone Case

Need a little pizazz? Time to get busy and dial in your own cool style with a customized cell phone case!


Note: Smartphone sizes change so quickly, so we recommend basing measurements to the size of your
preferred phone model. This sleeve is supposed to fit very snugly to keep the phone from falling out. If you want to make it larger so it does not fit so tightly (or to accommodate a larger phone in the future), you could add a tab closure to the top.


1. Choose 3 different types of fabric—one will serve as the main pocket of your phone case and the 2 layers will be for your cards and earbuds. You will want to cut the main pocket to be twice as wide as your phone (with case if you keep it in a case) plus about 2-3 inches. For example, the phone we used here is 2.5 inches wide, so we cut the fabric to be 8-9 inches wide. The other 2 pocket layers will be 2-3 inches plus your phone size.

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2. Cut 3 piece of felt the same size as your phone and pin one to the back of each piece of fabric, with the long edges pinned over. This will add an extra layer of protection.

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3. For what will be the 2 smaller front pieces, fold the 2 layers on a diagonal and sew along the top edges. Keep the larger back piece unfolded for now.

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4. Sew the two front-pieces along each side at one edge of the back piece. Then, fold over the back piece to
cover the entire case.

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5. Sew along the bottom and sides, then cut off any extra fabric from the sides after you’re finished sewing. Turn inside out to reveal!

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6. Grab your cards, phone and earbuds. You’re ready to go!