Machine embroidered onesies for beginners


The first thing you need to do before you start embroidering on tiny onesies is to find a tutorial written by someone who’s embroidered more than 5 onesies in their life and read that. But you should totally read this blog post, too. Why? You know how you sometimes forget about all of the problems you had when you started something. I didn’t forget about any problems because I just had them. So this blog post is more like a report on my first experience with onesie embroidery. (Which is also my first experience with soft knit embroidery. I know, smart. ) And then, at the end, there’s 2 ideas how to cover mistakes up.

 1. Gather the supplies.

First you’ll need onesies. Most hight street shops with a kids department carry them (I did not know that, maybe you did). Primark has packs of 3 for 3 pounds. I got those.
Then get some designs. I’d say it’s way better if you get designs with a low density of stitches. I got all of mine form Urban Threads (I get all of my designs there. They are always pretty and work perfectly). I also digitized a design and that didn’t go that well, but this isn’t about my problems with digitizing.

It’s the “Luka” one. The future babie’s future name is going to be Luka. He will live on the third floor, if you grew up in the late 80ies/early 90ies and were wondering. Luka is the most popular Slovenian boy’s name, the parents were not huge Suzanne Vega fans.

Then you definitely need a ballpoint needle. I used a 70, because I bought a set of them and that was the smallest size in there. The internet generally said 75. I forgot to change the needle just when I started and the thread kept ripping and it looked weird. Once I’ve changed it, everything got better.
You’ll also need iron on stabilizer, mid weight. I usually use the non ironon variety (because it’s cheaper and works perfectly fine with all of my other nonstrech projects), but you really need an iron on, so eveyrthing is really stable and doesn’t move around or stretch.
The last thing you’ll need is soft embroidery backing, which will protect the baby skin from irritation from the stitches. You iron that on after the design was stitched out and it’s supposed to stay there for ever. All of this stuff is quite expensive, but you don’t really need much of either the stabilizer or backing so you can buy the smallest possible quantity- and you’ll still have leftovers for other projects (t-shirts, here I come!)


2. Hooping 

Hopping a tiny onesie is bitch. For all of the designs I did, the perfect hoop size was the second smallest one (6×5 inch, I think). I’m pretty sure that’s also the perfect size for onesie hooping. The width of it is quite similar to the width of the onesie – so once you try to move everything that’s not hooped out of the way, there’s not much left.

I tried 3 different methods of hooping and all of them are quite ridiculous. You could, if you own a serger and have way to much patience cut the sides, hoop the front, embroider it and than sew the onesie back together. But I don’t. I did however find that the method in the link, from step 5 on wasn’t that horrible. (Yes, I ignored all the previous steps and just ironed a piece of interfacing to the back of the front side of the onesie. I’m OK with not perfectly placed designs. It’s for a baby, he doesn’t care. )

So basicly: turn the onesie inside out, iron on the interfacing, place the onesie on the hoop with the interfaced side down. Put the upper part of the hoop inside, hoop the onesie. Strech the rest of the onesie around the hoop, through the bottom opening.

I used masking tape to tape the sides of the onesie out of the way.

Also, if putting the onesie on a hoop is so hard, how the f* are you supposed to put it on a tiny (possibly screaming) human. I definitely don’t want babies of my own. Being an aunt, especially on an island far away from the actual baby, suits me perfectly. I can make all the cute stuff, I don’t have to change nappies! 

 3. Embroidering 

Have some chopsticks or something similar handy so that you can move fabric out of the way when you’re embroidering and you don’t endanger you fingers. Otherwise, proceed as usual.

4. Making mistakes into features. 

I lost a onesie right at the start. I washed them with some newly bought pink fabric, so the once white onesie is now pink (I do have an idea on how to save it, though). If I wouldn’t have genius ideas on how to cover mistakes, I’d loose two more. But I did manage to save them, by turning the mistakes into interesting features. (I used to work in advertising as a copywriter. Making things sound good was my job.) So the last advice I have for you- have some matching cotton on hand. And bondaweb. Just in case.

This one was the one I tried embroidering on first, hooping it a different way. Because I’m not smart, I also tried it with a design I digitized myself (not the Luka one. Another one I deleted and never want to see again). The result was a red blob of pulling thread right next to the collar. I gave up onesie embroidering for two days. Then I tried it with the UT design and the inside out hooping and it worked perfectly, so I had to save the onesie somehow. Unpicking the stitches on top was a pain and took forever. Then there were all all these holes left and a part of the fabric was stretched out of shape. So I made a lovely collar to cover the whole thing up:)


The next one was the last one I worked on. Confident by my other 4 successes, I left the machine to go make some tea. And as it always happens, I came back to an error message, a nest of thread around the needle and the onesie stuck in the machine. I carefully took it out, but there was no way I could continue with the stitching. A tiny part of fabric was completely stretched out. I decided to just do the same design on a piece of cotton and appliqué it over the top. Voila.


I think this baby is going to have a vast amount of embroidered clothes. Even thought they are quite frustrating to hoop and easily destroyed, they are just SO darn cute! And he’s going to be the only baby in the family for quite some time…



Jellyfish trousers

If there is a hell, I’m pretty sure it’s a shopping mall and all you do for eternity is search for a nice pair of well fitting trousers. The only time I ever got frustrated enough to cry in a dressing room was the last time I was buying jeans (and that was more then a year ago…). I’m short and my hips are approximately 8 H&M sizes larger then my waist.

I tried sewing a pair of trousers  just after I started experimenting with sewing clothes. That didn’t go that well and I didn’t try again for a long time. I’m also not that good at pattern adjustments (Ok, I actually never really tried or looked into it. I have to do that some day soon…) so I feared that sewing my own pair would result in a similarly ill-fitting way and I would cry even more, because all of the work I would have had put into it. There was also the issue of not wanting to wear clothes that are too unusual (if I sew, I usually get a bit carried away, as you can see in this project:)) in Maribor, because people would stare and make rude comments. And although I tried not to care, I did. But a few months of living in a hip area of east London erases all of your fears of looking ridiculous in public from your mind. Want to go to the Sunday market dressed in a zebra onesie? No one cares. So I finally got to courage and motivation to sew myself some trousers, because I knew I’ll wear them no matter how they look (they just have to fit).


I had an eye on that 10/2010 #110 pattern since I bought that issue of Burda. Wide pants always fit in my thigh area, but I was told (or I read it somewhere) that short stubby people should never wear trousers like that. They obviously make you look even shorter and more ill proportioned. But I just don’t care anymore:)! I also had this fabric in my stash since forever, I don’t even remember what I bought it for (it was definitely not trousers, though:)).

I wanted to add an element of embroidery to my new awesome trousers, but didn’t know what. Then the Urban threads sale came along and I fell in love with that jellyfish. That whole thing did not work out as well as I hoped it would, but I should have foreseen that thin filigree lines won’t really stand out on this kind of material. I tried adding a nice lacy border at the waist, and that also didn’t really work, so I decided I’ll leave the other pant leg clean. We’ll just pretend that’s how it was meant to be from this moment on:)


I didn’t really read the instructions in the magazines, because they were long and in German, so I kind of winged the whole process of sewing them together. I did watch a few youtube videos on how to sew a fly zip front and all of them were really useful (I don’t know why I don’t use youtube tutorials more often…). I will not show you any close-ups of any parts of the trousers because there are sooo many obvious mistakes, but I still really like them. They f-n fit! Yes, they have a ridiculously high waist, but it’s not too wide. They are a bit itchy (wool, doh), but they are wide enough to comfortably wear some leggings under them. All in all, they are infinitely better than store bought pair I ever owned, and I’m going to make many many more of them:)


I have to add a button in front, but I’m still deciding on how exactly I’m going to execute that 🙂

And now a question for you, potential reader… Have you ever sewed trousers? Any patterns or tutorials you’d recommend?