A knit shirt, your embroidery machine, and an expressive embroidery design make-up an ideal trio to create an artistic tee. In 2-hours of time, I was able to makeover a plain knit shirt into a shirt with designer details. For those of you who are computerized embroidery machine owners, this is a fast transformation!

The transformation—both embroidery and neckline modification—is compliments of one embroidery. I used the CD from Designer Necklines and choose the embroidery for the Peak-a-boo Neckline. You’ll notice that neckline shapes, the artistic embroidery, and a V- Neck stitching line form the transformation. This is one robust embroidery!

First Step

1. Hoop Fusible Polymesh, fusible side up in the 5″ x 7″ embroidery hoop. Attach the hoop to the embroidery unit.

2. Stitch the first thread color directly on the hooped stabilizer—it is the Perfect-Placement Embroidery.

3. Position the T-shirt along the Perfect-Placement Embroidery.

•           Remove the hoop from the embroidery unit and place the hoop at the narrow end of an ironing board.

•           Position the T-shirt over the end of the ironing board. Match the neckline and center front to one of the Perfect-Placement Stitching lines and center front marking on the stabilizer. Gently press the shirt to the stabilizer. A mini-iron is an ideal pressing tool to use within a hoop. Another option to attach the T-shirt to the stabilizer is to spray a fabric adhesive on the hooped stabilizer and then position the T-shirt.

•           Lift the back of the T-shirt to the top of the hoop, creating a nest shape. Reattach the hoop to the embroidery unit. I learned this technique from Eileen Roche, editor of Designs In Machine Embroidery Magazine. What a great tip!

4.         Stitch the remainder of the decorative embroidery.

5.        Cut out a facing.

•           Cut a 5″ x 6″ rectangle for the facing. Fuse lightweight interfacing to the wrong side. Or, cut the facing from Stretch Mesh—a lightweight spandex fabric. For my project, I chose the stretch mesh, yet have used a cotton facing for other designer neckline transformations.

•       Pressmark the vertical center of the facing.

•       Position the facing on top of the T-shirt, right sides together. Align the center press and extend the facing 1/2″ above the neckline. Tape the facing to the shirt along the

7.        Embroider the last thread color, the V-shape stitching. Remove the T-shirt from the hoop.

8.         Carefully cut down the center of the T-shirt, taking care to stop cutting just before the stitching at the point of the V.

•           Turn under the top of the facing; pin.

•           Fold the facing to the wrong side. Pin the facing from the right side.

•           Edgestitch 1/4″ from the V-shape.

•           If using Stretch Mesh, trim away the excess fabric.

Hint:  If the stretch mesh peaks around the corner, try using a permanent marker in the color of the fabric to hide the appearance of the mesh. I keep a collection of permanent markers in my sewing room to camouflage all sorts of unexpected appearances!


There are several other artistic tee transformation on Designer Necklines CD.

Here’s the first Peak-a-boo tee that I transformed. Isn’t it cute!

You’ll find 32 embroidery files, including 20 decorative embroideries and 12 placement and/or transformation embroideries. It’s a totally unique combination! Plus, Eileen Roche and I videotaped a 30-minute DVD which is included in the Designer Necklines package.


Have you made a tee-shirt transformation?  Let me know what you’ve done!

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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