Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche



Knit tops are a wardrobe basic; most of us live in them. After awhile, the style can get, well, boring! Welcome to Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes, a Sewing With Nancy 2-part TV series—Watch online or on PBS. During this first episode, learn how to transform the common knit shirt into a fresh and smart-looking fashion. Embroidery machine designs are the key to adding embellishment and also the neckline transformation. It’s rather marvelous how it all happens.

Joining me is machine embroidery expert Eileen Roche, who uses her embroidery machine to transform off-the-rack tops.

Embroidery Designs Create The Transformation

Embroidery designs can be functional and creative at the same time. The magic combo of functionality and creativity take the guesswork out of these T-shirt remakes. There are eight neckline designs to choose from. Use a 5″ x 7″ embroidery hoop—the most common hoop size—to stitch the magic. Here’s a summary of the process:

  • Fold the T-shirt in half, matching the shoulder seams. Mark the center front with a pin.
  • Hoop a water-soluble adhesive stabilizer, cloth type in a 5″ x 7″ hoop. Score the paper of the stabilizer within the hooped area with the tip of a pin or seam ripper. Remove the paper covering.


Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes with Machine Embroidery, Nancy Zieman, Eileen Roche, Sewing With Nancy



  • Set-up the machine with the embroidery unit. Import the neckline design of your choice.
  • Stitch color 1 directly onto the stabilizer. This is the functional part of the embroidery, a placement guide.


Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche



  • Remove the hoop from the machine and place it on the narrow end of the ironing board, top of the hoop at the narrow end. 
  • Place the shirt, hem first, over the ironing board and hoop. Align the center marking of the shirt with the vertical stitch line on the hoop.
  • Align the top of the ribbing with the horizontal placement line. Gently smooth the shirt flat over the stabilizer.
  • Nest the shirt above the hoop and transport the hoop to the machine.


Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche



  • Attach the hoop to the machine.
  • Use painter’s tape to hold the fabric in place is needed.
  • Stitch color 2, the tack-down; this temporary stitching will be removed when the embroidery is complete.
  • Embroider the decorative elements—the eyelets and the design.


Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche



  • Place the 6” x 8” rectangle of prewashed tricot interfacing fusible side up over the embroidery, extending the interfacing 1/2” above the ribbing.


Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche



  • Stitch the final color, which is the stitching for the neckline opening—the transformation!
  • Remove hoop from machine and release the garment from the hoop. Trim away the excess water-soluble stabilizer.
  • Slide the shirt over a sleeve board. Cut the shirt between the center stitched lines.


Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche



  • Turn the shirt wrong side out and slip it over the sleeve board. Slightly pull the interfacing from the front to the back.
  • Trim the interfacing even with the ribbing. Fold in the ribbing 1/4”. (Watch the online video to see Eileen demonstrate this unique finish.)
  • Press the interfacing from the wrong side.


Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche



  • Remove the tack-down stitching. (It will come out easily!)
  • Insert the tip of a sharp scissors in the center of each eyelet. Gently clip through the fabric.
  • Lacing: Use a yarn needle to thread the lace/cording, and then thread the lace/cording through each eyelet.


Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche



Three of the Eight Designs to Embroider—Do You Have a Favorite?


Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche




Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche




Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche



Chic Sleeve Remakes

Our transformed shirts have a surprise, a tasteful repeat of the neckline design at the sleeve hem. Here’s how to add thread accents to your sleeve.

Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche

  • Stitch color 1 of the sleeve embroidery directly onto the stabilizer. Featured is the placement guide for the right sleeve—notice the “R” stitched on the stabilizer. (There are two sleeve embroideries—one for the left sleeve and the other for the right sleeve.)


Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche



  • Open the side seam of the sleeve and position the center of the sleeve with the center marking stitched on the stabilizer.


Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche



  • Stitch color 2, the tack-down stitch.
  • Stitch the embroidery design.


Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche



  • Repeat the process for the left sleeve. Then, remove the tack-down stitching and restitch the side seams. Ta da!


Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche




Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche



Simple To Chic T-shirt Remakes, How to Embroider a T-Shirt, Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche

Watch Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes on Sewing With Nancy online.

To watch Sewing With Nancy on your iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone, download the app.


Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes with Eileen Roche and Sewing With Nancy Zieman



Create Exciting T-Shirt Transformations with this Unique Embroidery Collection 


Simple to Chic Nancy Zieman Eileen Roche T-shirt remakes Sewing With Nancy



Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes Package contains:

  • 8 neckline designs
  • 7 sleeve designs
  • 9 hemline side seam designs
  • Step-by-step instructions for T-shirt remakes.
  • 24 designs that fit in 5″ x 7″ hoop and two bonus jumbo designs

Designs in Machine Embroidery (DIME) is giving away a copy of the CD, which includes a printable PDF instruction book. Nancy’s Notions is giving away a Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes DVD. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below telling us which of these designs is your favorite.






Nancy Zieman's Giveaway Winner

The random winner of a copy of the new book, Change-Up Patchwork, from Nancy’s Notions is Hazel. Her comment was: I love the look of the 7-weave pattern. However, nine patch is my favorite go-to for a project in a rush. Love the variations that are shown.


How to Sew Easy Four-Patch Quits by Nancy Zieman on the TV Show Sewing With Nancy TV Show



Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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