How to Embroider Polo Shirts

Written by brittney horwitz
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How to Embroider Polo Shirts
Embroider initials on a polo shirt to add some style. (embroider image by Ivonne Wierink from

Just a few letters of embroidery can add a personal touch to your plain polo shirt. Many websites offer custom embroidery on polo shirts, but you can also learn how to do it yourself. If you are attempting embroidery yourself for the first time, start with something simple like your initials before embarking on a big project.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Iron-on transfer with design of choice
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Embroidery hoop (optional)
  • Needle
  • Embroidery floss
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Choose a spot on your shirt where you would like the design to go. Some common places include on the pocket or just above the pocket.

  2. 2

    Iron on the design by placing the transfer paper upside down on your shirt and running a hot iron across the back of the design, according to the directions on the transfer.

  3. 3

    Place the embroidery hoop over the spot where you will be working, if you choose to use one. The hoop acts to secure the spot tightly in place and make embroidering easier. Put the bottom of the hoop on the bottom of the shirt and tightly screw the two sides together to hold in place.

  4. 4

    Embroider your design by following the ironed-on pattern and using one of many common embroidery stitches. The most basic stitch is a backstitch, which works by inserting the needle underneath the shirt, pulling it out, and then inserting it one stitch-length behind where you took it out to create your first stitch. Then bring it back out one stitch-length ahead of the original insert and once again go back, this time to the spot of the original insert. Bring it out one stitch-length ahead of your farthest stitch.

    Basically, on top of the shirt, you should always be putting your needle one stitch behind where you are up to, while under the shirt, you are always bringing it two stitches ahead.

  5. 5

    Continue stitching in the stitch of your choice until your design is fully filled in.

  6. 6

    Cut off the extra thread and tie a knot on the inside of the shirt.

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