Can you actually embroider on a regular sewing machine?  I think it’s a giant myth in the sewing world that you need a big fancy embroidery machine to tackle basic embroidery.  Pinterest image of embroidered roses on a bag and on a t-shirt

Embroidery is such a nice thing to add to any sewing project to add a little bit extra personality beyond whatever it is that you’ve made.  Let’s talk how you can embroider on a regular sewing machine.

After a rather involved violin I added to a t-shirt, I wanted to make something simpler.  So I created this Angle Roses Embroidery Template, and I’d like to offer it to you today as a free download when you sign up for my newsletter.

The goal of the Angle Roses Embroidery Template is to teach you some basics of how to embroider on a regular sewing machine.

Can I actually embroidery on a regular sewing machine?

You bet you can!  You don’t even need a fancy foot to do so.  Embroidery on a regular sewing machine can be as simple as tracing a design onto a stabilizer and tracing along with the needle as if it were a pencil.  Plus, you can always make it more complicated if you want to.  Here are some supplies that will help you, and then I’ll give some examples of how to spice up this basic design.

Supplies needed for embroidery on a regular sewing machine

  •  Your design
  • Water soluble stabilizer–I really like Solvy by Sulky.  It’s great for transferring a design and making some nice stitches.  That you can wash it out in the end makes for stitches that won’t be damaged by pulling away the excess stabilizer as can happen in a lot of tear-away stabilizers.
  • Fine line permanent marker–for tracing your design!
  • Uncut fabric or a project that’s already in progress: anything is game here, and you can even use this technique to embellish ready to wear items.
  • Thread of your choice: contrast is key, so you’ll want to practice on some scraps if possible to help you make a good decision.
  • Glue stick:  For gently securing the stabilizer to your work area.
  • Machine foot of your choice: I go into the advantages of each foot in the video for this project, but basically, my top 3 choices are straight stitch foot, clear applique foot, and a free motion embroidery foot.

How can you use this design?

After you’ve downloaded the design, the PDF file will give you a tutorial and several ideas for how you can use them.  I also give some basic directions to help you achieve what I’ve made.  There’s actually a 5th level of difficulty here that I didn’t cover with this project but that I did get to in my violin t-shirt that I’ll talk about another day.  It’s basically a hybrid of applique and embroidery, and it’s one of my very favorite techniques!

Simple and clean

The easiest way to incorporate the Angle Roses Embroidery Template is to simply stitch it out in one color.  A good strongly contrasting thread will be a great choice.  Here I’ve added to a Blank Slate Patterns Texana tank.

embroider on a regular sewing machine

If you want to spend some more time, add multiple motifs on a skirt

Punch it up with color

Before you stitch out the design, add a little color to your fabric.  Here I roughly stitched back and forth with my free motion foot to lay down some color.  It’s amazing how much the character changes with this little addition!

Color between the lines

After stitching out the design, why not go back and stitch with some contrast thread to bring it into full color?  The roses came into full bloom in this funky quilted necklace.

embroider on a regular sewing machine

I’d love it if you would join the newsletter if for no other reason than I’m itching to see what you would do with this template!  There’s so many possibilities!  To make it easy to sign up, click on any of the pictures in this post or below, and it’ll take you to the sign up.

Thanks so much!!!


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hummingbird tee

I’m probably out of my mind, but I’m attempting the Wardrobe Sudoku contest at PR this month.  It’s a tall order to make 10 items in 2 months, but as I started work, all of my plans kept falling in a similar color palette.  The writing and photography aspect of this will be the toughest.  Getting in 10 individual reviews plus a composite review plus my own writing here is no small task.  Yet, on the sewing end, I’m putting the finishing touches on item #6.  That’s not too bad for the better part of 4 weeks to go.  My first two items are this hummingbird tee and Burda denim skirt.

baby booties

This is a bit of a bits and bobs sort of post.  Since the Fabric Mart contest, I’ve been sewing some random things.  All of these have been UFOs, badly needed items, or just projects I’ve meant to do but haven’t gotten around to yet.  Fall seems to tarry still here (it’s been in the 70s for weeks!  Spring in fall.), so moving on to cold weather sewing is just not happening.  Now is apparently a great time for sewing completely arbitrary things.  Top of the list are these baby booties for my baby girl and others.

Maggie’s Stay on Baby Booties

baby booties

My daughter is a master ninja when it comes to escaping from socks.  No foot covering of any kind is safe.  This child will rip them off in 3.5 seconds every time.  And she loves chewing on her toes as much as she loves ripping off socks.  With the colder weather coming (maybe?), I had to find a solution for keeping her feet warm.

The lovely Deborah of GBSB fame posted her makes of Maggie’s Stay-on Baby Booties from Beautiful Pie Shop on Instagram some time ago, and I took note.  The name of the pattern alone seemed a personal challenge for my toe-eater.

baby booties

People.  I love this pattern.  Baby R does gnaw on these, but she doesn’t fight against them.  Whether it’s the security of the KAM snaps or the feel of the soft fleece against her toes, she really likes these and she lets them be.  The inside snugs against baby feet with 1/8″ elastic that goes through a casing.  It allows for a custom fit which might be why they stay on.  Baby booties are generally one size and of materials that have no elastic-like recovery.

KAM snaps are the best!

This is my first time using KAM snaps, and I was pleasantly surprised.  First, it’s hard to not love the cute shapes like butterflies and stars and hearts.  The pliers are really easy to use too.  They’re SO much easier to use than the Snap Source setters that I’ve used for years.  The Snap Source setters require some brute force with a hammer, and there’s a good chance the snap won’t be aligned properly, leaving you to rip it out, damage your fabric, and repeat the Anvil Chorus.

baby booties

So I made a lot.  The 3-6 month size really only requires scraps.  My second son has a friend with a baby sister who is just a couple weeks younger than my daughter.  I made her a pair from this lilac floral print that I blockprinted with stripey hearts.

Beautiful Pie Shop has an adult size version of this pattern, and I’m totally nabbing it up for myself.  The boot style just looks so cozy and warm!

Random projects!

Sewing room upholstery

sewing room upholstery

Other than that, my husband and I did some quick upholstering of the sewing room chairs.  After spray paint and more of the fabric from the couch (plus contrast canvas backs), things are looking good in the sewing room.  The new foam that I added to the chairs also makes them way more comfortable and supportive too!

Car blankets

car blankets

These quick blankets have been sitting on my sewing room cart for a year and a half.  I originally meant them to be a Mom and son project when I was writing for UpCraftClub.  My oldest did sew 95% of his (the blue and green), but then we sewed down the corner of the pocket to the rest of the blanket and never got around to ripping out the mistake.  We made them from napkins.  There’s just one layer all sewn together with an added pocket with a velcro tab to hold a book or a stuffed animal.  car blankets

The one in browns has some blockprinting on it that I did with pink school erasers like I did with these leggings.

The seams don’t line up because the napkins were of various sizes.  I could have re-cut them to be the same size, but I didn’t bother.  Since I intended these as projects for the boys to sew themselves, I wanted it to be super easy.  Instead, the finished edges of the napkins are sewn together, pressed open and topstitched flat on the right side.

car blankets

They’re lightweight enough for summer blankets on car trips in the summer, but still hefty enough to be cozy.  The boys are also using them for fort building.

Opera nerd embroidery

I finished and framed this embroidery that I had mentioned ages ago, but I never got around to posting the results.  If you remember, I changed the color scheme of the original kit to match my own color palette and that of my sewing room better.  I’m not 100% sold on my color choices, but it’s WAY better than the 70s version.

sewing room embroidery


original kit colors

If you understand the opera reference that I added, you get major nerd points.  And if you get the opera reference without the aid of Google, well, we clearly have lots in common!

There’s Cora Leggings and a Watson bra in the works too, but those will get their own posts I reckon.

What are your favorite random projects?

Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.



embroider your kids' art

Kids’ art is awesome.  Bob Ross’ happy little trees had nothing on the silly people, wacky scenes, and candy colored skies that your kids create.  But if you’re like me, those enthusiastically crayoned pieces of joy get lost in a basket somewhere under a bed, never to be seen or displayed.

While there are great ways you can create places in your home to display your childrens’ artwork, here’s a fun, easy method for letting your kids wear their artwork.  Embroider your kids’ art on t-shirts!

You don’t need a fancy embroidery machine to embroider your kids’ art on t-shirts.  This project can easily be completed on a regular sewing machine without the need of  a hoop.