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This easy embroidery machine tutorial will teach you how to embroider a blanket. Specifically, I’ll be putting a name on a baby blanket and showing you how I did it! I love how this personalized baby blanket will dress up my daughter’s nursery.
While I’m planning to embroider a name on my daughter’s blanket, this same process applies to any type of embroidery on a blanket. Just make sure not to choose a design that’s too dense with stitches. Appliques, names, monograms, etc are much more successful than densely stitched designs on fleece or other fluffy blankets.
Now, let’s get started!
Equipment Needed for Embroidery on a Blanket
Go ahead and gather all the machine embroidery supplies you’ll need for this project first. Here they are:
- Computerized embroidery machine
- Nice, soft blanket of good quality
- Medium-weight cutaway stabilizer or medium-weight tearaway stabilizer (see below for how to choose which one for your project)
- Water-soluble stabilizer (lightweight for topping)
- Washable marking pen
- Embroidery thread and bobbin thread (I used white embroidery thread and pre-wound white bobbins)
- Needle (a 75/11 ballpoint needle for this project worked great)
- Pins (if not hooping) and scissors
How to Embroider a Baby Blanket
I am including a lot of pictures and options for how to customize this tutorial for your own blanket. If anything needs clarification, please let me know in the comments.
To start out, make sure your blanket to be embroidered is washed and dried. Preshrinking before embroidering saves you from potential heartache later! Then, mark the center of where you want the name or design to go. Use your fabric marking tool to make vertical and horizontal marks on the blanket in the center of your design. I have a blue water-soluble marker I use. If you want to be super accurate, extend the line vertically and horizontally much farther to make hooping easier later.
For this project, my 4″x4″ embroidery machine couldn’t fit all the letters I wanted to put on the blanket in one hoop, so I had to split things. Hence, why you may see several marks in some pictures on my blanket in this tutorial.
I also decided it would be easiest to embroider at a 90-degree angle to allow the extra blanket to hang to the side of the machine on my table. If you decide to embroider at a different angle, make sure to rotate your design. Here’s my design rotated 90 degrees so it will stitch vertically.
Picking a Stabilizer for Your Baby Blanket
If your blanket isn’t super stretchy, you can use tearaway stabilizer, thus letting your blanket provide the stability during stitching. I’ve chosen to use tearaway stabilizer for my project because I don’t want the stabilizer visible on the back of the blanket. My blanket isn’t all that stretchy either. I have pre-cut tearaway sheets.
If your blanket is a super stretchy or super thick fabric, you want to use cutaway stabilizer for the best end result. Cut-away stabilizers have less give and will thus prevent stretch and distortion of the blanket during the embroidery process. One downfall of cutaway stabliizer, though, is it will be visible on the back of your blanket. Buy either pre-cut sheets or a roll of stabilizer.
Hooping a Blanket for Embroidery
You’ll now have to decide if you’ll be able to hoop your blanket.
If your blanket is thick, you will likely be unable to hoop it along with the stabilizer and topping. If it’s thin, you should have no problems hooping. When I can, I hoop because this gives the project extra stability even though it sometimes leaves marks after.
Then, layer your stabilizer on the back of the fleece blanket. No need to necessarily use a temporary adhesive if you are hooping, but you can add some for wish for a more secure connection between the two layers. Other options if you want to adhere your stabilizer include choosing a sticky tearaway stabilizer or a fusible tearaway stabilizer. Overall, I find when I use adhesive, it’s more efficient and easier to hoop.
Add a layer of water-soluble stabilizer on the top of the blanket. The purpose of the water-soluble topping is to keep stitches from sinking down into the fuzz of the fabric, thus making them invisible. The topping will provide needed support to the stitches and will be washed off (or torn off) after the project is complete.
Hoop the three layers in your hoop making sure to center the fabric appropriately. If you aren’t sure how to hoop, check out my machine embroidery hooping tutorial.
If the layers don’t fit, hoop the stabilizer first, and then spray with temporary adhesive spray. Then, position the blanket and water-soluble topping outside of the hoop. Use pins to securely attach the topping and blanket to the hooped stabilizer. Test to make sure there won’t be much movement.
Next, attach the hoop to your machine and put the presser foot down. Your crosshairs mark should be in the center of the opening in the embroidery foot.
Adding a Name to the Baby Blanket or Choosing Another Design
Next, embroider your design!
While I used embroidery software to create a cursive name and then split the design, if your machine comes with built-in letters, you can use those as well. I wanted bigger letters than the max font size on my Brother SE625, so that’s why I went for a custom, imported design. If you have a Brother machine and need more help using built-in fonts, please let me know.
Now, once your design is stitched, remove your blanket from the hoop. If you have marks from your hoop, put a little water on it to get them out.
Cleaning Up the Design
Next, if using cutaway, cut the stabilizer off the back leaving a small margin around the design. Or, tear it away if you used tearaway like me. Don’t be too rough with it as hard tugging may disrupt some of the stitches.
Trim any jump stitches if needed. (My machine, a budget embroidery machine, doesn’t trim them automatically. Sigh.)
Then, tear the water-soluble topping off the top of your blanket. Any topping that doesn’t tear off will be washed away with water. I also dipped my blanket in water to remove the marker stains from the front.
Cute Embroidered Blanket: All Done!
I hope this blanket embroidery tutorial helps you get started customizing your own blanket! I love making personalized baby blankets for baby shower gifts, and I’ve added names or other designs to all the blankets my daughters have been gifted with. Happy embroidering!