How to Embroider A Blanket with an Embroidery Machine: Tutorial

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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 adding any type of embroidery design to a blanket. I’ll walk you through choosing stabilizers as well as how to set up and embroider on your blanket so you’ll learn a bit more about the process.

Let’s get started!

how to embroider a name on a blanket

Supplies Needed for Embroidery on a Blanket

supplies for blanket embroidery

Go ahead and gather all the machine embroidery supplies you’ll need for this project first! Here’s what I used:

  • Embroidery machine, hoop, and design (I used my Brother SE625.)
  • Nice, soft blanket of good quality
  • Medium-weight cutaway stabilizer or medium-weight tearaway stabilizer (see below for how to choose the best for your project)
  • Water-soluble topping (lightweight film-like topping, not the paper type)
  • Washable marking pen or another marking tool
  • Embroidery thread and bobbin thread (I used white polyester embroidery thread and pre-wound white bobbins)
  • Needle (75/11 embroidery machine needle worked great for me!)
  • Pins or other stabilizing items (if not hooping) and scissors
  • Temporary fabric adhesive (optional)

What is the best stabilizer for a blanket?

If your blanket isn’t super stretchy, you can use tear-away stabilizer, thus letting your blanket provide the stability during stitching.  I’ve chosen to use tear-away stabilizer for this project because I don’t want the stabilizer visible on the back of the blanket.  My blanket isn’t all that stretchy either.  I prefer pre-cut tearaway sheets for convenience! Tearaway stabilizer also works best with designs that do not have a high density.

If your blanket is super stretchy and unstable or you have a very dense design, you need to use a cut-away or no-show mesh stabilizer.  Cut-away stabilizers have less give and will thus prevent stretch and distortion of the blanket during the embroidery process. One downfall of cut-away stabilizer, though, is it will be visible on the back of your blanket.  If you’re up for some experimentation, you can try a layer of wash-away stabilizer (the papery type, not the film) to see if that will hold up well enough also. The good thing about the wash-away stabilizer is it will, well, wash away from the back of the blanket after embroidering! It also provides slightly more stability than tear-away stabilizers do.

On top of the blanket, you will want to make sure to use a layer of water-soluble topping like Sulky Solvy. 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.

Read more: how to choose an embroidery stabilizer.

What designs work on a fluffy blanket?

Not all designs will work well on a thick, fluffy blanket. Redwork designs composed of running stitches will get lost in the fluff, and very dense designs may cause puckering of a thin fleece blanket after the embroidery is complete. Appliques, monograms, names, and bold designs, for example, are usually perfect!

To note, if you do have a very fluffy blanket, another way to make sure designs don’t get lost in the nap is to use a knockdown stitch. This will essentially tack down the fluff so you can embroider on top of it. This is also very helpful to use when embroidering on towels! Below is an example of a knockdown stitch I used on a robe to hold the fluff down. If you’re intrigued by this idea, check out what is knockdown stitch and how to design one!

knockdown stitch for blankets or towels

How to Embroider a Baby Blanket – Tutorial

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! Also, if you’re a complete beginner to embroidery, check out my machine embroidery for beginners tutorial if you need extra help.

Prepping the Blanket

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 for light-colored fabrics, and I use a chalk wheel for darker fabrics. To be most accurate, extend the lines vertically and horizontally much farther than I did in this picture to make hooping easier later.

marking blanket with washable marker

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.

Hooping vs Floating a Blanket for Embroidery

You’ll now have to decide if you’ll be able to hoop your blanket or if you’ll need to float.

If your blanket is thin enough, you should have no problems hooping.  When I can, I like to hoop because this gives the project extra stability. Hooping tends to decrease puckering for me as well as accidental slipping. If your blanket is thick, however, you may need to float the blanket.

Hooping the Blanket

If you’re going to be hooping, place a layer of stabilizer on the back of the fleece blanket and a layer of water-soluble on top of the blanket. Hoop these layers, making sure to line up the center of the marked blanket with the center of the hoop. If you can’t get the water-soluble stabilizer hooped with the blanket and tear-away or cut-away, you can always float it on top later. If you aren’t sure how to hoop, check out my machine embroidery hooping tutorial.

how to line up blanket in hoop

If you’d like, you can use temporary fabric adhesive (ex: Odif 505 or quilt basting spray) for a more secure connection between the two layers. When I use adhesive, it’s more efficient and easier to hoop, but I always check in a small spot first to make sure it’s not going to damage the soft blanket! Other options if you want to adhere your stabilizer include choosing a sticky tearaway stabilizer or a fusible tearaway stabilizer.  Just make sure to test first before adhering!  Blanket fuzz is very delicate!

Floating the Blanket Instead

For floating fabric, hoop the stabilizer first, and then spray with temporary adhesive spray.  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 before starting to stitch. You can also consider a basting box or other methods of attachment if you’re not a fan of adhesive spray. Read some tips on how to float fabric if you need help!

Setting Up the Machine

Now, load your design onto your machine. 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, too, if you’re adding a name to a baby blanket. I wanted bigger letters than the max font size on my Brother SE625, so that’s why I went for a custom, imported design.

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 to match before starting to stitch. Here’s my design set up and rotated 90 degrees so it will stitch vertically.

rotate pattern

Now, attach the hoop to your machine and put the presser foot down. Check that you have the correct needle as well as thread colors and types for the top and bottom threads. Line up the center of the presser foot with the center of the marked design by using your machine’s touchscreen.

starting to embroider

Next, embroider your design! Watch it for the first little while to make sure everything is going well before you step away.

Cleaning Up the Design

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. Magic spray sizing also helps in my experience.

If using cutaway, cut the stabilizer off the back leaving a small margin around the design. Or, tear away the stabilizer 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 blue marks from the front.

peel away water soluble topping from blanket

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!

how to machine embroider a blanket

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One Comment

  1. Hi Aly – thanks for posting this – very clear and helpful! I’m new to embroidery, but a fuzzy blanket is at the top of my list of goodies to embellish. As I’m discovering, the wonder of computerized designs has made it so easy to embroider things…but there are always tricks of the trade to ensure a *perfect* final product. Hang on to your stuff, everyone! The next time you pick it up, it’ll have your initials stitched on it! 🙂 I look forward to exploring the rest of your blog! 🙂

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