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.

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 stretchy and your design is not dense, you can use tear-away stabilizer, thus letting your blanket provide the stability during stitching.  I’ve used tear-away stabilizer for this project because my blanket is not stretchy, my design has a low enough stitch count, and I don’t want stabilizer left on the back of the blanket after I’m done. 

If your blanket is stretchy and unstable or you have a dense, high stitch count design, you need to use a cut-away or no-show mesh stabilizer.  Cut-away stabilizers have less give and prevent stretch and distortion of the blanket during and after 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 experimentation, you can try wash-away stabilizer (the papery type) to see if it will hold up well enough during stitching and after the first laundering.

On top of the blanket, use a layer of water-soluble topping like Sulky Solvy to keep stitches from sinking down into the fuzz of the fabric, thus making them invisible. The topping is washed off (or torn off) after the project is complete.

Read more: how to choose an embroidery stabilizer.

Design Selection

Not all designs work well on a thick, fluffy blanket. Designs composed of running stitches get lost in the fluff, and very dense designs can cause puckering of and affect the natural drape. Appliques, monograms, names, and fill-stitch designs with a low to medium stitch count are usually perfect!

To note, if you do have a very fluffy blanket, another way to make sure designs don’t get lost is to use a knockdown stitch. This tacks down the fluff so you can embroider on top of it. Below is an example of one on a robe. 

knockdown stitch for blankets or towels

How to Embroider a Blanket – Tutorial

1. Prepping the Blanket

First, prewash your blanket.  Preshrinking before embroidering saves 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 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.

2. 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 hoop because this gives projects extra stability. Hooping decreases puckering for me as well as accidental slipping. If your blanket is thick, however, you may need to float it.

Hooping a Blanket

how to line up blanket in hoop

To hoop, 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 this machine embroidery hooping tutorial.

You can also use temporary fabric adhesive (ex: Odif 505 or quilt basting spray) for a more secure connection between layers, making the blanket easier to hoop. Other options to help secure the blanket to stabilizer include choosing a sticky tearaway stabilizer or a fusible tearaway stabilizer.  Whatever method you choose, make sure to test first that it won’t affect any delicate blanket fibers. 

Floating the Blanket Instead

For thick blankets, hoop the stabilizer first and then spray with temporary adhesive spray.  Position the blanket and water-soluble topping outside of the hoop. Then, use pins to more securely attach the topping and blanket to the hooped stabilizer.  You can also consider a basting box or self-adhesive stabilizer if you’re not a fan of adhesive spray. Read some tips on how to float fabric for extra information. 

3. 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 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 lower the presser foot. 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! 

4. Finishing Up

Once your blanket is embroidered, remove it from the hoop.  If you have hoop marks, a little water or Magic spray sizing will remove them. 

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 that you didn’t trim while embroidering. 

Then, tear the water-soluble topping off the top of your blanket.  Any topping that doesn’t tear off can 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: Done!

I hope this blanket embroidery tutorial helps you get started customizing your own blanket!  I love making embroidered baby blankets for baby shower gifts, and I’ve added names or other designs to all the blankets my daughters have been gifted with.

how to machine embroider a blanket

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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