DIY Embroidered Doilies Tutorial – Fun Project Idea!

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As I’ve mentioned before, I get joy from embroidering on the oddest things I can find around my house. Luckily, my machine takes it all in stride and never complains. 

While I was searching for some great Dollar Tree embroidery blanks, I came across paper doilies and started wondering if I could make embroidered doilies. I’ve embroidered on cardstock and other paper products successfully, so why not test my machine with doilies?

Turns out, making embroidered doilies went just swimmingly. Here’s how to machine embroider on paper doilies!

Embroidered doilies

Embroidered Doilies Supplies

Here’s what I used successfully. I’ll explain a little more below about some of the choices. 

What stabilizer for doilies?

Tear-away stabilizer does not provide enough support for paper, so you will need a layer of cut-away or no-show mesh. I prefer my cut-away because it is a little thicker and more sturdy. 

Using either a sticky cut-away or temporary fabric adhesive is also necessary for the best results. 

What needle to use for doily embroidery?

A universal 75/11 embroidery needle did okay, but it left more fuzzing of the paper around the stitches. When I switched to a sharp needle, I had more precise needle points. I had an 80/12 Microtex sharp needle laying around, which worked great. 

Design Possibilities

running stitch heart on doily

Redwork designs and other designs with simple running stitches are easy-peasy to embroider on doilies. My running stitch heart was flawless and so beautiful! 

monogrammed doily

If you use a dense design, you’re more likely to have tearing around the stitches and poorer results. I reduced the number of stitches in all the designs I tried. In my satin stitch monogram above, I did have slight edge fuzzing and pulling. But, since the cut-away stabilizer stays permanently, it wasn’t obvious! 

Appliqueing a doily worked also, but you need to pre-cut the fabric to size before applying. Cutting the applique after the tack-down stitch was difficult without crinkling the doily. 

Hoop Size

My 4″x4″ hoop provided more stabilization for the doily and stabilizer, so I had the best results with this. If you have difficulty pressing the doily onto the stabilizer without bending the edges, though, switch to a larger hoop. 

How to Embroider a Doily – Tutorial & Tips

Marking for Placement

use a placement sticker to mark the doily

I didn’t want to use a marker or pencil on my doily. Thus, I decided to use an embroidery target sticker to mark the center. I’ve been making my own lately and use them occasionally when marking. 

Floating the Doily

It’s not possible to hoop a doily, so you will have to lay it outside the hoop.

hoop cut-away stabilizer

First, hoop a layer of cut-away stabilizer. Press the excess stabilizer down around the sides of the hoop. This will keep them from pushing the doily edges up and wrinkling the paper. 

When choosing stabilizer size, make sure it’s bigger than the center solid portion of the doily. When it comes time to trim the stabilizer, it’s best if you leave it covering the entire solid center portion if using a white doily. If you trim it smaller, you can see the stabilizer outline through the front. 

Next, spray the stabilizer with a light layer of Odif 505 or another spray adhesive. 

gently press the doily down

Press the doily gently onto the stabilizer, aligning the center of the placement sticker with the center of the hoop. Be careful not to bend the doily! (I did successfully press the crinkles out of one that I bent during the hooping process, though.)

Time to Get Embroidering

centering designs on your embroidery machine

Place your hoop in the machine, and line up the needle with the center of the placement sticker. (Make sure to then remove this so you don’t stitch over it!)

slow your machine speed down

Slow your machine’s speed down for the best results. I was able to get down to 350spm on my Brother SE1900. 

start embroidering the doily

Start stitching! If your thread isn’t catching well at first, try pulling the bobbin thread to the top of the doily before starting to embroider. (Manually put the needle down, up, and then pull the bobbin thread on top.)

Finishing Touches

remove the embroidered doily

Gently remove the hoop from the stabilizer, and pull the hoop off in the direction of the stabilizer to free the doily. Putting it over the doily will wrinkle it. 

Cut any jump stitches very gently using sharp scissors. (I like my double-curved embroidery scissors.) Be careful not to bend the paper. 

Then, trim the perimeter of the stabilizer to the perimeter of the solid inner portion of the doily. Smooth any wrinkles with your hands or press with an iron, if needed. Use the lowest setting, a press cloth, and press from the back with no steam. 

Embroidered Doilies: Done!

How cute are these, really? I’m thinking of putting the monogrammed doilies on our table Easter morning for our little family. 

Happy embroidering!

how to embroider a paper doily

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