DIY Doodle Embroidered Sweatshirt

Mastering the art of embroidery has pulled me out of some dark and anxious moments these past couple of weeks. One late evening last week, I picked up an old embroidery hoop, my trusty box of embroidery thread, one of my son Quincy's old sweatshirts and just started doodling using a stitch I know all too well . . . the stem stitch. I ended staying up until 2am that night to finish the sweatshirt but man, it pulled me out of a funk and brought a sense of calm and serenity. I needed that. I hope this project brings you as much joy as it did to me!


Attach the embroidery hoop to the sweatshirt. Be sure to only attach it to a single layer! Use a chalk pencil to mark your doodle.

Thread your embroidery needle with a strand of embroidery floss. Tie end end into a double or quilter's knot. Bring your needle up through the fabric at the start of the marked line.

Insert the needle back down, just one stitch length away. Pull the thread through but not all the way through just yet.

Keeping your thread below your needle, bring your needle back up between your two points. Pull the thread though, but don’t pull too tight.

Put your needle down through again, a stitch length away, but don’t pull your thread through all the way just yet.

Making sure to keep your thread below your needle, bring your needle up through the end of the previous stitch. Pull the stitch through. Notice that I've kept the thread below the needle each time. You can keep it above the needle but regardless, it must be kept below or above the entire time so that your stitch remains smooth and consistent.

Repeat the steps: insert a stitch length and pull up through the end of the previous stitch. Remember to keep the thread below the needle!

When you've reached the end, just insert the needle for your final stitch and tie it into a double knot on the backside.

Now for a French knot. Mark your knot placement with your chalk pencil. Thread your needle and tie a double knot at the end. Bring your needle up through the fabric. Pull the thread all the way through.

Wrap the thread around the fabric once for a small knot or twice for a larger knot. I like to keep my index finger behind the needle while doing this. It keep the needle stable while wrapping.

Keeping the wraps against your finger, insert the needle back into the fabric very close to the hole you came out of. Do not put it through the same hole - it will just undo the knot.

With the wraps at the base of the needle, hold the working thread taut as you pull the needle and thread through. Keeping the tension on the knot as you pull the needle through the fabric helps create a consistent knot each time.


As your working thread slowly goes completely through the fabric, you can let go of the tension on the working thread and let the thread go all the way through. And voila, there's your knot! Tie the backside into a double knot.

Keep doodling and most of all, have fun!!

images and tutorial by HonestlyWTF

Leave a Comment


  1. Cyndy Smith wrote:

    Once again you knocked it out of the park! I’ve taken your inspiration and I’ve been embroidering on little jackets for my friends’ children and grandchildren. I got the sulky sheets and I’ve been printing on them and it has worked great, thanks for the DIY.
    Stay safe and sane,

  2. Bi wrote:

    Great and not only for children

  3. Lyndsay wrote:

    Can this be done on a sweater as well – a la lingua Franca? If so, do you have any tips or tricks? Tysm!

    • Erica wrote:

      Yes, it can!! Just make sure the weave of the sweater is tight. But yes, it will indeed work just as well on a knit sweater!

  4. I’m just a newbie in embroidery, just can’t wait to try this cute idea!

  5. Kirsty wrote:

    This looks great! When you put the sweatshirt in the hoop, do you pull the fabric tight?

    • Erica wrote:

      No, I don’t pull the fabric tight, otherwise, it might pucker once it’s released from the hoop.

  6. Mi Capora wrote:

    Hi! What size/brand/type of needle did you use?

  7. DJ wrote:

    How do you recommend cleaning/washing the sweatshirt so the embroidery doesn’t get messed up?

  8. sweater123 wrote:

    Where did you get the sweater in these images, and what fabric would you recommend embroidering on?