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Fabrics 101: Embroidering on Terrycloth Towels

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Give your bath decor a splashy update with embroidered terrycloth towels! Learn the best how-to information for stabilizing, hooping, and topping, so that your embroidered towels turn out beautifully.

Project Needs & Notes:

- Terrycloth bath or hand towel
- Medium-weight (2.5 ounce) cutaway stabilizer
- Water-soluble stabilizer for topping
- Temporary adhesive (like Gunold KK100)
- Air-erase marking pen

Designs Used

Terrycloth towels have a distinct fuzzy texture. Choose designs with solid fills, like the one shown on the left, when stitching on this type of fabric. Avoid designs with light or delicate stitches, as those will get lost in the terrycloth texture.

Wash and dry the towel before embroidering on it. Terrycloth is cotton, and it will shrink. It's best to get the shrinkage out of the way before embroidering.

A template is a printout of a design, and it's an excellent tool for planning where to stitch.

Print a template from embroidery software. If you do not have an embroidery software program, Wilcom's TrueSizer is a free program that can print templates.

Arrange the template on the towel, then mark the center point and the axis lines.

In this example, the bottom of
the design is four inches above the hem, centered between the sides

Cutaway stabilizer is the best choice for terrycloth towels. Spray a piece of cutaway stabilizer with temporary adhesive, then smooth the towel on top.

Use a topping of water-soluble stabilizer to keep the stitches from sinking into the fabric.

If the bottom hoop slips around while you're trying to hoop, try this handy tool: rubberized shelf liner.

It's found in the housewares or kitchen section of discount chains like Target.

Roll it out, and put the outer hoop on it when hooping. Rubberized shelf liner keeps things from slipping around.

Hoop all three layers together, lining the marks on the towel with the marks on the hoop.

Attach the hoop to the machine, and check to make sure that the excess towel is up and out of the way so the hoop can move freely.

Embroider the design. Use a size 11 or 75/11 sharp sewing needle or an embroidery needle for best results.

After embroidering, gently tear the water-soluble stabilizer away from the top. Any remaining pieces can be removed with a damp sponge or paper towel.

Trim the cutaway stabilizer away from the back. Leave about 1/2 inch around the design.

The result is beautiful! You may notice a ring where the hoop was -- that will come out in the wash.

If the terrycloth towel is too thick to hoop, then you can use a method called "floating."

Hoop the cutaway stabilizer, then spray it with temporary adhesive. Smooth the towel on top, then add water-soluble stabilizer. Use pins to affix firmly. When pinning, make sure to pin well out of the way of where the needle will be.

You may see some fuzzy stitches and misalignment with this method, as it isn't as precise as using a hoop. The design will generally turn out well anyway.

These embroidered terrycloth towels will freshen up your bath decor and add a beautiful look to your home.