Machine embroidery is a fun way to personalize clothing. Embroidery also can dress up a plain T-shirt and make it more classy or professional. There are no hard and fast rules and the embroiderer always has the freedom to position the design wherever it looks best, but there are some guidelines that offer a good starting point when embroidering shirts.
Embroidery on the Chest
Company logos are usually placed on the left side of the chest. The design should be centered between the middle of the shirt and the seam with the top of the design 7 to 9 inches down from the shoulder seam.
For a shirt with a pocket, the design should be centered on or above the pocket.
On children's shirts, center the design 3.5 to 4.5 inches down from the shoulder seam.
A name or other design may be added in the same position on the right side of the chest.
Shirt Fronts and Backs
When embroidering a design on the front or back of a shirt, you must consider the size and shape of the design. Generally the design should be centered between the side seams of the shirt.
For shirt fronts, the top of the design should be 4 to 6 inches from the bottom of the collar on adult shirts or 1 to 4 inches below the bottom of the collar on children's shirts.
For shirt backs, the top of the design should be approximately 5 inches below the bottom of the collar on adult shirts or 2 to 4 inches below the bottom of the collar on children's shirts. A small horizontal design or a line of text will need to be placed closer to the collar just above the center of the sleeves.
While embroidery on the chest and back of a shirt is common, embroiderers are not limited to these locations.
A lace or floral design around the collar can make a plain T-shirt much dressier and more feminine. Print a template of the design and start by placing it approximately 1.5 inches from the bottom of the collar. Adjust the placement as necessary so that the shape of the design compliments the shape of the collar.
A small design can be placed on the sleeves. Fold the shirt so that the main part of the sleeve lays flat. Position the design along the vertical center of the sleeve with the top of the design even with the horizontal center of the sleeve.
A small border or repeating design can be placed around the bottom of the shirt. Print a paper template of the design or designs. Lay the shirt flat with the front side facing up. Place the bottom of the designs one to two inches from the bottom edge of the shirt and arrange the designs as desired around the width of the shirt.
Barbara Thompson has a Bachelor's degree in Information Technology from Clayton State University and more than 10 years experience developing print and web-based training materials for various industries. For the last seven years, Barbara has worked in a public university system designing online college courses and developing training materials for faculty and students.