Applique Repeat Sweater

Some designs are just meant to be used in awesome ways. This argyle sweater repeat design is perfect for adding that punky fresh look to sweaters and tees. We'll show you how to line it up and stitch it out on a sweater for perfect results!

To get started on you new sweater, gather these supplies:

  • Your favorite applique embroidery design (We used the 4" x 4" version of the Argyle Skull)
  • A sweater (new or used)
  • Fabric for your applique pieces
  • Sheer mesh cutaway stabilizer, such as Sulky Soft 'n Sheer or Floriani No Show Mesh
  • Temporary spray adhesive
  • Printed templates of your design(s) for placement
  • Thread for your embroidery
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Air erase marker or tailor's chalk

NOTE: Tailor's chalk is best for marking dark colored fabric, as it tends to last longer and show up better. However, this wax-based tool may leave residue if used on some synthetic fabric. It is best to test a small corner of the fabric before committing to chalk.



First things first: lay the sweater flat on your work surface and use your tailor's chalk to mark 1.5" down from each armpit of your sweater. Use a ruler to connect a straight line between these two marks.

Next, draw a horizontal line 2" above the bottom line, and a second horizontal line, 4" above the bottom line (leaving you with three lines, with 2" in between each line.)

Finally, find the middle of your sweatshirt, and draw a vertical line directly up the center. This is roughly what your sweater should look like when done.

Now for placement. Using printed templates of your design will make it easy to map out exactly where each embroidered piece will go. (Here's more on how to print templates.)

Place the design template along the center horizontal line.

Using chalk, mark the center and the vertical axis points of the design onto the sweater. Use a ruler to draw a straight line connecting and extending the two vertical marks. You will need these to line up exactly with the crosshairs on your embroidery hoop.



Time to hoop and sew!

A sheer mesh cutaway is your best option for lighter-stitching apparel designs. It is more flexible and be softer against the skin than regular cutaway or tearaway stabilizer.

For this, we're just going to cut one piece of stabilizer at a time for each design, with each piece of stabilizer larger than your hoop.

Spray your stabilizer generously with temporary spray adhesive, and smooth it onto the back of the sweater in the area to be embroidered.

When you go to smooth out your sweater on top, make sure not to stretch the sweater fabric at all, or it will cause your design to bunch up.



You may be wondering how you hoop up a sweater like this, to keep everything out of the way. In this case, we have a weird tip for you: hair claws!

When hooping up your design, you'll find you have a lot of excess fabric you have to pull up and out of the way. Hair claws are a great way to gather that fabric and make sure it doesn't sneak back under your machine.

Use the dieline template (In this case UTZ2222_dl) to cut out the applique pieces from your fabric of choice.

If your applique fabric is somewhat flimsy, you can back it with some cutaway stabilizer first, but if it is a thick cotton, it's probably not needed. (We want to avoid adding any unnecessary bulk or weight to these designs when possible.)



Hoop the sweater and stabilizer taut together, but make sure not to stretch or distort the sweater.

Once the hoop is set, position the center point of the needle directly above the marked center point of your design.

The first step of this design will be the "dieline" for your applique.



Take your hoop off your machine (but don't unhoop it!), spray the back of your applique with temporary spray adhesive, and place it carefully inside the stitched lines.

Once you place your design under the machine again, it will sew a tackdown stitch, to secure the applique fabric in place.



Finally, the rest of the embroidery details will stitch, including a satin border to finish off your applique.

After each design, it's probably a good idea to trim away as much stabilizer as possible, so it doesn't get in the way of hooping for the rest.



To create the argyle pattern, you now just repeat these step as many times as needed!

Be sure to re-check the template alignment after every stitch out.



How many times you sew out your design may also depend on how large your sweater and your design are. For this size small sweater, four was plenty, but you'll be able to figure that out in your initial layout!

After the embroidery is finished, trim the loose threads and remove the excess stabilizer. It's best to leave a 0.25" border of stabilizer around the design.

You may also now carefully iron your sweater to remove your markings.



Now take a look at your awesome work and celebrate with attitude!

Your plain sweater has gotten a simple but punky update. Remember, this fun punk argyle design can be used on more than just clothes! Add a fun pattern to bags, purses, vests and pillows... once you know how to line them up and stitch them out, the possibilities are endless.


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Suggested designs for this tutorial: 
Argyle Skull (Applique)_image
Argyle Skull (Applique) $2.99
2 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 4.88"w x 5.31"h | 3.54"w x 3.86"h | Hand Embroidery