Tutorials

 

Pocket Monster Tee







Improve just about any shirt with an embroidered creature tucked into your pocket, to keep you company all the time! With adorable pocket topper embroidery designs. We'll show you how to make this an adorable reality for your favorite kiddos (and let's face it, some of us geekier adults too)! Learn how to tuck your creature into a pocket that's already on a shirt or jeans, or if you need that extra helping hand, we'll show you how to add a new pocket to hold your stitchy friend.




To make your pocket monster tee, you’ll need:

  • A shirt, with or without a pocket
  • Awesome pocket topper embroidery design
  • Extra fabric if you’re making a new pocket or recovering the old one
  • Applique fabric, if your design uses applique
  • Printed template of your design, to help with placement (here's how)
  • Printed applique dieline template, if you're using an applique design (here's how)
  • Sheer mesh cutaway stabilizer (great for lighter designs!) or medium weight cutaway stabilizer (a good choice for more detailed designs)
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors and pins
 



 

So, this can go down a couple of different ways. If you’re lucky enough these days to have found a plain T-shirt with nothing on it (including a pocket) you can skip this step for now.

If you found a tee that already has a pocket, I’ll show you how to either add embroidery without totally removing it, or how to reposition it and attach it back on later.

Let's say you like where you pocket is. Start by carefully seam ripping the top seams, going down about 2 inches or so.




Once you’ve removed the seams down a few inches, you can fold the pocket back and tape it like that. Then, you’ll be able to hoop the shirt up with stabilizer as normal and stitch the design just under where the pocket will overlap, as shown.

 



 

That way, once your design is done sewing, you just flip the pocket back up over the end of the design, and stitch those top seams back up again. Easy-peasy and you don’t have to mess around with reattaching the whole thing!




However, in many cases your pocket won’t be exactly where you need it to be. Mine, for instance, was up too high to add the embroidery as well. So if you’re like me, you get to use your seam ripper to completely remove the pocket from your tee. Yeah I know, some of us get all the fun.

If you picked up a tee with no pocket, you’ll pretty much start out here.

 



 

You can use your printed template as a quick guide to where your design might be. You want it near the top of your tee, but not so high up that the design gets onto the collar. No one wants tentacles crawling up their collar. Yikes.




We're demonstrating using these cute applique tentacles, but if you're using a pocket topper design that doesn't have applique, just skip the applique steps...

Once you’ve got a general idea of where the embroidery will go, you can use your printed dieline template to cut out your applique piece.

 



 

Ta da! All tentacle-y and awesome. Ish. It’s the early starts of a monster at least.




Now we need to get the tee prepped for embroidering! If you happen to be using a kids' tee like I am, you’ve already guessed there are going to be some acrobatics with hooping tiny things. To make the stabilizer stay put a little smoother, I like to turn the tee inside out, spray the back with temporary spray adhesive, and smooth the stabilizer in place. Then you can turn your tee right side out again and it will stay put.

 



 

With it hooped, check one more time where you want your emerging monster to be.




Once you’re sure, you may need to do some additional fanciness and even some schmanciness with you acrobatics in order to keep the back of your tee out from under the embroidery. There’s just no pretty way to do this with tiny tees.

Sorry, the truth hurts, people. At least when you look at your own mangled tiny tee you’ll know you’re doing it right.

 



 

Once everything is under the machine and ready to go, start your design!

For applique designs, the first thing that will stitch is a dieline. This marks where your fabric needs to go.




Spray the back of your applique fabric, and place it carefully inside those stitched lines. With little finicky fabric pieces like these, take extra care to make sure everything is going to stay put with a good spay of adhesive on the back. You don’t want those tentacles shifting mid-stitch. Tentacles have a way of doing that.

When you’re ready, your machine will sew a zigzag tackdown around your fabric.

 



 

After that, any inside elements will sew, followed by a final satin stitch border to stitch everything in place. Done!




Remove your design from the hoop, and carefully trim the excess stabilizer from the back.

 



 

Now it’s time for that pocket!

Once again, if you only flapped your pocket down, you just flip it back up and sew it back in place.

If you removed your pocket but want to reattach it, place it so the top covers the bottom part of the embroidery, and re-sew the seam around the three sides.




If you want a different looking pocket, OR need to create one for a shirt that didn’t have one in the first place, it’s easy!

All you need to do is start with a piece of fabric cut into a shape like so. Because I had a pocket already, I used it as a template. Really, you can make it any size and shape you want, as long as it’s large enough to hold your new monster friend.

 



 

Fold the top edge of your pocket over, and sew a seam along the top for a finished edge.




Then fold those three raw sides in, and pin it in place onto your shirt. Make sure you pin it so the bottom edge of your “tentacles” are hidden inside the pocket.

 



 

Sew a seam around the three sides of your pocket to finish it off.




That’s it! So simple, but now you have your grabby little pocket monster to keep you company wherever you wear you new favorite shirt. After all, everyone can always use an extra “hand”...

...eh?

I’m so funny.

 



 

You and your monster will look so stylin' together! Go for ocean colors for a deep-sea nautical look, or go spooky with the season and add some green tentacles to a Halloween-orange tee and you’ve got an instant costume. Monster wrangler!




A little embroidery always adds a cool touch, and monster embroidery no less so. Plus if you were working with a plain pocket-free tee, you’ve just added a useful pocket AND a monster. Score.

Of course, what really matters is the opinion of the little monster wrangler..

 



 

Approved!




Adorable embroidered creatures will travel perfectly in all sorts of pockets! Give a button-up shirt a creative spin with a whimsical stitchy friend...

 



 

...or let a creature peek out of a hoodie pouch! Jeans, bags, anything with a pocket and space for stitching is fair game!




Want a printer-friendly PDF of this page? You got it, bud.
Suggested designs for this tutorial: 
Tentacle Pocket Topper (Applique)_image
Tentacle Pocket Topper (Applique) $3.99 - $4.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 6.61"w x 5.87"h | 5.51"w x 4.92"h | 3.86"w x 3.43"h | Hand Embroidery
Intrepid Journey - From the Deep_image
Intrepid Journey - From the Deep $2.99 - $3.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 7.52"w x 5.87"h | 6.22"w x 4.84"h | 3.86"w x 2.99"h | Hand Embroidery
Shark Pocket Topper (Applique)_image
Shark Pocket Topper (Applique) $1.99 - $4.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 4.84"w x 5.79"h | 3.23"w x 3.86"h | 2.09"w x 2.52"h | Hand Embroidery
Pocket Pets (Design Pack)_image
Pocket Pets (Design Pack) $14.95 - $24.70
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 4.84"w x 6.85"h | 3.86"w x 3.86"h | 2.99"w x 2.99"h | Hand Embroidery