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Embroidered Shirt with Cursive Letters

September signals back-to-school and with it, that crucial first-day outfit. A button-front shirt embroidered with a "handwritten" message is especially fitting for kids with budding penmanship skills.

Photography: Aaron Dyer

Source: Martha Stewart Living, September 2014


Before you begin, learn how to embroider using a needle and thread. No matter how complicated-looking the result of your penmanship, this needlework technique is remarkably easy. Once you've mastered the backstitch (one of the easiest embroidery stitches), choose from our printable fonts—letters A through Z—and personalize a plain shirt with an ice-breaking salutation, like "hi," or with your child's first initial (extra credit for both upper and lower case). A dotted line in fuchsia makes the letters pop.


For more ideas, scroll through the entire collection of embroidery projects and back-to-school crafts.


  • Embroidery transfer paper (Pictured: Transfer-paper sampler, by Saral, $8,

  • Button-front shirt (Pictured: Short-sleeve Peter Pan button-front shirt, by French Toast, in White, $10,

  • Embroidery hoop, 4 inches (Pictured: Plastic hoop, by Loop and Threads, 4", $3,

  • Embroidery floss in light pink, light blue, and "pen" color of choice (Pictured: Embroidery floss, by DMC, 37 cents for 8.7 yd.,

  • Embroidery needle

  • Tear-away embroidery backing (optional)


  1. Print desired template. Using a pencil and transfer paper, transfer it onto front of shirt.

  2. Cut a 3-inch square piece of backing and place it inside shirt, behind tracing. Attach hoop to shirt.

  3. Thread 2 strands of pink embroidery floss onto needle. Sew a running stitch across middle line. With 4 strands of blue floss, backstitch thicker top and bottom lines.

  4. Using 4 strands of "pen"-color floss, backstitch to embroider letters.

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