Better Together Embroidery
Sophie is on a mission to get people talking about mental health. For her project, she decided to turn hats into conversation starters using hand embroidery. You won't just create a strong statement piece; you'll find your zen in the process too.
Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness.
With statistics clearly showing that severe depression and mental illnesses are on the rise, Sophie sees her work as a way of getting people to address the (anxious) elephant in the room.
“So many youths and adults alike are living with depression nowadays. It doesn’t make sense to me that people are made to feel embarrassed or hesitant to talk about their problems. If you had a sore knee you would have it looked at. If you had a severe headache, you would seek treatment. Mental health is not seen as being as important. And I won’t stand for that.”
Press Hall could not agree more.
As the designer and owner of See The Way I See, Sophie creates and sells apparel that opens up a conversation around mental health and helps break stigmas that surround it. She sells more than just clothing. She sells hope and acceptance. She is encouraging her followers to take a deep breath and to connect with people who are going through the same struggles, without judgment.
This project revolves around a hat and a backpack, both embroidered with the words “overthinker” and “breathe.” You can come up with your own message message. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
Work in progress
Curing through kindness
I am my own rhythm
See it. Allow it. Investigate it. Feel it.
Need even more inspo? We got you. Check out someone like Yung Pueblo.
Prioritize this project. Prioritize yourself. If you’re feeling down, open up and talk to someone. Know that you are not alone. That’s what Sophie Nistico is encouraging us to do.
For additional mental heal resources, visit our Mental Health Awareness Resources article.
Products We Used
- District - Thick Stitch Cap DT610 - Stone
As always, we encourage you to use the same products we’ve already tested and approved, but if you’d like to go your own way, we salute you! Just make sure the blank you are using is a similar fabric.
Additional blanks we recommend you use for this project are also listed at the bottom of the tutorial.
Embroidery stand (optional)
Embroidery floss (6-strand)
Heat erasable pens (or tailor’s chalk)
Step 1: Create your design
Consider the colors of embroidery floss you’ll want to use, the blank hat (or other item), and design placement. If you want your message to be seen, choose a thread color that will stand out and contrast with the hat color you’ve chosen.
We’ll start with the front design. Sophie uses the word “Overthinker” but, as mentioned above, you can choose your own design.
Step 2: Capture the design area with the embroidery hoop.
Unscrew your embroidery hoop and separate the hoops.
Next, place the inner hoop at the underside of the cap, and the outer hoop at the outside of the cap, effectively sandwiching the hat between the two embroidery hoops.
If you want to make your design area taught and flat, gently tug the fabric within the design area while keeping the hat hooped.
Tighten the screw to further secure the hat within the embroidery hoop.
Step 1: Draw your design
Use a heat erasable pen (or tailor’s chalk) to draw your message within the hooped design area.
Step 2: Prepare the embroidery stand
With the design area facing you, clamp the hoop into an embroidery stand. For something small like this, an embroidery stand is nice to have, but not required.
Step 3: Thread your embroidery needle
With the color of floss you prefer, cut a piece about the length of your arm.
Then thread one end through the eye of your needle and tie a knot on the other end.
Step 4: Create your first stitch
Starting at the beginning of your message, push your threaded needle through the underside of the cap, pulling until the thread is taut. Continue to follow your outline, pushing the needle back through to complete your stitch. This is detailed work – each stitch should be about the length of a grain of rice!
Continue embroidering your message using a split stitch.
Continue the split stitch to create the stitch line of your pattern until you’ve completed your design.
Step 5: Tie off any ends
When you run out of floss or are finished stitching your message, tie off the excess floss in a knot on the underside of the hat.
To tie off your thread, pull off the needle and set it aside. Then, split the strands of remaining embroidery floss in half. Holding three strands in one hand and three in the other, tie a square knot. Next, overlap the left strand over the right strand and the right strand over the left strand, then pull all the strands in opposite directions to tighten and secure the knot.
Trim away any excess embroidery floss.
Step 6: Wrap up your project
Remove the needle and secure the thread on the underside of the design with a knot.
Remove the embroidery hoop from the stand, and remove your hat from the hoop.
Using a hairdryer, apply heat to your finished design to remove any remaining marks from the heat erasable pen. If you used chalk, use water instead.
Taking It To The Next Level
Now it’s time for a bit of decorative stitching! We used a contrasting color for the decorative stitching.
Make a lazy daisy
- Start at the underside of the cap along the edge of a dotted “i” and pull the floss through to the outside of the hat until it is taut.
- Create the first petal by inserting the needle back into the hat a millimeter next to the exit point you just came through in step 1. DO NOT pull the floss all the way through — you want to leave a loop, which will be used to form a petal.
- Now your needle is back at the underside of the hat again, place the needle at the furthest point (tip) of your loop (petal) and push the needle through to the outside of the hat. When you pull the embroidery floss through the hat, be sure it comes through the inside of the loop created by the excess floss.
- Anchor your loop (petal) down by pushing the needle back through the hat outside the loop (petal).
Keep repeating this process until all the petals of your flower are completed.
Make a French knot in the center of the flower
- Starting at the underside of the hat at the flower’s center, push your needle through the hat until the thread is taut.
- Hold your needle point away from your work, wrap the floss around the needle twice. While holding the floss taut with one hand, use your other hand to push the needle back through the same hole at the center of the flower. Keep holding the floss taut to retain the knot! Continue pulling the floss through until it's taut, and a French knot has formed.
The French knot can take some time to figure out. If a knot doesn’t form on your first few tries, take a few deep breaths and try again. You’ve got this!
Embroidery is a bit of a secret weapon in a crafter’s arsenal. It’s a good arrow to have in the quiver. A nice trick to keep up your sleeve.
With it, you’ll be able to decorate hats, jackets, tops, pants, blazers, bags, blankets, joggers, towels, underwear, jerseys, robes, sweaters, cardigans, cushions, carpets, curtains, ties, belts, pillows and stuffed animals. Seriously, you’ll love embroidery so much you might catch yourself stitching “sock” into your sock.
All jokes aside, the next time you want a project - or the next time you feel like expressing your anxiety - try embroidery. Use Sophie’s patterns, or create your own. Enjoy it! Celebrate it. And take a deep breath.