Blue babygrow with embroidered rainbow and Brother M330e embroidery machine

Embroidered babygrow

Embroidering on small items, like baby clothes, can seem tricky on a Brother flatbed embroidery machine.

However, Tracey Dennis walks you through the steps for traditional hooping and using the floating method and shows you how simple it actually is.

Materials needed

Equipment needed

  • Brother embroidery machine: we used the Brother M330E
  • 4 x 4” (10 x 10cm) embroidery frame and grid sheet
  • New size 80 ballpoint machine needle
  • Marker pen with temporary or water-soluble ink
  • Iron and ironing board/mat
  • Pins
  • Sewing clips
  • Scissors and snips
  • Tweezers
  • Clean cloth (to wipe project down)

How to – traditional hooping method

Step 1

Press the babygrow so it is nice and flat. Fold it in half vertically and lightly press the centre front to mark a central guideline.

Blue babygrow folded in half with iron

Step 2

Lay the grid sheet on top of the babygrow, matching the centre line of the grid sheet with the pressed line.

Move into the required position for your embroidery. With a water-soluble marker, mark the dots through all the small holes in the grid sheet. Remove the grid sheet.
Blue babygrow with Brother embroidery grid sheet

Step 3

Turn the babygrow inside out. Cut a square of fusible stabiliser and iron over the area to be embroidered.

Cut a piece of tearaway stabilizer, larger than the hoop size so it can be secured into the hoop. Lay this behind the area to be embroidered and pin at the top corners to temporarily hold it in place. 
Blue babygrow with stabiliser pinned to it

Step 4

Turn the babygrow right side facing out. Release the screw on the hoop slightly and separate the outer and inner hoop.

Lay the inner embroidery frame on top of the babygrow, then place the hoop marking grid in the little grooves on the hoop, lining it up with your markings.

Place the outer hoop into position, sliding it in between the layers of the babygrow and with the frame attachment facing the bottom opening of the babygrow.

Blue babygrow with Brother embroidery hoop between the layers

Step 5

Once you have this into position, press the two rings of the hoop together, loosening the screw on the hoop if required.

Tighten the screw to secure and remove the grid. Remove the pins holding the tearaway as this will now be held into position by the frame.

Blue babygrow hooped into Brother machine embroidery hoop

Step 6

With the frame still in place, grab the back layer of the babygrow at the bottom opening and carefully pull it up towards the top and away from the frame attachment, so none of the back is behind the hooped area.

Roll up the fabric from the back of the babygrow around the frame starting from the bottom edge and working around secure the rolled-up fabric with small clips to prevent it from slipping under the frame and getting caught in the stitching.
Blue babygrow rolled and clipped around a Brother embroidery hoop

Step 7

Cut a layer of water-soluble stabiliser slightly bigger than the size of the hoop and float this on the top of the embroidery area. This will eliminate puckering and give a better finish to your embroidery.
Hooped babygrow with white layer of water-soluble stabiliser on top

Step 8

Take the hooped babygrow to your machine and carefully clip it into the embroidery carriage. To do this, insert the embroidery hoop from the lowest point of the framed babygrow, using the manual presser foot lever to lift the foot as high as possible while carefully guiding the frame into place.

You are now ready to choose your embroidery design. Once selected, use the rotate button to rotate your design by 90 degrees clockwise so that it lies in the correct direction. Press start!
Screen of Brother M330e embroidery machine with finger selecting design

Step 9

Once the embroidery is complete, remove the embroidery frame from the machine. Carefully snip any jump stitches and loose ends of embroidery thread.

Remove the water-soluble layer from the front of the babygrow. Pick any smaller bits out with tweezers. To get rid of any remaining stabiliser, spray with water and wipe with a clean cloth.

Step 10

Turn the babygrow inside out and peel off the tearaway, leaving the fusible stabiliser in place. Iron an additional piece of fusible interfacing over the back of the embroidery area to cover any threads and sharp edges of tearaway that can scratch a baby’s delicate skin.

Give your project a final press and you are done!

How to - floating method

What does it mean to float a design?

Instead of hooping the item to be embroidered directly into the embroidery hoop, a piece of stabiliser is hooped. The item to be embroidered is then adhered to the stabiliser with pins, basting spray or tacking – or a combination of these.

This is a useful method to avoid hoop burn (the lines which can be left by hooping, mostly on stretchy or thick fabrics, or fabrics with a pile, like velvet), or when embroidering smaller items.

Step 1

Prepare the babygrow by pressing a central line and adhering the fusible stabiliser as in Steps 1 and 3 of the traditional method described above.

Step 2

Hoop some tearaway stabiliser into the embroidery hoop and tighten the screw so the stabiliser is held drum tight. Mark the central lines onto the tearaway. Spray with basting spray.
White tearaway stabiliser in Brother embroidery hoop with centre marked

Step 3 

Fold the babygrow in half lengthways with sleeves matching. Place the centre front fold line against the vertical marked line and your required distance down from the neck opening.
Blue babygrow folded in half on top of Brother embroidery hoop

Step 4

Unfold the babygrow and press down firmly with your hand to hold onto the now sticky tearaway.
Hand pressing down on blue babygrow

Step 5

Carefully flip over the embroidery hoop, so that the tearaway stabiliser is facing upwards. Pin just the front layer of the babygrow to the tearaway at the four corners of the embroidery hoop to ensure it remains securely fastened. Make sure the pins do not go through the back layer of the babygrow.
Blue babygrow adhered to Brother embroidery hoop with stabiliser

Step 6

Clip the back of the babygrow out of the way of the stitching – see Step 6 of the traditional method. Remove the pins you inserted at the back.
Blue babygrow rolled around Brother embroidery hoop secured with clips

Follow the instructions from Step 7 of the traditional method to complete your project.


When the embroidery is running, keep an eye on the clipped parts of the babygrow. Make sure they do not slip under the hoop, or towards the needle as they could get caught into the embroidery. Be ready to stop your machine at any time if that happens!

If the fabric slips towards the embroidery area, stop the machine. Pin or clip the fabric out of the way and then restart the embroidery.

Do not try to reposition the rolled-up fabric while the machine is running. Simply press stop, reposition, and then restart your machine and it will carry on from its last stitch. Brother embroidery machines will pick up again from the place you stopped the embroidery.


We can’t wait to see what you make! Remember to tag in Brother on Instagram and Facebook so we can share your makes and inspire others.

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