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Can Embroidery Be Removed And Redone?

Embroidery is an embellished art form of sewing, which can be done either by hand or by sewing machine. While doing embroidery, mistakes can happen. but there is nothing to worry about, as you can remove the old embroidery and redo your stitches again.

Even professional embroiders make blunders, and they also go through the process of undoing and restarting their embroidery again. However, if you have to remove embroidery, the removal processes for hand embroidery and machine embroidery are different. Additionally, you might not like the appearance of your embroidery and you want to change it or you have the wrong design and color for your embroidery and you want to correct it, for all these reasons, you can redo your embroidery by removing your old work. in this article, we have discussed several techniques for the removal of embroidery, some tips and reasons for removing your embroidery, and also ways to avoid mistakes and redoing it over the same fabric.

Key Takeaways

  • Discussion about whether it is possible to remove embroidery stitches and redo it or not.
  • Embroidery removal techniques for hand embroidery, machine embroidery, and other resources.
  • Different methods of fixing embroidery mistakes while removing it and techniques to redo it.

Can Embroidery Be Removed and Redone?

Embroidery is an intricate craft that is done by top-stitching. Embroidery can be done on your clothing, covers, bed sheets, and other areas. Removing your old stitches is not difficult and in this way, you get your fabric back into circulation to add a new design to it. Moreover, if your embroidery is fading and has discoloration, then remove your embroidery to redo it. While removing it, be careful about your fabric. there are certain ways to remove your old embroidery which are given below.

Tools and Materials

Tools and materials

You need particular tools and materials for this project which are given below:

  • Seam ripper
  • Lint roller
  • Fabric/Stitch eraser
  • Tweezers
  • Duct tape
  • Magnifier

When you have the tools and materials you need, you can start the process of removing the embroidery. To start with, examine if you are using handmade and machine-made embroidery. Make sure your cloth is not damaged and all the stains are removed. We will discuss different techniques for removing embroidery.

Removal Techniques for Hand Embroidery

Removal techniques for hand embroidery

The following are the techniques to remove the hand embroidery.

  • Turn your clothes to the inside out, so that, stitches can be removed.
  • Take the embroidery in your hand to hold the garment close to you, so that, you can see the stitches you are going to cut.
  • Use the magnifier to see the stitches, take the seam ripper and insert the head below the stitches.
  • Cut five to six stitches at a time. Use tweezers to clean the severed threads.
  • If the thread is not completely severed, use a magnifier to see which thread needs more thinning, do not rip your garment.
  • Use the magnifier to inspect your cutting and do this process repeatedly unless all of the embroideries are removed.
  • Take your lint brush, and remove all the stray threads after you are done cutting your threads from embroidery.

Removal Technique for Machine Embroidery

Removal technique for machine embroidery

For this technique, you will need the same tools and materials.

  • Turn your clothes to the inside out, use your sedentary hand where the embroidery is. Use your magnifier to see where your stitches should be severed.
  • Before you start removing your stitches, check for your bobbin thread and stabilizer.
  • While doing embroidery with the machine, we will notice a white thread which is bobbin thread, and the cloth with white padding is called a stabilizer. Do not damage the stabilizer, if you wish to redo the embroidery.
  • Locate the bobbin thread to insert the seam ripper’s thread, then cut 30 – 40 stitches at a time.
  • While removing the stitches, you may see the fabric, remove the embroidery threads without removing the stabilizer.
  • Repeat this step unless all of the threads are removed.
  • Take the right part of the garment and use tweezers to pick up the severed strands.
  • If you are having difficulty in pulling a thread, that means, it is not severed, in this situation, use a seam ripper.
  • After removing the threads, use a lint roller to clean the mess. You can use an embroidery eraser if you want to erase the patterns.

Holes in The Embroidery

Holes in the embroidery

After removing the embroidery, there will be holes, depending on how old your embroidery work is. The holes are generally caused by irregular knitting of the embroidery. However, it is possible to patch up the gaps.

Below we have given a few steps to accomplish this goal:

  • Put your clothing on a level surface.
  • Check the small holes by brushing them using the tip of your thumb’s fingernail.
  • Rub in the opposite direction of the weave, if anything has been dislodged, it would realign.
  • Get rid of all the holes everywhere. Iron the fabric so that the holes are not visible.
  • For brushing, you can also use a spoon’s head or other firm surface.
  • Rubbing the holes in the other direction will make your holes undetectable and then iron your cloth.

Removal of Embroidery with Scissors

Removal of embroidery with scissors

For the removal of the embroidery, use a pair of scissors with a pointed tip. You can work with it in the same way, as you would with a seam ripper. However, while you are doing it, do it carefully. Don’t put force while using your scissors, as scissors have larger pointed tips than seam rippers, they might rip the fabric abruptly.

Removal of Embroidered Letters

To begin with the removal, first, find out if your thread is of vinyl or cotton, or silk. With the same procedure described above, it is also possible to remove the embroidered letters from the clothes. It is possible to eliminate lettering which is stitched by both hands or machines. Use a seam ripper or large scissors for this matter.

Follow the same steps for patched-on letters. Unpick the stitches, to remove the patch from your shirt. However, for letters that are made of vinyl or rubber, techniques will be different.

The steps are given below for removing them:

  • First iron your shirt so that all the letters should be seen. If you have two large towels, use one towel at the bottom section of your text to smooth out your shirt.
  • Wet your towel and dry it. After your towel is completely dry, place water on top of the letters. Plug in the iron. Then, squeeze the damp cloth for 5- 10 minutes. Use a knife to scrape the lettering. Be careful not to rip your shirt.

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Some Tips While Removing Embroidery Stitches

You can follow these 4 steps if you do not want any unwanted stitching.

Tools and materials you will need

  • Embroidery floss cutters
  • If you are using sharp tools on your fabric, be very careful, because if you pull the threads while you use sharp tools, it may leave holes. As you are working, you already may have some holes and if you pull it harder, it will only make the hole bigger.
  • Whenever using your tools, use them from behind to not damage the front part of your garment.
  • When you are using your tools, use less pressure. If you are exerting too much force on it, then there will be puckering and tearing at worst.
  • If you have a stabilizer or fixture in your embroidery, do not remove it. The fabric should remain as it is and tighten your hoop so you can easily remove the fabric.

3 Reasons Why You Want to Remove Your Stitches

Below we will discuss 3 reasons why you want to remove your stitches:

  1. If you have limited supplies, you may want to preserve as many supplies as possible, for example, you may want to preserve your fabric because it was thrifted.
  2. If you think you are putting a lot of effort into your projects but your final results are not quite right, you cut the bad part.
  3. If you are trying to use less embroidery floss, cut out your embroidery floss and use this for different purposes.

Fixation of Embroidery Mistakes and Redoing It

Fixation of embroidery mistakes and redoing it

While embroidering, you will encounter some mistakes. We can discuss some practical and uncomplicated fixes for embroidery mistakes.

1. Rip Off Embroidery Stitches

The most definite thing that you are going to make as a mistake is to rip – off the stitches. It is the easiest process and it will require some time. The tools here you need here are a seam ripper and a tweezer. Use an electronic tool, such as the stitch eraser, to remove the stitches faster.

2. Make A Patch

You can make a patch on top of your old work. a patch does not look good on fabrics that are too thin. If you have a big area to cover, sometimes finding a large patch will be difficult.

3. Make an Applique

If you don’t know how to save the area of an old embroidery, cut it out. Cut out your fabric and then replace it with an applique. It will fix your problem and this will give your garment a new look.

4. Add Decorations

If you want to fix a small area, you can add a button, a ribbon, or a small rhinestone. To fix your area, a small accessory is enough. Although, it is questionable if a small accessory can fix this problem.

5. Paint On Your Old Embroidery

You can do painting on the embroidery to fix it. Sometimes it is just a small spot that is needed to be hidden. Make sure, you can paint on your fabric, or else, it will damage your fabric if you use paint or permanent marker.

6. Add Stitches by Hand

You may have an area that needs fixation with hand stitches, in this situation, fill in that area by hand stitching rather than using your embroidery machine.

7. Add Some Text

If your embroidery is not balanced, you might want to rip it off. Add some texts or designs to balance it out.

8. Use Your Fabric for Other Reasons

If you think, your fabric is not making a good impression on you after removing your old embroidery, use it for other purposes, such as pillowcases, headbands, etc. that will be more useful to you.

4 Essential Notes Before Starting Over

Before you start doing embroidery on your fabric again, do these:

  • Use a fabric that will heal itself, so, when you are rubbing your fabric with a blunt needle or a tweezer to fix the weave of the fabric, you will not have a blank hoop with visible holes in it, for example, you can use linen and linen blends.
  • When you are transferring a design or pattern, some transfer methods can be removed, whereas, others may not be removed.
  • Get your seam-ripper when sewing with a machine, it is also helpful even when unpicking embroidery designs. Embroidery scissors with a super sharp tool can also help with the process.
  • Tweezers can take out tiny pieces from your fabrics when it is not possible with your finger.

4 Tips to Avoid Embroidery Mistakes

Below we will discuss 4 tips to avoid embroidery common mistakes.

  1. Monitor Your Machine: If you are having an error with your embroidery machine, fix it before starting your project.
  2. Test A Stitch-Out: If you want to try a new technique, do a new stitch–out. this is how you do a test run.
  3. Use Patches: If you don’t know, if you want to embroider a leather jacket or a new hat, then use a patch. Stitch it and iron it on your fabric with no worries of messing up.
  4. Double Check Your Settings: Follow the checklist that is given below before you start working on your projects.
    • Check if all the fabric is out of the way of the pressure foot
    • If the thread is correct in the top and bobbin head
    • If you have the correct needle
    • Check if you have the right stabilizer
    • Preview the design location, and make sure it orients properly.

Tips for Redoing Embroidery

Redoing embroidery will give you challenges, but with proper tips, you will be able to redo embroidery on your fabric.

  • Choose the right thread based on your fabric. if you have a delicate fabric, use a lightweight thread for it.
  • Use your embroidery hoop to keep the fabric firm so that it stays in place.
  • Use the correct needle size based on the fabric you are working with
  • Practice your stitch on a piece of fabric before you start your project to have the right tension and stitch length.

Embroidery Common Mistakes

Embroidery is a rewarding hobby, before you start your projects, try to avoid some common mistakes. Below we have given 4 points that you should consider before starting your projects.

  • Choose the right needle and threads, don’t use a needle that is too large and a thread that is too heavy for your fabric.
  • use embroidery hoops for firm and taut embroidery. To avoid puckering, do not pull the fabric tightly.
  • Before you begin your projects, practice your stitches. Don’t rush on completing your projects which will result in uneven stitches and tangled threads.
  • Give the rest of your eyes and hands. Do not work on projects for a very long time as this can cause eye strain and fatigue.


Can you remove and replace the embroidery?

Yes, you can remove and replace embroidery. You can use a seam ripper to undo an old embroidery. Embroidery scissors with sharp points can also help you. You can also use tweezers.

Does removing embroidery leave a mark?

Sometimes while removing embroidery, you may leave holes in your fabric. if you have a delicate fabric, it will leave holes more easily.

Can embroidery be corrected?

It is possible to remove all the old stitching and do the new stitching, if this is a long process for you, then cover your mistake with the right stitching. To cover the wrong color, sew in the right color.

What is the cutout embroidery called?

The cutwork of embroidery is called the “Embroidered Lace”, it has different kinds. The most popular one is called the Broderie Anglaise, it is a white work embroidery.

What is a stitch remover called?

An embroidery stitch can be removed with a sharp tool which is called seam ripper and it is a small sewing tool for cutting and removing stitches.

Final Thought

As we have already discussed in this section that embroidery is a form of art that is also taken by a few as a hobby. As a result, making mistakes is a common scenario in this craft. While you will be doing your embroidery, there is a lot of possibilities that you may face difficulty and not having your stitches properly, in which case we may want to redo your stitches over the same fabric, because, buying fabric and threads are expensive. Do not let this thought scare you. We have discussed some solutions to these problems. So, with proper care and consideration, you will be able to remove your stitches easily and you can redo it again.

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Hey I’m Sherry Howes an expert in sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. With a passion for fiber arts and a talent for crafting, I Have spent years improving my skills and sharing knowledge with others. Whether teaching a class or creating a new project, I’m always excited to share my love of crafting with the world. I like researching new techniques and trends in the crafting arts community.

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