Flattering Embroidery Placement for Garments

We’ve all either seen it or committed the act ourselves. After careful sewing we some how have ended up placing large butterflies right on our butt.  Or, those fun abstract red circles now look more like two glaring eyes on our chest. We’ve all done it, either with print placement or embroidery design placement. Read on for tips for figure flattering embroidery placement so you’ll never have a target on your lady parts again.

FLATTERING EMBROIDERY PLACEMENT 300x251 Flattering Embroidery Placement for GarmentsWhen placing embroidery on a garment to create a flattering look, it’s important to consider your figure type and the areas of your body that you’d like to highlight or minimize. The eye will be drawn to the design, so follow the tips here to ensure the design size, shape and combination of designs work together to flatter your body type.

Begin with a simple pattern that has clean lines, such as the Out & About Tunic, which has a V-neck, bust darts and a three-quarter length sleeve. This provides a blank canvas for the embroidery. If you’re embroidering a ready-made garment, the same concepts apply. The featured tunics are all size 14 and were made in lightweight linen.


For a triangle body shape, place the embroidery to balance the larger hips to the smaller upper body (A).

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In this example, the embroidery extends along the shoulder near to the armscye seam. This guides the eye up and out to the shoulders to achieve balance in relationship to the hips. The larger your hips are in relation to your upper half, the closer you should extend the embroidery along the shoulder seam. To add another flattering line, hem the sleeves to end at your waist rather than your hips, where the bulk of your shape is located. Notice that there’s no embroidery at the hips because you don’t want to draw the eye to that area and make the hips appear larger.


The hourglass body shape is naturally balanced because the bust and hips are a similar size and the waist is in proportion to the hips/bust. Use the embroidery to create a focal point at the neckline (B).

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Pay attention to the bust size when adding embroidery for an hourglass shape. The larger the bust, the narrower the embroidery and the closer to the neckline it should be. Don’t add too much embroidery at the neckline and give the impression you’re a different shape. Also, consider the depth of the V-neck, as a deep V makes a large bust look even larger. Hem the sleeves to align with the waistline for the most flattering look.


With no waist definition, embroidery helps create the illusion of a waist. Rectangle body shapes tend to have a small bust, so concentrating the embroidery at the neckline and lower edge highlights the bust and hips. If you’re a rectangle but have a larger bust, narrow the embroidery and place it closer to the neckline. The eye follows the embroidery at the shoulders and neck and skims down to the hips and sleeves (C).

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It perceives a waist because the embroidery balances the neckline and shoulders. This shape looks best with longer sleeves that fall level with the embroidery at the hip. Depending on your hip measurement, you may choose to narrow the embroidery, but remember to balance the proportions with the embroidery on the upper body. To emphasize the waistline further, gently curve and take in the sides seams at the waist.


With fullness around the middle, the goal for an oval body shape is to draw the eye vertically and avoid adding bulk. With an average to large bust, keep the neckline higher rather than lower. Since our eyes follow an unbroken line, the center embroidery line creates a slimming look (D).

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Depending on your hip size, add embroidery, such as a small touch of embroidery just around the vents, below your waist to balance the bustline. If you have long arms and your wrist hits below your middle, stitch long sleeves without embroidery. Shorter arms look better with sleeves falling level with the bust. Don’t allow the tunic fabric to cling to your middle.


The most important illusion to create with the inverted triangle is to minimize broad shoulders. The broadness of the shoulders dictates the embroidery placement at the neckline. The designs should be slightly away from the neckline toward the middle of the shoulders (E).

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This illusion divides the shoulders in half so they appear less broad. A narrow embroidery line is best, and if you have a larger bustline, place the V-neck higher on your chest. The other illusion to create is volume in the lower body. Use the embroidery to add volume at the hem, vents and sleeves. Long sleeves work best for an inverted triangle.


The diamond body shape needs embroidery at the neckline and hemline to balance the larger stomach area (F).

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Place the embroidery design at the neckline and extending towards the shoulders depending on how small your shoulders are in relationship to the stomach area. The best sleeve length is at the hip line.


Featured Daisies: Lindee G Embroidery, He Loves Me Not Collection; lindeegembroidery.com

Other designs to try:

Garden Party Collection

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Spring Clover Collection

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Boho Rose Collection

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This entry was posted in Embroidery Tips, Fashion & Embroidery, Online Learning and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Flattering Embroidery Placement for Garments

  1. Catherine DAndrea says:

    Both the stabilizer and embroidery placement were great.Thank you so much. Cathy

  2. Molly P says:

    I just found your blog and love it. I have an educational blog http://sewingscoupe.com and, with your permission, would like to add your link to my blog roll so my followers can also see what you have to offer.
    Thanks, Molly

  3. Jill says:

    Thank you, yes you can link to this blog post. Thanks again!

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