This is the finished embroidery - it had to be low down on the back so that my hair didn't cover it!

Steampunk Shirt

My youngest son was having a clear-out of clothes – stuff he’d outgrown mostly. Being ‘frugal’ as I am, I had a root through the bags and found this lovely shirt. It is a gorgeous, thick, cotton jersey with an unusual front zipper and it was just crying out to be played with.

I had my eye on some embroidery designs at Urban Threads and they had a sale recently so I purchased a few which really appealed (there are many others but I managed to restrain myself!).

I started on the back and centred the Steam Motifs – Butterfly first before positioning the Steampunk Wings on either side. I had printed paper templates to aid in this process and used lots of chalk to keep things level.

On the lower front I stitched the Steampunk Alchemy Caduceus and then realised that the left side needed ‘something’ too. That side of the shirt is quite narrow so the Clockwork Skulls were the obvious choice being a longer, thinner design. There are lots and lots of stitches in this embroidery and it really is quite ‘stiff’ – but it is fabulous in ‘the flesh’ – an incredible amount of detail.

The sleeves needed shortening so I took the opportunity to embroider on just one of them. I found a lacy butterfly and edited it to make it a ‘cutwork‘ design. I also cut some cogs from the skull design and stitched them under the butterfly. After the first outline of the insect had been sewn, I cut the fabric from the inside – using appliqué scissors, carefully! I then put some netting under the hoop so the lace would have something to stitch to, I’m really happy with the finished result.

I left the other sleeve plain, just cut it down a couple of inches. The shirt is rather large for me but I do love it anyway – I tend to wear it like a jacket rather than a shirt. By the way, this was all stitched on my Husqvarna Designer1 with mostly Sulky threads but also some Madeira ones.

Click on the photos for larger images.

A very plain shirt indeed


The zip opens top and bottom - very cool

Funky zip



Urban thread design of wings

Steampunk Wings

Fabulous design of a very intricate butterfly

Steam motifs – Butterfly

There are a lot of chalk marks and basting stitches to get the positioning correct


Still embroidering

Still embroidering

Steampunk Alchemy Caduceus


I kept to the same colours all over the shirt

Caduceus stitched

Front shirt

Front shirt

Clockwork Skulls

Clockwork Skulls

So much detail - it's almost bullet-proof with so many stitches!

Skulls stitched

Not an Urban Thread design - I found this in my 'stash'


After stitching the outline I cut away the fabric and placed some black net beneath the hoop before stitching the rest of the design


After washing off all the chalk and removing basting stitches

The back

I had to shorten the sleeves by about 2 inches - the shirt is XXL!

Finished sleeve

I edited the design in my software to incorporate the cogs 'cut' from the skulls

The netting

Photo taken in natural light

Closer look

Shirt front

Shirt front

A close up of the embroidered skulls


Sleeve detail

Sleeve detail

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