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Stitching For Guys Who Don’t Like Golf By Niamh from Urban Threads

Editor’s Note:

We are so excited to feature Niamh from Urban Threads as our guest blogger this week.  You may recognize her recent work featured in the May/June 2012 issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery.  If you need a copy, give us a call at 888-739-0555 to subscribe!

A note on all garments shown:  all garments unless otherwise noted are great finds from department stores.  But have no fear!  At the end of the piece we’ll show you similar embroidery designs that you can use to achieve a similar effect.

Brand: Metropark


Let’s face it … stitching for guys can be tough.

It seems in many cases out there, embroidery for guys assumes that he loves  A) golf  B) hunting, C) grilling or D) beer. Or possibly golfing while flipping burgers and drinking beer, which sounds a bit hazardous to me, honestly.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with stitching for stuff like this. In fact, the fun of these occasions is that it is a great time to pull out that bright and bold GRILLMASTER design to splash across an apron, or stitch a big buck’s head across a bright orange sweater. Many of these occasions and hobbies call for bold, straightforward designs. The problem is in all other occasions, the fella might not wish that big bold solid stitch design to scream I LOVE GOLF with as much vibrance as a Hawaiian shirt at a Metallica concert. Guys sometimes want to be subtle.

Lucky for me, ladies are not always stuck with the assumption that we want our designs to loudly profess our love for a certain hobby or affiliation. Sure, we CAN have those designs (I myself am a proud nerd and will wear it with bold stitchy pride), but other times our designs can be things we think just look neat, and call for no occasion whatsoever. I don’t know a darn thing about koi fish for instance, but that won’t stop me stitching a light pretty design of them on a shirt, and it’s safe to say no one will assume it’s because I’m a koi farmer.  Why can’t we treat menswear the same?

Can’t we just stitch them something that looks cool, for no other reason than that?

Brand: Xelement


The first key to stitching modern menswear, then, is to find more subtle, decorative ways of using embroidery. If you walk into a modern menswear section at your local mall, you’ll actually find LOTS of embroidery and stitching on stuff for guys (in fact, I’ve had a hard time finding something without embroidery so I could decorate it!) but you’ll notice that most of it is tonal colors, running stitch, appliqué, or one-color decorative accents. These kinds of designs rarely proclaim any proclivity towards fishing but usually look cool and guy-friendly all the same.

Brand: English Laundry


The truth is, if we’re really talking apparel here, lighter designs are a natural choice anyway to ensure your design doesn’t pucker or cause weird draping issues, especially on lighter garments. For tees and button-ups, designs with more open areas will sit better on the fabric and let your design sit with a more subtle, masculine effect.  Try using tone-on-tone effects by choosing a thread color that mimics your garment.

You can also try branching out in subject matter. An easy way to stitch for contemporary men’s fashion is to not take the “subject” so literally and use decorative type designs instead. Heraldic motifs, tribal designs, and simple shapes like a cross or fleur-de-lis make great accent pieces that just look cool, and are all guy-friendly.

Brand: Mark Nason


So next time you fire up that embroidery machine to make a dude some cool embroidered wares, give your typical designs a pause, and try a design that’s light in stitch, subtle in color, and heavy on attitude. The guys will thank you for it.


Want to achieve a similar effect as the designer garments shown? 

Similar to Metropark shirt:

Branching Flourish

Tribal Waves


Similar to Xelement jacket:

Ruler of All I Survey

Skull Array


Similar to English laundry shirt:

Seven Deadly Seas Crest

Thistle Crest


Similar to Mark Nason boots:

Baroque Punk Dragon

Cross and Roses


This week’ assignment:

Mother’s Day is coming up.  That got us thinking… what has been your favorite Mother’s Day and why?”  Post your comment for a chance to win a $25 shopping spree to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the question:

I need your help selecting a new design to feature in an upcoming project. So tell me, do you like design A, B or C? We’ll pick a random winner to receive a Magna-Hoop! Wow – you could win – just leave your comment!

The winner is… Sheryl Matthews!
“Definitely design “B”. I love anything Jacobean and this one screams Jacobean to me. I also love the stitching in the center of the leaves and flowers.”

Congratulations Sheryl!

Content in this feed is © Copyright 2012 by Eileen Roche and may not be republished without written permission. You’re welcome to forward to a friend or colleague but it’s not okay to add the RSS feed automatically as content on a blog or other website.




  • Jo Connolly

    Great post, Niamh. I have always admired your work. 🙂

  • Anna

    My favorite Mother’s day was everyone of them that I had with my mother. Now that she is gone there will be no more favorite mothers’ day with her.

  • Bonnie Readie

    On Mother’s Day May 9, 1971 Theresa Marie Readie was born. She is the greatest gift I have ever received. And the blessings have continued for 41 years.

  • Kathy

    I think every Mother’s Day that I have my mother-my friend-there with me is a special day.

  • Paula Roney

    Every Mother’s Day has been wonderful because I am blessed to still have my mom sharing my life. My Grams are gone now but my mom still makes all of my days special, shares all of my joys and sorrows, and inspires me to live each and every day to the fullist.

  • Susan Boliek

    One year my kids gave me a gardening hat that they decorated themselves by gluing Hershey’s Kisses all over it. Needless to say, it didn’t last long gardening on a sunny day!

  • Debbie St.Germain

    I can’t remember that far back, lol.
    I always loved the years when my kids were young and they made me presents.
    One year my son made me a ceramic piece, still have no idea what it is;)


  • Kathy

    My favorite Mother’s Day was 8 years ago. I had just recently completed chemo and radiation treatments for breast cancer. My husband (who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2005) always went out of his way to make days like that special. He included our two sons and I had breakfast in bed and was treated like royalty the entire day. It will always be one of my favorite memories of our family. But, every day of being a mother is a blessing!

  • Colleen Bell

    Oh everyone’s comments were so sweet. It seems so hard to pick one. I do remember my first…I was pregnant with our first son who would become the oldest of nine and my husband bought me a Precious Moments figurine to commemorate the day. It was so sweet. I even remember the dress I wore – just like it was yesterday – only 25 years earlier. Doesn’t time fly!

    Happy Mother’s Day to each one of you and your readers. God has given us the special privilege to be mothers.

  • Barbara Rowlan Wong

    Being a Mother is such a blessing, I can’t single out just one.
    I am the Mother of one daughter who is adopted and she always finds just the right way to make my day special! And now she’s adopting a daughter, a very special little girl.

  • Lydia

    Even though I’m not a fisher-woman, my favorite, memorable Mother’s Day happened years ago. We were fishing at my Mother’s beach place and I caught a 10-pound salmon! Of course, my husband didn’t, so he made me clean the fish! OMG! This was totally against what my grandmother-in-law told me: “Never learn how to clean a fish!” It took a very long time before I actually did clean this one. We cooked it on the BBQ over an alder wood fire. It was the best day with my family and this wonderful salmon. Never caught another that large–neither did my husband.

  • margaret fredericks

    after 5 years of “trying” and several misses, the first one with my first daughter was a dream come true!

  • Desiree Kumpf

    The best Mother’s Day I had was in 1999, when my beautiful Michaela Janae was born just a few hours before. Fourteen hours of labor was behind me and I had a brand new baby, so I could eat, relax, and thoroughly enjoy the whole day with my 5 kiddos!

  • Diane

    I appreciate the Urban Threads designs. I find my late 20’s,early 30’s family members will wear them if I stitch them. Very creative ideas here! Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Margaret Brantley

    My favorite Mother’s Day was when my children and grandchildren were all able to get together.

  • Cynthia

    One of my best MD was my son was a Sr in HS, working & doing track. He kept asking me what I wanted cuz he was so busy he needed to go shopping. I finally told him.My gift will cost you nothing & no time. At your state track meet you can do your very best & that will be it. Guess what? He was the state champion.(high jump) Eveybody there knew that was my gift to see him win his last yr. It was in the paper as Happy Mothers Day A gift of Love. I don’t care what he placed just watching him. I was so excited about him winning I didn’t even remember what I told him then he came up & said Happy Mother Day Mom. Thing like this are far more richer than any gifts. Just to be with you kids & watch what they can do.Happy Mother Day to all.Im very proud to also be a Gramma.

  • Lila Smith

    4 or 5 white shirt buttons sewn on an index card from Sunday School. Still have the card and buttons – over 40 years and I still have it. Don’t plan to use the bottons either. More precious than gold. Our son was about 3 or 4 years old and is now on the upward way to 50. He has two step children and we became instant grand parents. We used to be 3 for meals and now it is 6 and are so happy! Lila

  • Beth R

    My favorite mother’s day was when I designed and stitched a ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ message for my Mom – she was so surprised by it, and I enjoyed giving it to her.

  • Ruth Peterson

    I would say my best Mother’s Day was my first. I waited until my early 30’s to be a mom, and my daughter is the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s now 26+ years of Mother’s Days to compare to the first, but none have been as precious. I am able to still celebrate the day with my own mom, and feel blessed to do so. Blessings to all mothers out there!

  • Clem

    My favorite Mother’s day was when my oldest daughter was 10, her sister was 7 and her brother was 5. They went to a crafty friend’s house and asked her to help make a wonderful mini picture frame with all 3 kids’ picture hanging in a row. My friend let them make it their way, with just a little guidance. It was beautiful. I could tell it was their work and treasure it to this day. Now my oldest granddaughter is 10 and it is my turn to show her how to use her own talents to make her mom a beautiful gift.

  • Deborah Rayman

    My best MD was in 1990 when my boys bought me a dogwood tree. That tree is still in my front yard and beautiful as ever. Every time I look at it I remember the fun we had planting that tree.

  • Laura Szydlowski

    Every Mother’s day is special when I can have my grown children and granddaughters together. I just got a new granddaughter 3 months ago so this Mother’s day is extra special!!!

  • Penny Kitzmiller

    My favorite mothers day was the first one after becoming a mother!! Every mothers day is special tho but the first one was a great feeling. Happy Mothers Day to all moms across the world!!!

  • Kathy Martin

    I think my favorite Mother’s Day was my very first one. It was 1972, my husband was away in the military and our first daughter was born at 10 minutes past noon on Mother’s day, May 14, 1972. My husband was in Viet Nam and he didn’t even know she had been born for 2 weeks.

  • Dolly D.

    I can not pick one Mother’s Day as my “favorite”. I am blessed to have 2 wonderful, loving daughters who treat my like a Queen, every day, and I cherish the time we spend together. Our special bond is amazing!

  • Thea

    I have loved every Mother’s Day since 1970 – can’t pick a favorite, that would be like choosing between my kids!

  • Lori W

    Every Mother’s day since my son was born has been my favorite and he is almost 17. This past one was special though because I was able to see my Mom while my parents house was being cleaned out as they are now in assisted living together. It was a total surprise to her and my dad. My husband found a card that I had made for her in 1975, so I gave it to her again this year!

  • Peg Schmidt

    This year is my favorite, and then next year will be my favorite, and then the year after will be my favorite. You see, every year I get to live another Mothers’ Day and able to share it with my children and my grandchildren it is my most precious!

  • Ann Trimble

    I am 70 yrs old sitting out side the High School waiting for my adopted
    15 yr old to finish cheer leading practice she is also a great grand daughter.
    Have raised 3 of my own, 1 grand daughter, and this ggrand daughter
    And to me every day is a Blessed Mothers Day I can’t pick just one. Each
    One has been an adventure. Ann T

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