Can You Use A Punch Needle On Clothing?

Punch needle embroidery is such a fun craft, but can you use a punch needle on clothing? We've reached out to our favorite crafters to find the answers you're curious about and see the cool things you can do with punch needles that go beyond wall art.

You can use a punch needle on clothing. Here are some ideas of what you can use it on.

  • Sweatshirts
  • Shirts
  • Jackets
  • Jeans
  • Purses & Pouches

Let's look at some examples of ways to use a punch needle on clothing. We'll also explore how to keep your punch needlework looking fabulous and other fun projects to do with this craft.

Wool yarn with a punch needle, Can You Use A Punch Needle On Clothing?

Using A Punch Needle On Clothing

Punch needles come from the tradition of rug hooking. These needles are a combination of the threader and needle all-in-one. The premise is that by punching the needle through your fabric, you create a small loop on one side. These loops line up closely next to each other to create a pattern or imagery.

The most common uses for a punch needle are on rugs, pillows, and wall hangings. However, crafters are branching out and starting to use punch needle threadwork to make unique clothing. Let's take a closer look.


You can use punch needle threadwork on sweatshirts. Any cotton/poly blended sweatshirt material will do. However, you will need to trace your design onto fusible woven interfacing. Work from the inside out so that the looped design is on the outside of the sweatshirt. Embroidery thread works best as does an ultra punch needle set to a #5 height with the medium needle inserted.

Click here for this fusible interfacing on Amazon.

Click here for the ultra punch needle on Amazon.


Just like with sweatshirts, you can use a punch needle on shirts. For jersey material like you find on T-shirts or polos, you will need to use the fusible interfacing on the inside. But, if you're using a linen shirt, you might be able to punch without fusible interfacing on the inside. Because linen is one of the fabrics used for punch needlework, it would be awesome to embroider a gorgeous linen shirt.


There's nothing that says you can't make a jacket from scratch using a punch needle threadwork design as your guide. Crafters are discovering the beauty of this method of creating gorgeous coats and jackets in abstract patterns. Because heavy linens work well as a fabric for this type of needlework, you can cut out the pattern and make gorgeous jackets like the one featured above.

Jeans And Jean Jackets

Denim fabric works well for punch needle. Jean jackets and jeans are ripe for punch needle embellishments. Run out to your favorite second-hand shop and buy a few pairs to practice on first.

Purses & Pouches

Though technically an accessory, we would still argue that purses and pouches fall into the clothing category. They do make an outfit complete, and they are a natural fit for punch needle embellishments. Hemp or heavy linen blank bags make an excellent canvas for doing punch needlework. A blank hemp crossbody bag like this one is a perfect canvas to create a truly unique and one of a kind bag.

Click here for this on Amazon.

You'll enjoy using a pattern for punch needle to end up with a bag that has this sort of vibe.

Look for small linen, hemp, or canvas zip purses like those featured below for punch needle projects.

Click here for these on Amazon.

What Size Of Thread Do You Use For Punch Needle?

When working on clothing, you may want a smaller size of thread for more delicate stitches. Embroidery floss, Perle cotton embroidery thread, and worsted wool weight yarns will all work well for punch needle on clothing.

Valdani makes beautiful Perle cotton embroidery threads like these. It's a bit pricier, but the subtle colors can make a lovely statement for clothing pieces.

Click here for this set on Amazon.

You can buy an entire set of embroidery thread skeins very inexpensively and have a creative smorgasbord at your fingertips.

See this thread skein set on Amazon.

How To Keep Punch Needle From Unraveling?

Punch needlework is held in place only by the tension of the fabric. When thinking about punch needlework and clothing, staying in place makes a difference for wear and care.

You'll want to handwash items you've embellished with embroidery. Don't scrub too hard, and try not to stretch things by hanging to dry. Throwing items in the wash will risk them getting snagged on zippers, buttons, and the like from other articles of clothing. If you must machine wash, we recommend gently cycle and placed in a delicates bag.

How Do You Punch Needle Denim?

With denim, you want to make sure it's 100% cotton fabric. You'll need an embroidery hoop to get the material as taut as possible, where you're going to add embellishments. Draw your design directly onto your denim, then do your outline with your punch needle. Finally, fill in the middle and check for any empty spots. As a safety precaution, cover the back of your needlework with fabric glue. Glue prevents the thread or yarn from unraveling in the wash.

We've found a helpful, step-by-step video for you here on how to punch needle a cute little heart on your jeans:


How To Make A Punch Needle Patch?

Punch needle patches are super gratifying to make. They're quick and fun projects that make excellent gifts. You'll need

  • fusible interfaced fabric to trace your design onto,
  • monks cloth or another punch needle friendly fabric,
  • a hoop,
  • a punch needle, and
  • yarn.

After drawing a design, iron the interfacing onto your fabric and position into the embroidery hoop; pull the fabric tightly and evenly. Thread your needle to punch your design. Finish needlework, and cut it out, being sure not to cut so near the loops that you inadvertently cut into the design. Now, peel off the backing and fuse onto your clothing article. For an in-depth tutorial from Hallmark, click here.

Can You Punch Needle Shoes?

Now that you've got the shirt, jacket, jeans, and accessory embellished, can you complete the ensemble with punch needle shoes? The main thing to remember is that the punch needle needs open weave fabric, so you won't be able to punch the needle through athletic shoes or leather shoes. But, if you find a pair of inexpensive canvas shoes, you could certainly give it a try.

Punch needle slippers do exist, typically created from scratch. You can buy pre-made soles and then design the uppers of your slippers, much like you would make any other sewing projects. This way, you can use monks cloth or another punch needle compatible fabric with your cozy, beautiful slipper designs.

Punch Needle Is Exciting

With so many potentially fun projects to try, we are super excited about punch needles. It's the kind of thing you can do sitting in front of your television at night. Once you've gotten good at it, you might even be able to create items to sell at an online shop.


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