Chainstitch Info / FAQ

What is Chainstitching? 
Chainstitching is one of the prominent pre-digitial methods of embroidery. Chainstitch machines are specialized hand operated machines that create a unique looking stitch with a special handmade touch. Those varsity jackets your grandparents had? The original motorcycle club cuts? That cool bowling shirt from the 50's? All most likely chainstitched. 

What Can You Embroider On? The best materials for chainstitching are heavy woven fabrics like canvas, felt, and especially denim. However, anything non-knit can be embroidered on with various degrees of success. I have embroidered on all weights of cotton, satin, leather, and more. Using an even more specialized post-bed machine I can embroider on sleeves, pant legs, and other hard to reach places. 

Can You Embroider on T-Shirts of Sweatshirts? Yes... BUT.  Tee shirts and sweatshits are made of knit fabric. The chainstitch needle is a large needle with a hook in it that can break some of those knit threads as it embroiders. Over time with wearing and washing those broken threads can start to unravel creating small tears and holes around the embroidery. It doesn't always happen and when it does it's not always noticeable. It is a risk you take working on those garments. I recommend sticking to monograms and single line script when doing so. 

Can You Embroider on Hats? Using our post bed machine I can embroider on most hats. I only offer freehand script embroidery on hats, not logos or artwork. I have many blank hats available in stock on the website that you can customize, or you can send me your own hat!

Can You Embroider My Artwork? I love creating special garments & patches for people using their artwork or logo. One thing to know first, the chainstitching process (hand guided embroidery on antique machines using primitive stencil techniques) is a lot different than modern computerized embroidery. Some artwork just does not translate to the vintage way of doing things.  Bold designs with fewer fine details tend to lend themselves better to the chainstitch process. Artwork with lots of fine details might not work, especially at smaller sizes.  Feel free to contact me with your artwork (including the size you want it, what garment/material you are looking to have it embroidered on, and the placement on that garment) and I will be able to tell you if it can be done (or what might need to change) along with a quote. 

Are You Available for Events?
Now that I am vaccinated and things like in person events are becoming a thing again... Yes! I've worked events for many different brands including Levi's, Vans, Pac-Sun, Hedley & Bennett, Sézane, The Infatuation, NBC, Madewell & More. Please contact me with your event info & any questions and I will get back to you with my rates. I am based in Portland, OR but have the ability to travel anywhere with my setup, Southern California especially.  

How much do custom chain stitch pieces cost? Small freehand script like your name on the front of a jacket in 1-2 words is $25 (plus return shipping) Local Drop off in Portland, OR can be arranged -  It's the best deal for a simple customization (unless you get a customizable patch from the site ) For larger artwork - it depends on a few factors ! 

  • artwork! i.e. is the imagery you want on your garment something i already do? if so, great! that’s easy and it will be cheaper! is the imagery you want something i’ve never chainstitched  before? that’s going to cost you extra (and might not be doable--you’ve been warned!) 
    For example "I want a tiger head" is going to be more expensive than "I drew this tiger head can you stitch it?" is going to be more expensive than "can I buy that tiger patch you made?"
  • complexity! as the number of colors and level of detail increases - so does the amount of time a piece will take. 
  • the amount of coverage! do you want 1 small thing on the front? small things all over? a giant back piece? the more i chainstitch, the higher the price. (in general, prices start at $100 and go up from there!) 

how long will it take to get a custom piece?
in general, turnaround time is 2-4 weeks from the time i receive the garment! on occasion we can accommodate a rush client, but there will be an additional charge!

can i wash my chainstitched garment?
Your finished chainstitch piece is generally more delicate than standard embroidered garments - take that into consideration. Personally I never wash my denim jackets but I understand you might not be totally comfortable with that. Dry cleaning is always a good option. For things like bandanas or garments you wash more often than jackets -  wash cold and hang dry or dry flat. 

how do i order a custom chainstitch piece?
For Small 1-2 word customizations:
Drop me an email at with the garment you want to get embroidered and what you want to get. Once approved you can ship it to

World Famous Original  PO BOX 86957, Portland, OR 97286 and include a note with your email and what we had discussed that you were going to get embroidered. 

For Bigger Pieces: 
e-mail with:

  • a description of the piece you want and some screenshots from my instagram/portfolio site/ of the imagery you like (if applicable) 
  • a pic of the garment if you have it
  • reference photos for the design as needed
  • your budget.

i’d recommend describing your dream piece, and we can go from there to get it down to the price you want/my actual feasibility!