How to embroider on a puffy vest (or coat)

By on December 7th, 2023
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How to embroider on a puffy vest
free machine embroidery designs

A few years ago, I kicked off my Christmas shopping when I stumbled upon the most adorable, shiny, silver, plush, pink-lined vests in the girls section at Walmart. I scooped them up immediately with the intention of personalizing them for my two little nieces. And, in my haste, I didn’t even consider how difficult it would be to do it. At the time, I wasn’t even sure how to embroider on a puffy vest.  But – when you see the perfect gift, you need to go for it! So, that’s exactly what I did.  

Perhaps I haven’t emphasized enough how fabulous these vests were. Frankly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so cozy, but yet so shiny.  One of the reviewers on Walmart’s website actually called them “the most amazing piece of girls clothing” she has ever purchased. And I kind of have to agree.

Oh – and they actually came in coats, too! It doesn’t get more glam than that, especially at Walmart. I even tried in vain to find one for me in the ladies department or even a real big girl size that I might be able to squeeze into. Unfortunately, no such luck.

Anyway – in my haste to make this purchase, I caught myself second guessing what I had done in the checkout line. How difficult was this going to be? The last thing I wanted to do was destroy these fabulous vests.  Turns out, embroidering on a puffy vest (or a coat) is no. big. deal. 

And while Walmart may not have the shiny silver puffy vests and coats available this season, you can find similar silvery puffy vests for women on Amazon – plus a whole lot more if shiny silver is not your thing.

Why embroider on a puffy vest? 

They make great gifts

Personalized puffy vests make great gifts for men, women and children, which is probably what you need at this time of year. And, people LOVE personalized gifts because it shows you were thinking of exclusively of them. 

Also, if you stitch out a monogram, it shows you actually took the time (and maybe did some undercover work) to figure out their middle name. 

They are inexpensive

Puffy vests are pretty inexpensive, at least as far as outerwear goes.  You can find puffy vests for men, women and children for $10 – $30. 

And, if you are really strategic, (aka hitting the Old Navy sale racks in January), you can get puffy vests for next to nothing. 

They are easy to size

Also, puffy vests are pretty easy to size.  I’m always concerned about personalizing a gift for someone and not having it fit.

However, puffy vests only come in a few sizes, and you can likely size someone based on their appearance.  Or, you can sneak a peek in the coat or vest they are wearing. 

They are practical

Puffy vests are practical.  They keep your core toasty which (and I know this sounds crazy) keeps your extremities warm as well. 

You see, I learned this in my protective clothing class. When your body is cold, blood travels away from your fingers and toes. But when it’s warm, your blood can make it’s way out to the far reaches of your body.  When you keep the core warm, you keep your entire body warm. 

They pull together your look

A monogramed puffy vest dresses up the utilitarian look of outerwear. In many casual workplaces, you can wear it around the office and look stylish while staying warm. 

So are you convinced now?  Let’s start shopping. 

Where can I buy a puffy vest? 

Around the holidays you can find puffy vests suitable for embroidery, just about anywhere.  For kids, I’ve found great puffy vests at Oshkosh, the Gap Factory and Old Navy. For women, I have found adorable vests at Sam’s Club and on Amazon

But now, I’ve gotten to the point where if I can Amazon Prime a something, it’s worth it to keep me out of the stores.  So, here are some great puffy vest options you can snap up on Amazon.  Check out the rainbow puffy vest for kids.  AMAZING. 

The best inexpensive puffy vests to embroider on Amazon

Puffy vests to personalize for men

For men, there is a wide array of puffy vests to choose from, each with a slightly different look. The classic puffy vest, offered in a range of colors, is a timeless choice that pairs well with almost any outfit. For a more rugged look, a quilted option with a corduroy collar adds a vintage touch to the modern man’s wardrobe. Vests with a faux fur-lined hood provide an extra level of warmth and comfort, perfect for colder climates. Alternatively, for those seeking a more athletic style, mens’ vests with sweatshirt like hoods come in a wide array of colors as well. These versatile styles ensure there’s a perfect puffy vest for every man’s taste and necessity.

Puffy vests to personalize for women

For women, the selection of puffy vests is both fashionable and diverse, catering to a wide range of style preferences and practical needs. This classically-styled mid-weight puffy vest, available in a variety of hues, adds a layer of warmth and a splash of color to any outfit, while a fur-trimmed hooded puffy vest offers added warmth and luxury. Check out these hooded puffy vests for a sportier look that compress into almost nothing – ideal for travel and outdoor activities. If you are looking for a puffy vest with a more unconventional silhouette, check out the super-trendy cropped style or the super-long version. The myriad options mean that every woman can find a puffy vest that suits her style and meets her specific needs.

Puffy vests to personalize for children

For children, personalized puffy vests are an absolute delight, combining comfort, warmth, and a touch of fun. Many designs are available in vibrant colors and crazy patterns for both boys and girls that are sure to captivate a child’s imagination, from playful mushrooms to bold animal prints. For added warmth, some vests come with a cozy, faux-fur lined hood, while others feature a high collar for extra protection from the cold. Ultimately, the diverse options mean that every child can have a puffy vest that aligns with their unique personality and preferences.

How to embroider on a puffy vest

Fortunately, embroidering on a puffy vest or coat is pretty easy if you take your time and follow the prescribed steps. However, if you are new to embroidery and/or have never embroidered on a puffy vest or coat, you may want to pick up a similar used item at Goodwill for practice before embroidering your actual vest.  But, I think you will find that embroidering on a puffy vest is pretty easy.  

Here’s the step by step process I recommend based on what worked for me. 

Set up your embroidery design

Yes, of course you can use the lettering that comes on your embroidery machine to create your monogram, name or initial. But you will have a lot more control of the size and layout of your design if you set up the monogram in your embroidery software prior to stitching it out.

In the example I’m featuring below – the child had two middle initials. (He was the first grandson and the parent could not choose between grandfathers for the middle name – so they used both….) Anyway – it was a bit tricky aligning the three letters to build the monogram and I would have only attempted this type of monogram if I laid it out in Embrilliance Essentials prior to moving over to my embroidery machine. Like the font? It’s my own Sporty Summer Serif Embroidery Font.

In your embroidery software, you can precisely size the name, monogram or initial. I decided to make my monogram about 3.25″ inches wide and high. This seemed appropriate for a 10-year-old boy vest.

I also highly recommend adding a bounding box to your design. A bounding box is the first round of stitching that helps you hold your garment down when embroidering and gives you a preview of where the design will go. Embrilliance Essentials and SewWhat-Pro allow you to create a bounding box around any design. You remove this basting stitching when you are done embroidering.

Monogram setup in Embrilliance

Locate center of name, initial or monogram

First, decide where you want to add the monogram on your puffy vest. Typically, I stitch a monogram over the left breast, but an oversized monogram on the back of a puffy vest is a cute look for women and kids. 

When locating the center of the monogram – it’s important to be aware of the overall size. You can see in the picture below – I put a pin in the vest where I planned on centering the design. Then I measured out from the center half the width of the design. I wanted to make sure that the edge of the monogram did not come too close to the zipper.

I just eyeballed the center location of the monogram, but there are tools to help with placement such as the Embroidery Placement Helper by DIME

Locate center of monogram on puffy vest.

Prepare your embroidery hoop and vest

Hoop a piece of sticky back tear away stabilizer and score the edges and peel back the paper to expose the sticky surface. 

Hooped stabilizer

Mark the center point of the hoop and extend the horizontal and vertical lines.

marked center lines on hooped stabilizer

Cut out a piece of fusible poly mesh stabilizer larger than the name or monogram you plan to embroider and fuse it to the wrong side of the vest entering it around the center of the backside of the monogram.

Fold the vest in half along the vertical center of the monogram with right sides together. Align the fold with the center line you drew on the vest. Smooth in place.

folding method

To further secure the vest in place, pin the vest to the stabilizer. Make sure that the pins are outside of the embroidery area.

pinned vest in embroidery hoop

Attach the hoop to the embroidery machine and lay a piece of water soluble topper on top.

sulky on top

Before you start stitching – make sure that the monogram is oriented the correct way.

Start embroidering

Start the first round of stitching which is the basting box. This is a good opportunity to check the location of the embroidery design.

basting box stitched out

Assuming the location looks good, start the next round of stitching which is the monogram.

monogram stitched out

When the embroider is done, remove the embroidery hoop from the machine and gently tear away the vest from the stabilizer. Remove the basting box stitching. Remove the topper and as much of the stabilizer in back as possible. Trim any connector strings and you are done!

completed monogram puffy vest

Embroidering on a puffy vest in action

Ok – still don’t get it?  Check out my video stitching these name on these amazing vests.  

Enjoy everyone!  And happy stitching. 


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how to embroider on a puffy vest

7 thoughts on “How to embroider on a puffy vest (or coat)

  1. I love that I found your website! I soooo needed to find this form of embroidery help! I believe it’s an answer to my prayers! I really need help with placement issues In knowing where to embroider monograms on left chest placement on t-shirts and sweatshirts. I’ve struggled with this. I spend way too much time stressing over it. Also, with placing it straight and it not embroidering crooked on the shirt. I’ve had many to stitch out perfect, but some not so perfect. I truly want to feel confident in my work and not be so stressed when it comes to placement issues. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Oh thank you! Your comment made my day. Yes – I will make a post on placement. That’s a great idea. Stay tuned!

  2. Children should never have their names on clothing as now “strangers can become friendly ” with them and abduction may be the outcome.

    1. Good point. I don’t recommend names on backpacks- just monograms. I think with clothing – parents should be smart about where they let their kids wear clothing with a name on it.

  3. What needle size do you recommend?

    1. I just used a 75/11.

  4. I just found this page by accident. I’ve been machine embroidering for over 20 years and don’t have many problems anymore, but, I would like to get more ideas on something a little different. I hope by joining your site I may learn something new. I sure wish that your wonderful help was available when I started.

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