Choosing the right fabric

Though it's basically possible to stitch on almost anything you can get a needle through, the fabric type you choose will be one of the most important factors to determine how the final project will look. It may be a success or a disaster, depending on the fabric you select.

Not every design will stitch well on every fabric. For example, a design with very high stitch density might stitch well on heavy-weight fabric, but pucker or tear lightweight fabric, even if you stabilize it well.

Choosing the right stabilizer(s) is just as important as choosing the right fabric. For example, knits that on their own tend to stretch and loose their shape during embroidery process, might receive stitching well when used together with an appropriate backing and topping.

Some fabrics are just bad for embroidery. The best way to determine whether a fabric is embroidery-friendly or not, is to test-stitch on it.

Many items that cannot be hooped in a conventional hoop, can still be embroidered on, using hoopless embroidery. In a nutshell, hoopless embroidery involves hooping a backing, adhering the fabric to the hooped backing, and then stitching. Hoopless embroidery is recommended for stretchy, slippery or too thick fabrics.

We've also noticed that many of our customers are asking what kind of fabric is better for our machine cross stitch designs. Actually, the choices are wide. We usually prefer using heavy linen and linen-cotton blends, since these types of fabrics don't get stretched too much, and their visual appearance is not too delicate for cross-stitch designs. Evenweave and canvas can also be used very successfully. If you feel that canvas is too thick for your hoop, you may hoop a backing instead, stick the canvas over it, and then embroider.

And of course, try to experiment with the various fabrics!