Choosing Fabric for Embroidery


Fabrics, textiles or clothes are names given to flexible materials which can be woven with natural or artificial fiber such as thread or yarn. The words clothes and fabrics are used synonymously for textile in textile industry but there are some technical differences. Fabrics are materials made from knitting and weaving and are usually raw material which is used in further production of finished goods such as garments and other textile decorations. Cloth on the other hand is referred to final and finished piece of textile which is used as finished product such as bed sheets.

Choosing a Fabric for Embroidery

There are many choices when choosing a fabric for embroidery. The most frequently used types of fabrics for embroidery include linen, Aida (woven), cotton, satin, silk, velvet, calico and dress fabric. The main consideration in choosing the type of fabric depends upon the type of embroidery you are performing. The factors that should be taken into account while selecting fabric for embroidery are as follow:

Weight of Embroidery

The most important consideration in selection of type of fabric is the overall weight of embroidery. Embroidery design featuring ribbons and metal objects will be heavier than simple cross stitch design. Similarly if heavier items are used in embroidery such as buttons, beadings and metal threads, they need a strong fabric to hold its weight and shape.

Weight of Thread

The weight of thread such as cotton, yard, silk and ribbon etc is also an important consideration for choosing type of fabric. The selected fabric must be able to support the type of thread and support the weight of thread. The thread must be able to withstand the pressure and weight of thread and must be strong enough to support the embroidery.

Type of Stitching

The type of stitch used in embroidery is also another important consideration in selection of fabric for embroidery. It depends upon the type of stitch used for example different types of fabrics will be used for making a simple cross stitch and making a detailed flower embroidery. Heavier fabric is used to support the weight of elaborate stitching such as ribbon flowers.

Type of Finish

You should consider what type of finish you are looking for your embroidery. In Matt Finish which is ideal for busy embroidery, a dull and non-reflective fabric is used to so that the design of your embroidery remains prominent. In Shiny Finish, a polished and shiny fabric is used to create a contrast between the embroidery and background fabric.

Strength and Durability of Weave

The weave of the chosen fabric must be strong enough to support and hold the thread in place and must not be too overwhelming for the thread. If your design has used large threads then fabrics with looser weave will be ideal and if small threads are used then fabrics with close weaves must be used. Cotton, Aida, wool and linen are close weaves that are suitable for embroidery with small thread or ribbon. Richer fabrics such as velvet are should be used for heavier threads and ribbon work. Aside from strength and durability, the plush of the fabric must be considered. Fabrics with very high plush can drown a thread which means it will unpick the stitches performed on the fabric.