How to Choose Fabric for Embroidery

Choosing the right fabric to embroider on makes all the difference for the final outcome of how your project will look.

Some things you will want to look for:

Does the fabric stretch or does it hold it's shape well when in the hoop?

Am I picking a color or pattern of fabric that will allow the thread to be shown up easily?

Is this fabric within my budget?

Is this a scrap of fabric that would otherwise be thrown in the garbage so I might as well embroider on it and see what beauty I can make from it?

Is the fabric sturdy? Will it hold stitches well or is it likely to pull in weird places when a needle and thread is pulled through?

Is the weave (the thread grid) of the fabric one that will allow me to stitch for the most part where I want to?

The first fabric I talk about is one of my all time favorites, it's Robert Kaufman's yarn dyed Essex Linen, and is 55% linen, 45% cotton.  As a garment sewist as well, this fabric is perfect to have in the house for lots of types of projects, and that's probably why when I stock it, I buy a lot at a time.  I purchase it online from Canadian Fabric stores like Blackbird Fabrics or Needlework Hamilton.  When I use this fabric I put it through the washer, and then the dryer before cutting to place in hoops- because it gives the fabric a really lovely texture.  This fabric is fantastic for getting started because the weave is loose enough for the needle and thread to glide through easily, but it is firm enough to hold it's shape.

The second fabric is a 100% cream cotton I buy from Michaels. I double layer it in order to prevent seeing through to the knots or trimmings from the front side. Where this fabric shines is, due to the tighter weave, it can make more intricate projects look even more detailed since you can be more precise with how many stitches you can have.  

I do also love using my clothing fabric scraps to embroider on.  Sewing and embroidery actually make an excellent pair, (especially when you love to sew linen garments for yourself anyways), because when you invest in a beautiful fabric for yourself, if you're like me, you just cant throw those little scraps away.  There is nothing like finishing your sewing project, and then picking up the scraps, and turning them into beautiful embroidery collections!

So that's a little bit about my process, enough to get you started anyways! Let me know if you have any questions below.

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