Fabric for embroidery

Using the correct fabric for your embroidery will ensure the successful outcome of your project.  If you use the wrong type of fabric, it will pucker, or distort your image and all that hard work will be spoiled!  Here are some essentials to look for:

  • Pure fabrics such as cotton, linen or silk should be used for embroidery - man made or mixed fibers are not recommended.
  • The fabric should be a high thread count (200 count or more) and a very close weave to allow for placement of the needle without causing holes.
  • The fabric should have little or no stretch in it.  If the fabric stretches it will distort the design in the hoop. 
  • The fabric should be of a medium weight so it supports the embroidery.  I don't like to use backing fabrics as they are difficult to line up correctly. 

Linen & Cotton Fabrics

There are two types of fabric available for sale that I can recommend for both Needlepainting and Whitework with colour embroidery: Premium or Monaco linen which is available in my store and cotton. Cotton has been discontinued but you can find a list of recommended cotton and  stockists here.

Fabrics which are not suitable

Linen such as those used for cross stitch, counted thread work or hardanger as shown below are not suitable. They generally have a loose weave so there will not be enough placement for the needle.

Store bought fabrics

If you are desperate to get started on a project and don't want to wait for shipping I recommend you purchase a white bed sheet/pillowcase in a high count (200 thread count) 100% cotton and cut this up for use in your project.

Caring for your fabric

It is always a good idea to keep your embroidery clean whilst stitching. You can keep it inside a pillowcase or cotton drawstring bag to prevent dust or marks forming. 

Washing your fabric

Should you need to wash your embroidery here is the method:  Hand wash in warm water with a mild soap - I use Castille. Rinse in clean warm water at least twice to remove all soap residue. Roll up in a clean fluffy towel to remove excess moisture, then block your embroidery to remove creases. 
....

Printed Fabric

If you have purchased your fabric with a pre-printed outline some shrinkage may occur so it is not recommended that you wash it as it will distort the printed outline. You can press the fabric with a medium iron to remove creases. If you need to wash it after stitching follow the instructions for blocking your embroidery.