Fabrics for Machine Embroidery

Like hand embroidery, machine embroidery is stretched in a hoop for ease of handling.

Machine embroidery is a fun and easy way to embellish your garments. Many reasonably priced embroidery machines are now available. Some embroidery machines only allow you to do embroidery on them.  Others are combination embroidery and sewing machines capable of doing virtually any sewing task.

Hundreds of designs are available for these sophisticated, electronic machines.  Most embroidery machines come with an assortment of designs and you can always buy additional design software.

Stable materials such as gingham, broadcloth, and other cottons which have little stretch are best for machine embroidery. Stretchy materials can be tricky to machine embroider; when material stretches during the embroidery process, the design will be distorted.

Sheeting fabric can be embellished by machine embroidery.

Whether you are using stable materials or more stretchy materials, you must reinforce underneath the design with a stabilizer fabric. Tear-away stabilizer is used with stable fabrics, while less stable fabrics should be stabilized with cut away stabilizer.  You can make towels of toweling fabric and embellish them with machine embroidery if you use an appropriate stabilizer.

Toweling Fabric

If you do not have an embroidery machine, you may want to try your hand at free-hand machine embroidery.  This type of embroidery is done on a standard sewing machine using a straight stitch.  The fabric is stretched tautly in an embroidery hoop.  The feed dogs are lowered so that you can guide the fabric without the machine feeding it.   Beautiful abstract designs can be created in this way.