Machine EmbroiderY

How to embroider textured materials

The advent of embroidery machines has given even the most creatively challenged person the chance to come up with some beautiful designs. Despite this, it isn't very easy to embroider on textured materials. The best embroidery machines use digitized patterns to feed the design to the machine.

Embroidery Machines

The digitizer prepares the design to go onto specific types of fabrics. Many people design patterns for sale online. However, it is difficult to find a specific design that can go on textured, raised fabrics. The clear majority of patterns out there are designed to be embroidered onto woven materials. But what if you have a favorite textured fabric that won't accept the designs you buy online? What are your options?

I want to give you an example of the kinds of problems you may face. I've got this nice bird design that I'd like to embroider onto my textured fabric. It is a 8"x5" and comes with a mixture of decorative stitching. I really like this design and chances are it will work perfectly with most woven fabrics. But I will run into trouble if I want to embroider this design onto a textured fabric like a towel.

The trick is to use a software to change the width of the stitches of the embroidery design. Some of the best embroidery machines do come with a design software that can read the embroidery patterns you buy online. If you have the software, what you want to do is increase the width of the stitches so they can cover a wider area on your textured fabric.

In embroidery class, you might have been thought a couple of ways of dealing with this type of problem, but they are not real solutions. They merely mask the problem rather than solving the root cause of the problem.

You should be careful when you increase the satin width. Most embroidery machines will not sew well with satin stitch widths of more than half an inch. My advice is to make small increments until you get it right.

After inspecting the rest of the design, I have determined that nothing else needs changing so I'm going to go ahead and just embroider my chosen material. The work I've done on the design is going to make for some awesome embroidery.

So, the photo below is the towel I want to embroider with the design. If you look closely you can see the raised texture of the fabric.

You still need to do the usual stuff that you do when embroidering on woven fabrics. You’ll have to hoop the towel and use the right stabilizer for the backside. My preferred stabilizer is a tear away one. I also use Glad Press-n-Seal to cover the towel. I really like the fact that it really clings to the fabric nicely.

I have tested this technique with various types of embroidery machines including the small home embroidery machines. However, it is always a good advice to use common sense judgement when using new techniques and tools on your machine.