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How Do I Choose the Best Embroidery Fabric?

Linen is a common embroidery fabric.
The best embroidery fabric may include silk.
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  • Written By: J. Cat
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2014
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The best fabrics for an embroidery project really depend on what your project is and how you want the finished product to look. Heavier projects with embroidered items, buttons or other add-ons tend to require heavier materials. The most common embroidery fabric options include linen, velvet, cotton and Aida. Aida is a specialty even-weave fabric, which means that there are an equal number of horizontal and vertical threads which creates the appearance of tiny boxes. The higher the thread counts, the stronger the fabric. Most hobby stores carry a wide variety of colors and fabric counts.

To choose the right embroidery fabric for your project, you should first consider the pattern you have chosen and the colors you want to utilize. The color of the fabric should compliment and enhance these colors, not distract from them. For example, if your pattern is of flowers and you want to use bright, vibrant colors, perhaps the best choice of fabric color would be light and muted so as not to take away from the beauty of the flowers.

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When choosing embroidery fabric, the next consideration is the count size. Thread count refers to the number of threads per inch. The most common sizes are 14 and 16 count. A higher fabric count will result in a tighter, glossier appearance of the embroidery thread while a smaller fabric count will result in a larger pattern. Aida, for example, commonly has 14 threads per inch, which results in larger holes through which to stitch — this often is considered a good weave for beginners; cotton weaves tend to have more threads per inch and thus a tighter weave. Higher thread count result in much smaller boxes, which may result in the need for a magnifier or reading glasses in order to see the fabric clearly.

Linen material tends to be a good embroidery fabric choice for such projects as table cloths and sheets. For a project needing a shinier background, velvet or silk may be good choices. Aida is an appropriate embroidery fabric for a wide variety of projects. For example, it is perfect for the framed embroidery project to hang on the wall. Further, it can be sewn together with a cloth backing to make a beautiful decorative pillow. All materials come in a variety of colors and thread counts.

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