Embroidery is a very popular sewing technique that is used for anything from bath towels to clothing. The type of fabric that you use for embroidery is crucial to how the sewing process is going to go. Certain fabrics work perfectly for embroidery, while others, not so much.
The two types of fabric that works best for embroidery are evenweave and plain weave fabrics.
Evenweave fabrics are common fabrics like cotton, polyester, acrylic, linen, and other blended fabrics. These fabrics are all in the woven state which is one of the major classifications of evenweave fabrics. Being woven allows stitching in between single threads and makes them more functional.
Another important aspect of this fabric is that it has the same number of embroidery threads in both directions, leading to a very clean and neat looking finished product. The thickness of the fabrics is all similar and soft and stronger than a lot of other fabrics.
Aida cloth is a beginner-friendly evenweave fabric that is perfect for embroidery. It’s very affordable but feels very well-made. Since it’s 100% cotton, you can very easily see where the thread is going. The stitches wrap themselves around the group of threads and with being so beginner-friendly, you can achieve a lot more accuracy working with Aida cloth compared to other fabrics.
Since it’s a very popular option, Aida cloth is readily available in a variety of different counts and colors. Counts tend to range from 8-20. It’s important to note, the higher the count you get, the smaller your work will get. Ideally, if you’re looking to hand embroider, a 14 count is a great option.
Fiddler’s cloth is a combination of multiple fabrics. It’s usually 50% cotton, 42% polyester, and 8% linen. It has similar characteristics to Aida cloth with having a clear thread count, so it’s an easier fabric to sew on compared to others as well.
Fiddler’s cloth has a rougher texture which helps amplify the decorative look and feel. It usually has a count of 14-18.
Jobelan is another blended fabric with a ratio of 50% cotton and 49% polyester. It’s a much heavier fabric and has a larger thread count range of 16-32. Jobelan is uniquely different from the other evenweave fabrics by having holes larger than the others. This however makes the fabric much more prone to wrinkling.
With plain weave fabrics, when embroidering, the threads go both under and over in both directions. The most common plain weave fabrics you’ve definitely heard of before as their cotton, linen, and canvas.
Cotton is by far one of the most popular types of plain weave fabrics and fabrics in general. The only downside of cotton is that it’s rather difficult to see where your needle is going when working with cotton. This is great when you’re working on freestyle embroidery, but not as ideal when working on a counted stitch work.
Embroidery linen is both a plain weave and evenweave fabric and gives a very unique look to your embroidery projects. Linen does have an uneven surface which can be somewhat difficult to work with and is rather expensive. That being said, if you choose to work with linen, it’s absolutely great for home decor.
Canvas is traditionally used for needlepoint embroidery projects. Canvas has an open mesh construction and requires thick threads to cover the large holes. There are two types of canvas, one that has two threads twisted together and another one with more simple thread construction with only one thread.