To show your embroidery stitches off it’s important to prepare your fabric for stitching. A few extra minutes before you begin stitching can make a big difference to the final result.
Choose a Piece of Fabric That Is Large Enough
Whether you want to display your finished embroidery in a hoop or frame you will need several centimetres of fabric around your design. It’s better to leave plenty of fabric so you can choose the best way to finish your project.
Prewash Your Fabric
Some fabrics shrink or run when they are washed which can ruin embroidery and be really disheartening. We recommend you wash and iron your fabric following the washing instructions for the fabric, before you begin stitching. This will also make it easier to stitch evenly. It is much harder to iron a finished project.
Hemming the Edges of Your Fabric
To prevent the edges from fraying while you stitch you can hem your fabric with a running stitch or machine stitch a zig-zag stitch. You can also cut the fabric with pinking shears or use a suitable low tack masking tape.
Choosing the Best Fabric for Your Embroidery
Different types of fabric are suitable for different hand embroidery techniques. For general hand embroidery we’d recommend a flat cotton like percale, evenweave or a linen. Stretchy fabrics can be harder to embroider without puckering your stitches. Stabilise t-shirts or sweatshirts with magic paper or a fabric stabiliser to avoid distortion whilst you stitch. When choosing threads and fabrics make sure they are of similar weight. Delicate threads for light fabrics and thicker ones for heavier fabrics. Once you’ve selected a fabric, try embroidering several stitches so you can determine if you’ve chosen the right threads.
Use an Embroidery Hoop or Frame
Keeping your fabric taut makes embroidery easier and your stitches neater. Embroidery hoops are inexpensive, easy to use and ideal for small embroidery projects. Read 'How to use an embroidery hoop', to find out more.
For larger projects an embroidery frame is better. To use an embroidery frame you use tacking stitches to attach your fabric to the bars of the frame.