The delicate and sheer appearance of the net fabric is not what most people usually associate with embroidery. This honor belongs to thicker, opaquer, and heavier fabrics. However, embroidery on net fabric is not only possible but produces stunning and unique pieces of art. More and more embroiderers have been expanding what we thought of as the limits of this ancient craft by working on less traditional surfaces, such as net fabric. Embroidery designs on this surface provide a one-in-a-kind way of looking at designs made even more eye-catching. To pull this off perfectly, however, you must handle it with both skill and care. The question most embroiderers ask is how to do hand embroidery on net fabric.
After selecting the fabric type you wish to use, you will first need to prepare it for embroidery, as discussed in detail below. Then secure it to the embroidery hoop and select the right stitches for the job. With careful and precise embroidery, you can create some of your best work.
While machine embroidery is faster and more convenient, hand-embroidered pieces also have their distinct advantages. The pieces you embroider by hand are custom, and they communicate the level of care and amount of time put into them, adding infinite value.
What Is the Best Fabric for Hand Embroidery
Generally, tightly woven, even weave fabrics are believed the best for hand embroidery. Of these, 100% cotton is most preferred by hand embroiderers. It has a tight weave that is easy even for beginners to work with for various designs, has a smooth texture, and resists wrinkling.
While you can practice hand embroidery on different types of pliable materials that a needle can pierce, the quality of the final embroidered product and the ease of embroidery depends on the type and quality of the fabric you are using. Several factors influence the type of fabric you use.
Find below a guide on choosing the best fabric for your hand embroidery project.
1. The use of the end product
Perhaps more important than anything, you need to determine what you plan to use the embroidered fabric for. It could be for wall hanging, clothing, bedding, auto upholstery, or various other uses. The fabric you choose should be suitable for what you intend. It would be best, for example, for you to do garment embroidery on lightweight to medium fabrics, while home furnishings will require heavier fabrics.
2. The type of embroidery
Another factor that will influence the fabric you choose is the type of embroidery you are doing. Surface embroidery often involves flowing and curved lines and filled space that need closely worked stitches. If you plan to do surface embroidery, you will need a fabric that allows you to work on these features quickly. Full-weave fabrics, where the warps and wefts fill the surface, leaving no noticeable gaps, are best for this.
On the other hand, Counted thread embroidery will give the best results when done on an even weave fabric. This type of embroidery features counting the fabric threads before you insert the needle into the fabric. Even weave fabrics usually have similar threads horizontally and vertically that best present counted thread embroidery.
If you plan to do some delicate stitching, you will need a flexible fabric that is easy to work on but is not too rigid.
3. The type of stitching.
If you plan to do some dense stitching with heavy fillings, it would be best if you chose a fabric that does not have any readily visible gaps. Use a fabric that is strong enough to support your stitches and provide sufficient support. Conversely, such a fabric would be overkill f you plan to do some light and delicate stitching.
4. The fabric characteristics
Some of the fabric characteristics that you would need to consider when choosing a piece of fabric for hand embroidery include:
- The hand refers to the fabric’s surface smoothness as you pass your hand over it. A smooth hand is generally great for most embroidery projects. While a rough hand has its uses, too many irregularities on the surface can cause some problems.
- The weave- As mentioned above, some fabric weaves are better suited to various types of embroidery. A plain full weave, for example, will work great with dense stitches that have neither readily visible gaps nor irregular spaces.
- The weight- Choosing the fabric according to the weight is pretty straightforward. The denser the embroidery stitching you want to do, the heavier the fabric you will need to choose, and with delicate stitching, lighter fabrics will work best.
After carefully considering the factors above, here are some of the most common types of fabrics for hand embroidery to help you make the best possible choice.
It is a natural fabric that is made from the cotton obtained from the cotton plant. Some of the characteristics of this fabric include its smooth texture, softness, and resistance to wrinkling. Cotton can be embroidered for garments worn in hot climates as it aids circulation and home furnishings. For embroidery, it is easy to pull a thread and needle through when the weave is loose, a task that may be a bit more challenging if the weave is very tight.
However, medium-to-heavy weight cotton has a looser weave that is easy to pull a needle and
Linen is also a fabric made from natural fibers and is smooth, relatively soft, and lustrous. It is a very strong-textured fabric that can complement your embroidery stitches and add a classy and unique look. This firm texture comes from the thin and thick threads that are used in the weave. You can also use this for clothes, bags, and home furnishing.
One significant disadvantage of using linen is the price. It has a significantly higher cost than other fabrics, which does not make it a good choice for an embroider working on a budget.
Satin is a woven fabric in the warp-faced satin weave and gives a smooth, shiny, and lustrous surface. The shine and draping qualities make it an excellent choice of fabric for evening wear and furnishings such as pillowcases. Satin is a delicate and slippery cloth that needs to be handled carefully as you can damage it, especially when attaching the frame. Despite this, you can easily do most embroidery stitches on its surface.
Many consider silk to be one of the most luxurious fabrics. Its luster, smooth texture, and strength also allow it to give a beautifully embroidered piece. For the best results, most of the embroidery that is done on silk is usually done in silk threads.
e. Cotton muslin
Muslin is arguably the most used cotton fabric for embroidery. This fabric is made using the plain weave, where one weft goes alternately under and over a warp thread. You can get it from a thread count of 70 up to 250, a fine, tightly woven fabric. This fabric is better suited for free-style embroidery.
f. Aida cloth
Another woven fabric made from cotton that you can use is the Aida cloth. Sometimes called java canvas, Aida cloth is an even-weave, open fabric usually used for cross-stitch embroidery because of the square pattern that is easy to count. However, you can also use it for surface, Assisi, and counted thread embroidery. Its open weave makes it an excellent choice for beginners as the holes are easy to see. When used about Aida fabrics, the count refers to the holes the fabric has per inch, with the larger count sizes proving more challenging to work with, especially for beginners.
How to Embroider on Translucent Fabric
One of the best things about hand embroidery is that you can do it on almost any type of ground fabric. Embroidery that is done on translucent fabric has a way of popping out and catching the eye. The designs are more visible and unique. However, embroidering on translucent fabrics does require a certain level of skill and care to get the best results.
Below are some expert tips and tricks that will get you the best embroider on translucent fabrics.
1. Select the fabric.
There is a wide variety of translucent fabrics you can choose from depending on your project and the final look you want. Some examples of translucent fabrics include silk organza, organdie, fine cotton lawn, and chiffon. Despite all being translucent, all these fabrics have unique characteristics that may make one more suitable for you than the other. Use the criteria above to choose the best for you.
2. Wrap the embroidery hoop
Translucent fabrics are almost always thin, which can be problematic with embroidery. Insufficient tension can cause distorted and bunched-up stitches, which are unsightly. Even when using an embroidery hoop, the fabric may still not hold the fabric adequately. Some embroiderers wrap another thin piece of fabric around the inner hoop so that the thin fabric can be held tighter.
Some fibers can get displaced around the hoop area in some translucent fabrics if the fabric is not hooped correctly. You can quickly fix this slight problem by releasing the outer ring screw enough to allow you to push it down onto the inner ring.
3. Use a stabilizer
Stabilizers are important when embroidering to add extra structure and stability to the fabric and prevent bunching and distortion of the stitches. For translucent fabrics, use a water-soluble stabilizer, as it thoroughly washes away, and you will see no remaining bits from the other side.
4. The embroidery stitches
Light and open stitches are an excellent option for embroidering on translucent fabrics. You can also try out dozens of new stitch styles and have fun figuring out which stitches work best with which fabric and which ones do not work and the best way to execute them.
How Do You Prepare Fabric for Embroidery?
It is infuriating for any embroiderer to find out that they did not adequately prepare the fabric for embroidering as they work on it. This mistake will cause you not only frustration but also a lot of wasted time and effort. Below is a comprehensive analysis of the steps you can take to make sure your cloth is fully ready for embroidering.
Step 1: Measure your fabric.
The prerequisite to measuring the fabric size is determining the size of the design you want to embroider. Find the size of the final image as you want it to appear. Then add around two inches to that size so that you have enough space to hem the edges. If you are planning for deeper hems, you will need to add even more inches. Add another inch to the fabric size to make up for any shrinking that will occur.
Step 2: Cut the fabric on the thread.
The goal when cutting the fabric is to make sure that you will have one continuous thread that is running along your fabric’s sides. Ensure that all the sides of your project are in the thread, and trim off any fabric shards that remain.
Do not fret if you end up with a fringe. Use a pair of scissors to cut this off, and then measure the lines from the fabric’s clean edges. With these clean edges, mark the length and width of your fabric using a pencil to help you get as perfect a square as you can.
Step 3: Neaten up the edges.
After cutting the fabric, you can then either use a sewing machine or sew by hand to make the fabric edges neat. Apart from providing neatness, this will also help in preventing the fabric edges from fraying. If you can access a serger, this would be a great time to use it, or you could sew some zigzag or overcast stitches.
Some embroiderers use tape to seal the fabric edges though this may discolor the fabric. Another simple solution is to use a fray check that you can apply to the edges.
Step 4: Prewash and shrink the fabric.
Though not all embroiderers follow this step, it is a good idea to wash and shrink the fabric to remove any unwanted sizing. This step is essential because you will need to wash nearly all embroidered fabric in the future after use. You can do this for items that you anticipate needing to wash though it may not be necessary for bags and purses.
To shrink the fabric (for example, linen), place it in a large bowl that can comfortably hold it and pour hot water over it, leaving it to soak. Then dump out the water and fill the bowl with cold water as you swish the fabric. You will feel it start to get stiffer. Repeat the hot and cold-water process. The fabric will grow even stiffer after the second cooling. Add hot water to the bowl again and let it cool to room temperature. Then remove the fabric from the bowl without wringing, lay it on a towel and pat it dry. The extreme temperatures will have shrunk the fabric.
Step 5: Ironing
You can then iron the fabric while it is still damp on a clean ironing cover. Turn the fabric over and iron both sides, moving it as you see fit with the iron set to the correct setting. If you are not interfacing, you can spray the fabric with starch.
Step 6: Interfacing
Most embroidery professionals attach light interfacing at the fabric’s back for fabrics such as those with a loose weave. This attachment gives the fabric strength to prevent fraying. The interfacing you choose should be brighter than the embroidery fabric. You are now ready to hoop the fabric and start embroidering!
Watch the video below on how to do hand embroidery on net fabric
Which Fabric is Best for Hand Embroidery?
Cotton fabrics are considered the best for hand embroidery due to various factors. It has a smooth texture, does not wrinkle easily, and is soft. When the weave is loose, pulling the thread and needle through a cotton fabric is also relatively easy.
What Backing is Used for Embroidery?
One of the many small details that separate good from great-looking embroidery is the presence and type of backing used. Backing gives your fabric stability as it is embroidered and prevents the fabric from getting bunched and squeezed. They help make sure that the final embroidered product is precise and detailed.
Discussed below are some of the most used types of backing in embroidery.
- Tearaway backings – this backing is torn away from the embroidery design on the fabric’s back after you are done stitching. It is recommended that you tear as close to the stitches as you can.
- Cutaway backings are considered the most stable, and though you can use them on any fabric, you must use them on stretchy fabrics or knits. This backing is trimmed with some scissors at least ¼ to ½ an inch from the design.
- Wash-away backings are used when all traces of the backing need to be eliminated, such as sheer fabrics. First, you remove as much of the backing as possible and then run it under warm water until all the backing is removed.
Embroidery on net fabric is a trend that has seen a significant rise in recent days. Done by hand, you are guaranteed to create a one-of-a-kind look. To get the best results, you will need to put in the effort towards improving your hand embroidery skills and work patiently. For all the embroiderers, whose aim is still to learn,
How to do hand embroidery on net fabric?
The most important thing is to learn how to prepare your fabric, improve your hand embroidery skills, and choose and apply the right stitches well.
We appreciate you for reading to the end of this article and hope that it has been informative and answered all your questions. The comment section below is open to receive any questions, comments, or suggestions.