Choosing the Right Fabric for Your Embroidery

Hatch Hatch
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Guidelines to fabrics that are the easiest or best to embroider for great results

When you start out in machine embroidery there are so many different supplies you need to be looking at, it can easily get overwhelming. In this blog post we shed light on the different types of fabrics you can use. We also give you some guidelines to which fabrics are the easiest or best to embroider to ensure great results right from the start.

First Things First

We cannot repeat and emphasize often enough that the final result of your embroidery project depends on a number of factors. You need to ensure that you select the right needle, fabric, stabilizer to suit the size and stitch density of your embroidery design. We previously dedicated complete posts to needles and stabilizers, so in this article we will focus on the other factors. For a great outcome you also have to make sure that your embroidery machine is well-tuned, set at the appropriate needle and bobbin tensions and you need to use the right settings in your embroidery software.

Choosing the Right Fabric for Your Embroidery Design

When choosing your fabric you need to consider the weight of the embroidery design. The fabric needs to be strong enough to hold the design. Looser fabrics are less able to hold the threads. If you want to use a specific type of fabric, you need to select a design that is suitable for the weight of that fabric. The ‘thread count’ of the fabric refers to the fabric’s weave and determines the ability of the fabric to permit a needle to thread through it without difficulty.

Go Natural

Natural fabrics with a tight weave create a strong base for embroidery and are the easiest to embroider. Because the fibers run horizontally and vertically, the needle can easily penetrate the material. Fabrics such as cotton, linen, silk and wool support decorative stitching really well.

Quilting or Quilter's Cotton

It is a light fabric that comes in a large variety of colors. It is best to use simple and open designs when embroidering with quilter’s cotton. It is very versatile and great to use in projects like placemats, table runners, wall hangings and of course quilts.

image: GaGa Fabric & Accessory / Aliexpress

Hanky Linen

Commonly used in Australia, this material is a beautiful fine and lightweight linen/cotton blend with small slubs throughout. It is great for embroidery when using the correct stabilizer



A lovely natural fabric. It is lighter, more textured and stronger than cotton. Linen is considered the strongest of natural fibers and wears extremely well.



A popular choice of fabric by many embroiderers for its beautiful sheen. You might think it is a delicate fabric, but silk actually provides a good, crisp and strong base.


It is a great choice to use either in woven or felted format. Felted wool does not fray, so you can just cut the edges. It offers depth without swallowing the thread.

image: Andiec/wikimedia commons


You can create beautiful personalized gifts by embroidering monograms on bath robes and towels. The key with these fuzzy fabrics is to use a water soluble topping on the top of the fabric and designs with solid fills to avoid the stitches getting lost in the terrycloth texture.

Unusual/Difficult to Embroider Materials

There are a number of different materials that people experiment with and the results are often striking. Embroidering on burlap/hessian, toilet paper, straw placemats and hats, vinyl and even balsa wood, you can create something truly unique.

Working with Fabrics in Hatch Embroidery Software

Hatch Embroidery software has a great feature for working with fabrics called Auto Fabric. You can set it up before you begin and it will make adjustments to the density and other settings that can be affected by the different fabrics so that it stitches out better.  

You can find it in the Customize Design Toolbox

When you click Auto Fabric a dialog box opens that allows you to set your fabric.  

It will even give you a recommended stabilizer to use and if suggested a topping. 

The software also allows you to manage your own fabrics. You can create your own, or if you find that you want different settings for your fabric, you can change that under the Manage Auto Fabrics feature. You will find this under Software Settings > Manage Auto Fabrics.

You may need to change stitch density in order to stitch on a different fabric or with a different thread. Hatch Embroidery software lets you change the density of most stitch types across the whole or selected parts of a design.

You can find more information about this and fabrics in the Hatch Embroidery online Product Documentation.

Happy Embroidering!

Bernadett & the Hatch Team

Hatch Embroidery software products are in popular use in over 100 countries. It is time to join the global trend and give Hatch a try! The 30-day Free Trial grants you unlimited use of all the amazing features and the 30-day Money Back Guarantee ensures that there is absolutely no risk involved.

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