Tools of the Trade - Preparing Your Fabric for Machine Embroidery

Two years ago, I bought my embroidery machine, the Brother Innov-is 800E. I use it so much in my making my creations and I wrote a post 5 months ago introducing it as one of my tools.

It has been a learning curve but I’m finding my way with it! I wanted to show you how I stabilise my cotton before embroidering to reduce puckering on the fabric. The light cotton I use in a lot of my projects won’t withstand hundreds of stitches (eg. for stitching a name) in such a small amount of space so it needs to be stabilised. I have always used a light / medium weight tearaway backing stabiliser in the hoop. However, for the light cottons I use and with so many stitches, it isn’t enough. So, in addition to the backing stabiliser, I use starch spray and an iron on interfacing. Here's how:

Firstly, I iron the fabric. I use a spray starch and iron again. This strengthens the fabric and I usually repeat the spray starch twice.

machine embroidery preparation  Prepping for machine embroidery

To strengthen the fabric further, I then use some iron on interfacing.


The fabric will then feel completely different and quite firm.

For small projects like the one pictured, I hoop the stabiliser but not the fabric. For larger projects, I hoop the fabric tightly with the stabiliser.


For this project, I let the fabric ‘float’ on the stabiliser.

When the embroidery is finished, a quick iron (use a scrap piece of fabric over the top to protect the stitches! I have melted stitches with ironing before!!)

I'd love to hear what you think, or if you have any other ways of stabilising your fabric. 

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