"We must not allow ourselves to become like the system we oppose. "
- Bishop Desmond Tutu
For a lot of hand embroidery artists and enthusiasts out there, working on any kind of material is often not a big challenge. Give them a simple cotton handkerchief and they’ll happily weave their magic on it.
But isn’t it better to have more than a few basic choices when it comes to fabrics for hand embroidery? After all, each and every kind of fabric is different and supports the thread work differently.
So while there are a lot of options like silk, linen and satin in the market, we thought we should pick the top 5 fabrics which are the best and most suitable for hand embroidery :-
A canvas fabric is easily one of the best hand embroidery fabrics out there, due to its firm texture. It has an open mesh construction and a thick thread is used to stitch over the spaces of the fabric. It is available in two types – one with single-thread construction and one with double-thread construction. Canvas is the most suitable fabric for doing cross stitch, needle-point embroidery and tapestry.
Embroidering in silk fabrics has been done for centuries. While it is a little hard to stitch evenly on it, this beautiful, tightly woven fabric is still used extensively all over the world. Silk fabric is a popular choice for not just dressmaking but home decor items as well, like tablecloths, curtains, napkins and other accessories.
This is a 100% cotton fabric and has a particular type of weave in which groups of threads are seen together, having holes at the corners, which counts as one thread. The stitches are formed over these groups of threads. Aida fabric is also known as Java cloth and is the best choice of fabric for beginners because of its easy weave and hence is used for doing cross stitch and other simple hand embroidery designs. The best part about the Aida fabric is that it is inexpensive and is easily available at most art and craft stores.
Cotton Muslin is the most commonly used fabric for a lot of hand embroidery designs. This is a tightly woven, plain weave fabric which does not damage even when tightly stretched on the embroidery frame. The muslin fabric is often used for very fine embroidery work like needle painting and free style hand embroidery.
The linen fabric is quite even and plain in its weave, hence easy to work with which is why it is another great fabric for doing hand embroidery. Though it has a slightly rough surface, it still looks lovely when covered with beautiful hand embroidery designs. Linen is a very strong fabric so it can be used for both complex as well as simple hand embroidery designs.