wikiHow to Choose Embroidery Fabric

There are many embroidery fabrics to choose from. The type of fabric that you need for embroidery will depend on the type of embroidery you are undertaking. The following guide has some features to look for when seeking fabric for your next embroidery project.


  1. Image titled Choose Embroidery Fabric Step 1
    Consider the weight of your project. The things to look for here include:
    • The fabric must be able to support the overall weight of your project. Obviously a design featuring a basket of ribbon embroidered flowers will be heavier than simple cross stitch design. If items such as buttons, bows, beading or other extraneous elements are to be added, you will need strong fabric that can hold its shape well.
  2. Image titled Choose Embroidery Fabric Step 2
    The weight of the thread (cotton, yarn, silk, ribbon etc.). The fabric must be able to support the type of thread you are using and the fabric should not permit the thread to show through to the front of your project. The weave of the fabric must be able to withstand the pressure of the thread's width passing through it (see step 3).
  3. Image titled Choose Embroidery Fabric Step 3
    Determine what type of stitching you'll be using most. For example, are you making simple stitches or elaborate ribbon flowers? The type of stitch will also impact on the type of fabric. More elaborate stitching, such as ribbon flowers, will need a heavier fabric backing to support the weight of the finished stitch.
  4. Image titled Choose Embroidery Fabric Step 4
    Determine the finish of your project that you prefer. How do you want the project to present when completed?:
    • Matt finish: a dull, non-reflective surface, great for a busy embroidery piece; or
    • Shiny finish: more polished, creates greater contrast between your project and the background.
  5. Image titled Choose Embroidery Fabric Step 5
    Check the strength and durability of the weave. The weave of the fabric must be strong enough to hold the threads in place and not too overwhelming for the threads:
    • Looser weaves will be less able to hold the threads but will be ideal for larger threads. Cotton, Aida, wool and linen are close weaves that are suitable for embroidery with thread or ribbon.
    • Some fabrics will "drown" a thread if they are have too high a plush. Contrast the weight of the thread with the plushness of the fabric to ensure that this is avoided before commencing a project. There is nothing more disheartening than having to unpick hours of work!
    • Use richer fabrics such as velvet for heavier threads. Such fabric is ideal for ribbon work.


  • The types of fabric most frequently used for embroidery include linen, Aida (specially woven), calico, cotton, silk, satin, velvet, dress fabric etc.
  • Make sure that the threads of the woven fabric will not separate easily. In other words, be sure that the weave of the fabric is sturdy, not flimsy.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Pattern or idea for project
  • Thread

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