Embroidery machines are amazing sewing machines that allow you to make beautiful embellishments on all sorts of items. Janome embroidery machines like the Janome MB-4S are fairly easy to use; however, they do require that you know how to choose and use various supplies to get great results from your efforts.
Besides thread, stabilizers, and hoops, you must know how to select suitable fabric for embroidering or you may not be happy with your end result.
Design and Fabric Weight
The first thing you must consider when deciding on which fabric to use with embroidery machines is the weight of the design you want to stitch. Design weight is basically the number of stitches it takes to create the design and how compressed the stitches are. Heavy and thicker designs require stronger fabrics with tighter weaves to support them.
If there is a specific design you want to stitch, choose the fabric weight accordingly. Likewise, if there is a specific item you want to embroider, choose a design that can be supported by the weight of the fabric you are working with.
Machine Embroidery on Different Fabrics
Among all the various fabrics available, the best type for stitching on designs with the Janome MB-4S or other machines consist of natural fibers. They have a stronger, tighter weave that is easier for the needle to penetrate and supports embroidery stitching well. Following are some good fabric choices for embroidery projects:
- Cotton and Quilter’s Cotton - This lightweight fabric is very useful for embroidering household items like placemats, napkins, and table runners, as well as wall hangings and quilts. It is easy to use and sturdy enough to achieve great results without stabilizers.
- Linen and Linen Blends - Lighter than cotton, linen is a natural fiber that produces a very strong fabric that works well with all types of machine embroidering. Hanky linen is a lighter weight fabric blend made from cotton and linen fibers. It is also quite versatile but should be used with stabilizers.
- Wool - Both woven or felted wool are popular choices to use for many types of projects stitched with Janome embroidery machines and are a heavier weight fabric. Wool is great for heavier designs with full stitching, providing a strong background.
- Silk - As delicate as it may seem, silk is another great fabric for machine stitching when it is properly hooped and stabilized. It makes a strong base for lighter weight designs and even some heavier, more detailed ones.
- Synthetic Fabrics - While it is possible to embroider on many types of synthetic fabrics, it is not as preferable as natural materials. Synthetic fibers are not as strong as natural fibers and are more easily damaged during stitching. Similarly, when choosing blends, avoid cotton/synthetic blends for the same reason. Test synthetic fabrics ahead of time to see if they can be used successfully.
- More Challenging Fabrics - To succeed when stitching on unusual or challenging fabrics, you must consider different hooping and stabilizing techniques. Terrycloth and fleece are favorites for embroidery, but they demand special handling in the form of a washable stabilizer on the top to prevent the stitches from being buried in the nap. Meshes can also be stitched, but require careful stabilizing. Knits and other stretchy fabrics must be carefully hooped so they have enough tension to support the stitching but not so much that the fabric is stretched out of shape.
There are many fabrics you can use for stitching beautiful designs using embroidery machines like the versatile Janome MB-4S. Achieving the best results with your Janome embroidery machine means knowing how to choose the right fabrics to handle your design. If you are not sure about your choices, experiment with various fabric samples to find one that best suits your design!