October 07, 2022

My Best Embroidery Tip

By Tatum Schumann
My Best Embroidery Tip

At Threaded by Tatum, we are all about simplicity - we believe less is more, and we love a good tip when it comes to creating our favorite embroidery projects. I've come across dozens of ways to embroider, and while I do believe it all really comes down to personal preference, there's one trick I've found to be the most helpful: 

Double Up On Your Fabric!

It's actually so simple it's something you don't often think about as a beginner, but stitching through two layers of fabric solves a lot of problems! Read on to learn how this easy trick can improve your next project: 

☼ Tension

Using two layers helps to keep a nice tension for your fabric within the hoop. 

If you’ve ever used a fabric that’s thin or slippery, you probably had to tighten and retighten your hoops while stitching more than a few times, throwing off your groove and causing you to lose focus. This not only draws out the length of time it takes to finish your project, but it’s just annoying! So try adding two pieces of fabric! 

Adding that second layer of fabric gives your hoop a little extra something to hold on to, and finally you can continue your work without any interruptions. 

This works for when your inner and outer hoops are misaligned as well!

I’ve experienced my fair share of troublesome hoops that did not want to close tight. Some were just old, had imperfections, or the type of wood was too smooth, and the lack of friction between the hoop and the fabric caused my pieces to slip, especially mid-stitch. But I still wanted to use them! So all I had to do was add a second layer of fabric, and we were back in business!

☼ Hide Thread Trails

When layering two pieces of fabric you won't see the threads criss-crossing on the back side of the hoop from the front.

Especially with designs that include a lot of isolated stitches, it quickly becomes a hassle if you try tying off each individual stitch. It’s so much easier and takes half the time to stitch each color entirely before moving on to the next one, but then you’re left with a bunch of thread trails. Adding an extra piece of fabric will be able to keep those thread trails hidden from the front of your design: 

If you look closely at a project with two layers of fabric, you’ll see there’s no light showing through to the other side, so you can’t see the thread from the back.

Whereas another hoop with only one piece of fabric will show much more light, and the thread trails are would be more apparent.  

☼ Counterbalance Additional Weight

As you become more advanced and branch out to using thicker threads and adornments in your pieces, utilizing a fabric lining will offset any extra weight in your hoop. 

You may not realize it, but each stitch adds weight to the fabric you’re stitching on. And with more weight, your fabric is more likely to pucker or sag. Sequins and beads weigh even more than thread; therefore, an additional piece of fabric is necessary to counterbalance that weight; and if you end up using rather heavy embellishments or threads, a third layer of fabric may even be necessary. 

Of course, stitching through two layers of fabric isn’t always necessary; and if your ground fabric isn’t transparent or your stitches are light enough for the fabric to support it, then you can always skip this step. Shadow work embroidery, for instance, would not work with a second piece of lining because it would alter the final look of your project or interfere with finishing. However, adding that additional layer is a quick and easy fix if you’re experiencing several common issues.

"Adding that additional layer is a quick and easy fix if you’re experiencing several common issues."

As my favorite embroidery trick, stitching through two layers of fabric at once is my go-to for completing almost all of my projects, and I’ve come to much prefer the feel as well. My stitches are supported, the fabric doesn’t feel as thin or flimsy as just one, and I don’t have to worry about seeing thread trails on the front. Whether or not you stitch through two layers of fabric at once is up to your personal preference, but if you are looking for a neutral cotton fabric perfect for embroidery and doubling up while you stitch, be sure the check out the one in my shop

Using one or two pieces of fabric are both valid options — there's really no right or wrong way, just what feels best to you! Give it a try and let me know what you think! Do you like stitching with two layers or one piece of fabric more? 

And if you're interested in learning more of the basics of hand embroidery, be sure to download my FREE Embroidery Basics Guide! In it you'll find all the essential materials you need to get started, helpful tips and tricks, and more:

Happy stitching!

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