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Embellishments: Machine-Embroider on Velvet

A professional’s advice for stitching that stands out
Threads #205, Oct./Nov. 2019

Velvet is sumptuous, with an elegance unlike any other fabric. It was once affordable only for royalty due to its expensive and unusual construction. It is woven on double looms, creating a dual-layered fabric that is cut apart, yielding two pieces with the soft pile that we associate with velvet and its close relations. This pile gives velvet its wonderful hand and weight but presents a challenge for sewing and embroidering. There are several pitfalls to embroidering on velvet. Simple designs with medium fill stitching tend to vanish into the fabric’s dense pile. Stabilizing velvet for embroidery can require some trial and error to create the desired result. You’ll also need to secure the velvet in an embroidery hoop without damaging the weave or crushing the pile. The secret to successful machine embroidery on velvet lies in careful design selection, fabric preparation, and handling of the fabric during stitching.

Katrina Walker sews in her studio near Spokane, Washington. She teaches online and at shows and guilds nationwide. KatrinaWalker.com

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