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Embroidery on Chiffon

Knitology | Posted in Machine Embroidery on

Hi Everyone,

Has anyone got tips for Embroidery on delicate fabrics like Chiffon?



  1. joyfulneedles | | #1

    In our area we have a new PBS show called Quilting Arts and it was either that one or America Sews that had this very subject.  They put clear wash-away stabilizer over and under before they  hooped the fabric. I haven't tried it yet.  But I would like to try embroidered lace so saved that tip.

















  2. MaryinColorado | | #2

    Check out http://www.nancysnotions.com for instructions and notions (gridded plastic like material you cut a "window" out of then hoop it so the opening is almost the size of the hoop and this will be hooped,  paper backed sticky water soluble stabilizer to stick under the gridded plastic inside edges),  sticky side up and it sticks to the wrong side of your fabric, and I also use a water soluble stabilizer on top of the fabric.   (you can also use felt instead of the gridded vinyl to cut the window out of). 

    I'm really tired so I hope this makes sense.

     I don't like to hoop velvet or delicate fabrics as they don't stay on grain well and can get hoop burn or permanent creases. 

    Sometimes if all else fails, I will use the water soluble stabilizer that looks like white fabric instead of clear as I find it a bit sturdier. 

    I have also "cheated" occassionally and hooped a layer of water soluble stabilizer, netting or organza, sheer fabric, water soluble stabilizer in that order from bottom to top.  Embroider it.  Then I cut away as much of the netting and stabilizer as possible, then rinse away the stabilizer.  The netting acts as a permanent stabilizer under the embroidery and helps support the sheer fabric. 

    If a design is too dense for the sheer, the sheer will not be able to support the stitches and you will end up with it tearing, fraying, running, or looking wavy. 

    Just practice practice practice and you will find the technique that works best for you. 

    Floriani makes a light flesh colored fusible mesh stabilizer that works well also, but does not was away so will show somewhat underneath.  If your skin is darker, a black stabilizer might work also if you can cut it away from the edges of the embroidery. 

    The embroidery design often dictates the best technique.  Good luck and enjoy the process!  Mary

    Edited 4/25/2009 1:34 am by MaryinColorado

    1. Cityoflostsouls | | #4

      I find sheer netting is good for a lot of things-it gives a little stability to free standing lace and does not show.  A lady here who had a wedding shop died and at the sale her husband had I bought a large amount of netting and white satin so I have had to come up with ways to use them.  I embroider floral pictures on the white satin for gifts.  I cut out several at a time and finish the edges to keep from fraying and they're ready when I want one.

      1. MaryinColorado | | #5

        I'm making appliques of rose petals that are supposed to be embroidered directly onto the backing fabric.  Instead, I'm using the netting so placement on the denim coat will be easier.  I'm glad I did this as I want to make the rose larger and fuller than originally planned.  Also now I am thinking of putting some batting behind some petals and leaves to give more depth.  Then I decided I also might leave some parts of the petal edges loose for a more 3D look. 

         I love the way netting has enhanced my projects.  It's great for faerie wings too, I also used netting for the wings on a wallhanging with applique dragonflys...

        I love your ideas, thanks for sharing.  What a blessing to have some of that bridal satin and lace.  woohoo!  What fun to make those lovely floral pictures out of the lovely satin! 

        1. Cityoflostsouls | | #6

          I hope we can suggest using netting to more people.  There seems to be good uses for it.

          Maybe you can make some suggestions for me.  Normally we have scraps to try out but in this case I don't  I have 2 pieces of suede leather 8 x 11 which I paid 6.50 each for (Tandy-why the price) and a small scrap of much heavier leather as my only practice piece.  I have a friend who is retired and has started a small  organic farm.  He grows garlic, rhubarb, shallots and asparagus and I want to make a small wall hanging for him out of this suede.  I've already decided I can't use his complete farm name as it's too long and I have designs for garlic and rhubarb whch I will have to recalculate to make the size coordinate.  I have a leather needle, a walking foot and an interesting foot to freehand with.  I'm concerned about the density of the patterns  and how much trouble I can get into with too dense a design.  When I enlarge the pattern it recalibrates the stitches to make the design just like the original.  You can't help me with the fact that I'm not very artistic to start with!!!  I'd like to add a free border with this foot I'm dying to use but don't want it to look like a little girls bedroom.  I need something strong and western. I doubt if there are any second chances with this suede.  I can't hoop the leather so thought I might be able to hoop my stabilizer (what kind?) and spray some adhesive to hold the leather in place.  ???  I do have some rough textured beige fabric to try my overall design on.  I may find another design to use but so far I've found only two and don't want to overload it.  (He doesn't like rattlesnakes-I have a lot of those!!!!!!)  Just joking.  If you have any suggestions I'd love to have them.  Thanks  Sue

          1. MaryinColorado | | #7

            I just don't have the experience you need for recommending embroidering on leather.  Maybe Threadkoe or someone else on here does?  I suggest you start a new thread under the "embroidery" heading and ask about this specifically.  Sorry I couldn't help more. 

            You might check http://www.emblibrary.com for some masculine designs.  What format does your emb. machine have? 


          2. MaryinColorado | | #8

            I think it would look cool to embroider the design on another piece of fabric, then finish the edges with a satin stitch to make a patch, attatch the patch to the leather with maybe a blanket stitch with 12wt. Sulky Cotton Blendables or something like that. 

            There are alot of masculin or Western designs like ropes, horses, kokopelli, a spiral squared rather than in a circle, chilie peppers, bears, eagles, wolves, geese, fish, elk, antelope, deer, or maybe a fishing theme or sports theme, tractors, fenceposts, cactus, lizards, geckos, scarecrows maybe? 

            I made one of my grandson's a quilt with tigers all over it.  I didn't use batting at all but used polar fleece as a backing fabric and used 12wt. Sulky cotton blendables in the serger with a wrapped hem.  It turned out great.

            I'm working on one for my grandson who is in high school now.  It is a crazyquilt with his high school colors, sports he either loves or participates in, skulls, flames, race cars, playing cards, soduku, chess, guitars, drums, musical notes, fishing, archery, etc.  Bet you think I'm a bit crazy on this one, but it explains why it's a crazyquilt, right?  It's taking me forever! 

            I even found a beaver design and beaver fabric for my son's father in law because that's his RV's theme. 

            Give it some more thought and don't feel rushed, wait until the right compostion comes to you and you can't go wrong!  He will appreciate your gift and know that it comes from your heart.  Mary

            another thought:  leather looks cool with just an irregular edge too.  Dreamcatchers or spirit animals are another Western theme.  There are alot listed under Native American too. 

            Edited 4/27/2009 12:49 am by MaryinColorado

          3. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #9

            I have some limited experience with embroidering on leather. It was mostly name drops on sleeves. The other was a Large Name on the edge of a pair of chaps, where the zipper goes.For the chaps, we hooped stabilizer, and used temporary spray glue to hold the item in place, and hooped over that with with a wash away stabilizer, just to hold the whole thing in place, just in case. Just over the area, we could hoop over. You just can't hoop over a heavy leather and zipper. We then just picked out the stabilizer, didn't use water. The lettering had to be digitized to be looser and more open. If the needle punctures are too close, the leather tends to cut out. If you check out the sewouts on something like a Harley jacket, you will see the sewing is fairly open. It is more for effect, not as precise.
            More of a zig zag than a close fill stitch. If you want a full colour fill, consider an applique with a zig zag stitch instead.
            Another option is to use a leather colour under the stitching.

            Use a piece of fake leather or upholstery leather for a practice piece. It will sew out fairly similar, and is a lot cheaper to practice on. The stitch lengths need to be longer or wider, and you tend to need a slower stitch out speed as well, depending on how stiff the leather is. You are better to have a slight zig zag than a really straight line if the stitches are going to line up. Softer leathers stitch out nicely, just like fabric, stiff leather like canvas.
            I hope this makes some sense to you and is at all helpful. I am a little scatterbrained this am. Any other things you need to ask, just ask, as I have probably forgotten something..... Cathy

  3. jjgg | | #3

    Don't use water soluable stabilizer unless you plan to wash the garment. Assuming you are using silk chiffon, and not poly, it can withstand very high hear. I use several layers of Sulky's heat away stabilizer. This can be messy and it takes a while to iron it and heat it away, but it works beautifully.

    I had to do a scalloped edging on some chiffon, it came out so perfect, no puckering, no waviness etc. Embroidery lays flat and smooth.

  4. Pattiann42 | | #10

    I don't know why this discussion went from Chiffon to Leather, but here is a tutorial for embroidering on organza that may help you.



    Edited 5/3/2009 3:59 pm ET by spicegirl1

    1. Palady | | #11

      >> I don't know why this discussion went from Chiffon to Leather ... <<   Maybe because postings can be likened to a conversation amongst people. 

      One subject is initiated, but as it continues other similar or related (or unrelated) comments are injected, which in turn takes everyone on yet another tangent.  Eventually the all comes full circle somehow.

      A chairperson conducting a meeting has the challenge of keeping the discussion on the agenda target.  On message boards, the chair is absent.  But this is what makes message boards more entertaining.  MO of course.

      Thank you for the URL you posted on chiffon embroidery.  It should serve the need quite well.



      1. Pattiann42 | | #12

        It was a rhetorical statement.  No explanation or approval needed.

        Edited 5/14/2009 9:16 pm ET by spicegirl1

        1. Palady | | #14


      2. MaryinColorado | | #15

        I'm so glad that we don't have a "chairperson" here!  I enjoy the friendly informative chats we have here too.  The sites with "thought police" are just too uptight for my taste! 

        With the wash away stabilizer, I don't always wash it away, it pulls away quite easily too.  I don't know if any residual might do at a drycleaners though.  Mary

  5. poodlemum | | #13

    Hello, I have used this technique and it is best to put a couple of layers underneith to help stableize it. If it is a design and you are going to put it on another project put some fray check on the outside satin stitches.

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