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How to Embroider Knit Fabrics

17th June 2008

How to Embroider Knit Fabrics

There are many types of fabric that can be embroidered.  Each type has its own characteristics and special needs if your embroidered garment is going to be successful.  Today I want to talk about knit fabrics, which can be a popular and profitable choice for things like golf shirts or polo shirts.   They also, however, are more stretchy than other fabrics, and can provide an unstable surface on which to embroider. If you do a lot of machine embroidery on knit fabrics, some of the tips given below may be of help.

Tip 1:  Make sure you use the proper backing-  Because knit fabrics are stretchy and light, they need a strong foundation if they are to be embroidered successfully.  There is concern that too heavy a backing will be uncomfortable for the wearer and drag the fabric out of shape.  Many embroiderers who embroider knit fabrics choose a mesh backing, like EnMart’s Super Poly Mesh, for use when stitching knit fabrics.

Tip 2:  Digitize Your Design for Knits – Stitches can sink into knit fabric, which is not the look you want your embroidery to have.   A key to stitching a good design into knits is using the proper underlay.  A fill underlay will help keep the stitches on top of fabric where they belong.  It will also add less stitches to the design and less risk of puckering the fabric than increasing the density of the design would do.

Tip 3: Use the Right Needle- Knit fabric is lighter and more porous than other fabrics.  The needle can pass through a knit fabric more easily.   When embroidering knit fabric, you need to use a needle which will not punch large holes through the fabric.  We recommend a ballpoint needle, like EnMart’s Chrome DB-K5BP.

Tip 4:  Choose the Right Design – Generally less dense and weighty designs work best on knit fabric.  A dense design with a lot of stitches may cause the fabric to pucker or pull. 

Here are some additional resources that give additional tips about embroidering knit fabrics:

How to Embroider on Thick, Thin, Stretchy or Stable Materials - Impressions Magazine

Knit Wits, Sew News

Machine Embroidery: A Marriage of Fabric and Design - Threads Magazine

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 17th, 2008 at 10:51 am and is filed under Machine Embroidery Tips. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

There are currently 4 responses to “How to Embroider Knit Fabrics”

Why not let us know what you think by adding your own comment! Your opinion is as valid as anyone elses, so come on... let us know what you think.

  1. 1 On March 9th, 2010, Dan Meyer said:

    Typically I do not make comments on blogs, but I have to mention that this post really forced me to do so. Really nice post

  2. 2 On May 21st, 2010, fabric sublimation said:

    If you want to imprint in your fabrics, in my opinion the best option is dye sublimation.
    Using this technique the imprints last longer in the tissue and the colors are more vibrant because the imprints are part of the material.

  3. 3 On March 7th, 2013, The EmbroideryTalk Series Posts » EnMart Embroidery Talk said:

    [...] How to Embroider Knit Fabrics  [...]

  4. 4 On May 14th, 2015, How To Embroider Knit Hats | Top 10 Amazing said:

    […] How to Embroider Knit Fabrics » EnMart Embroidery Talk – How to Embroider Knit Fabrics […] posted on March 7th, 2013 at 1:30 pm. Leave a Reply. Name (required) Mail (will not be published) (required) Website…. […]

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