Everywhere you look these days you see denim. There are denim jackets and denim skirts. You’ll see cute little newsboy caps made out of denim, as well as denim purses and totes. You will also of course see many pairs of denim jeans. Denim is a very popular fabric, so most embroiderers will probably be asked to embroider on this material at least once in their careers. If you’ve never embroidered on denim before, you’ll find it has some unique challenges. Here are some tips to help make sure your denim embroidery goes smoothly.
Because denim is a twill weave, it can be difficult to stabilize. The weave runs diagonally, which allows the fabric to “give” and makes it more comfortable. That same diagonal pattern, however, makes it difficult to keep the grain of the fabric square in both directions. You will have to hoop the fabric carefully.
Always use a stabilizer behind your design. A good choice might be a cutaway stabilizer. Once the item is securely hooped, slip a square of tearaway backing under the design area. This combination of stabilizers has been shown to work with both regular and stretch denim.
Embroidering on denim also requires a heavy duty needle. A large embroidery needle, like a 90/14 needle, is recommended. Remember, most denim is thick fabric, so you’re going to need a needle that can handle repeatedly piercing through such fabric without going dull.
Make sure the color of thread in your designs is a nice contrast to the shade of denim on which you are embroidering. Lighter thread colors will show up nicely on darker denim. Darker thread colors will highlight your designs on lighter denim fabrics.