The Secret Guide to How to Embroider Stretchy Material

Fact Checked By:Aithley Balder

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An Easy Tips & Tricks: How to Embroider Stretchy Material

Stretchy “technical” fabrics aren’t going away anytime soon in today’s fashion. There are many different types and names, but the common denominator amongst them all is the inclusion of spandex or comparable material to the fabric’s mix.

Due to their improved flexibility and moisture-wicking characteristics, tech fabrics make up the bulk of high-end golf shirts.

Instructions on How to Embroider Stretchy Material

embroidery design tips

You may have some difficulty in the embroidery process depending on the quantity of spandex used in the clothing. If you’re prepared and follow the right procedures, they’ll be no more difficult than other types of knitting. Some of the most difficult decisions you’ll have when it comes to embroidery are choosing outfits that will work well for you, and stretchy materials are among them.

How to Embroider Stretchy Material | What You Should Know Before You Start

Discuss with your client what sorts of patterns work best for embroidery on these kinds of items. Satin stitch patterns with few or no fill stitches are best suited to the material’s flexibility. It’s a terrible idea to use large, full-back or full-front patterns on products that are going to be stretched often. Remember to tell your digitizer as well. When designing with stretchy materials, it is common to reduce the density of the design so that it may flex more easily.

Technique of Hooping

With a fabric’s slippery surface, hooping method is essential. Wrap the embroidery hoop’s inner ring around the needle to do this. Cotton sports tape, like the sort hockey players use on their sticks’ handles, is a suitable option for this.

The tape is barely sticky, so it won’t leave a residue on the items in the hoop when it’s removed from the hoop. Other types of tape may be used, but be cautious not to use a too-strong adhesive that can harm clothing and create a sticky mess when the tape is removed.


Cut-away backing or tear-away backing may be used to stabilize the material. Laying the material at an angle is an excellent means of stabilizing the material. The grain of cut-away and tear-away non-wovens, despite the fact that they don’t have one, tends to “give” in a certain direction. Maximum support may be achieved with the least amount of “give” by angling two pieces of backing together.

Hooped in along with the garment is a piece of backing that is big enough to cover the whole hoop. Adhesive spray may also be used to help secure the stabilizer to the cloth. As a result, there will be less danger of it moving about when it is being embroidered.

Place the garment on a level surface and push the inner hoop ring to the outside ring until it is flush. There should be no movement in the fabric around the hooped piece’s inner edge. If shifting is detected, remove the hoop and do the test again. Fabric movement may be caused by hoops that are too tightly adjusted. A loosening screw could be necessary to handle the extra weight of wrapped hoops, so keep that in mind.

Tension in the Fabric

Stitch registration accuracy and the creation of garments that look great and last a long time both depend on adequate fabric tension. When dealing with a fabric that stretches more than you are accustomed to, this becomes more challenging. Pulling the cloth too firmly in the hoop is a common blunder that results in a puckered appearance when the pattern is stitched.

To avoid this problem, measure how far the garment will be stretched out on the body before hooping it. It’s important to make sure that the rear of the garment doesn’t float beneath the hoop.

Choosing the Right Needle and Thread for Your Project

Stretch knits have a larger requirement to distribute the strands, rather than piercing them, than other knits. Use a ballpoint needle with a narrow tip to limit the perforation of the elastic strands.

Size 10/70 or 11/75 light ballpoint needles work well for most flexible stretchy materials. If needle deflection is an issue on heavier stretch fabrics, it may be essential to use a medium ballpoint needle in a size 11/75. Because even ballpoint needles may grow dull or burred, this is a problem for stretchy textiles.

When sewing with rayon, cotton, polyester or metallic threads, bear in mind that these threads will put greater stress on the garment than rayon or cotton threads. You should warn your buyer of the metallic’s tendency to abrasively damage sensitive textiles.


These textiles need special attention when it comes to finishing. The pattern may be distorted if the backing is removed with too much force. Remove the backing one layer at a time if it has more than one. Remove the cut-away backing by using tiny embroidery scissors and moving them over the fabric. Fabrics with a high proportion of spandex are vulnerable to the tiniest of nicks.

Ensure that any back threads between letters or design segments are clipped, since these threads might be damaged and harm the embroidery if the garment is stretched during use. If you have loosened your top tension in order to reduce the stress on the garment, it is possible that the satin stitch columns may unravel.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Is it possible to embroider on stretchy fabric?

When embroidering on stretch materials using a machine, use a ballpoint needle to prevent the fabric from being harmed in the process of the embroidery. Instead of penetrating the cloth during stitching, this kind of needle has a rounded tip that pushes the fibers to the side while working. This prevents holes from being created in the work. Needle size 70/10 is required for all knits that are considered lightweight.

Which embroidery background works best with stretchable fabric?

On particularly elastic textiles, a fusible backing is often employed. When the fabric has been fused to the garment, the backing and the fabric combine to form a single, stable substance. It may also be used to cover over a completed piece of needlework, such as on an infant’s onesie, when the baby’s skin would otherwise be irritated by the stitches and the backing of the embroidery.

Is special thread required for stretchable fabric?

Because it has some give when it is stretched, general-purpose polyester thread will work just fine. It is not suggested to use cotton thread. You may want to use elastic thread if the thing you’re sewing has to have some stretch to it or if it needs to conform to the shape of the body. You must wound elastic thread onto the bobbin of your sewing machine by hand, and you must only use elastic thread.

What embroidery tension should I use?

When embroidering on a machine, the tension dial should be adjusted to a setting that falls anywhere between 2 and 6. If the stitches seem too loose, adjust the tension so that it is slightly tighter and then embroider again.

Is the fabric that stretches knit or woven?

Products that are knitted are designed to be stretchy and often do not have any kind of fasteners, such as buttons or zippers, that may be used to put them on. Therefore, if you are going to be making a pull-over shirt, you will most likely be utilizing a knit fabric for the garment.

What level of tension works best for a cloth that stretches?

Your cloth will get distorted if the pressure is set too high, since this will cause it to stretch. It will have a rippling appearance. To prevent this, adjust your presser foot pressure. A setting of 1 or lower is recommended for knit textiles the vast majority of the time.

Is it okay to use polyester thread on stretchable fabric?

Polyester thread is a kind of man-made thread that may be used for any purpose. It is a suitable option for the majority of sewing jobs, including those done by hand and by machine. Because it has so much give, polyester thread is an excellent choice for use with flexible materials. This thread often has a wax or silicone finish applied to it, which allows it to readily pass through the cloth without becoming caught.

What’s the difference between elastic and stretchy?

The answer is that stretchable is capable of being stretched whereas elastic is capable of stretching; more specifically, elastic is capable of extending in such a way that it can return to its previous form or size when a force is removed from it.

Do you stretch the elastic before you stitch it?

It is imperative that you stretch both the elastic and the cloth as you sew in order to avoid creating tucks and pinches in the process. When you are finished, the elastic waistband will appear exactly the same as it would if you had sewed it into a casing instead of sewing it directly onto the fabric.

Embroidery Design Tips Video

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Aithley Balder

Hello there, my name is Aithley Balder from Texas. I am a cookware, sewing, toilet, technology enthusiast and I have been sharing my passion with my friends and likeminded folks for close to 4 years now. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via the contact page.

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