Embroidering on Problematic Fabrics

by Leanne Church


Project Description

This project involves creating the Echidna Sewalong Dog Jacket and then applying the Lindee Goodall and Animal Welfare League embroidery designs onto it. As the material used was fur and heavily patterned, I have created an instructional tutorial to show you how to create a background for your embroidery design to make things a little easier.

The project itself was very easy and recommended for beginner sewers. The embroidery designs by Lindee Goodall were also easy to follow with clear, step-by-step instructions.

How I Created This Project

I have used fur for the fabric and a stretch lining, which can be a very problematic combination. Therefore, I wanted to share with you some tips and tricks that I discovered along the way to deal with this type of fabric and pattern choice.

To start with, I marked out the pattern on the fur fabric on the right side with a sharpie pen. I wouldn’t normally do this on a garment but for this occasion it was much easier to see and since it was a pet project, I figured I could get away with it.

Embroidery Tips

  • I printed out the template on Echy Trace to make embroidery design placement so much easier.

Printing the template on Echy Trace

  • Using an Eyelet Cutter I punched a hole in the centre of the template and then drew the centre marks on all four sides. This way made it easy to know exactly where to place the design on the garment.

Echidna July Charity- Animal Welfare league 02

  • Stitching the two unfavourable fabrics together can be difficult, so I recommend using a walking foot to help combat the movement between the fabrics.

Embroidery Designs Problems

If you’re embroidering a running stitch or satin stitch embroidery design on pattern fabrics or fabric will pile then you may run into some issues, like I did. Depending on the thickness of the fur, the embroidery design can sink in and make the design very hard to read.

Echidna July Charity- Animal Welfare league 04

When completing this project I thought a motif fill, which can be created in either Brother My Design Centre or Embrilliance Software, would help enhance the design. However, after embroidering it onto my garment I felt that it just didn’t work with the fabric and pattern choice.

My solution to this:

Embrilliance Enthusist has a great feature called a knockdown stitch, which you can use with any embroidery design. This allows you to add an open density background stitch to hold down the fibres/pile of the fabric prior to embroidering your logo. This works fantastic on fur and towelling.

Echidna July Charity- Animal Welfare league 03.jpg

I would still use a SuperSolve Topping to hold down the fibres, as this prevents the fur from coming through during the embroidery process.

Echidna July Charity- Animal Welfare league 05

Adding Knockdown Stitches with Embrilliance by Lisa Shaw

Watch this informative video by Lisa Shaw explaining how to add a knockdown stitch to your embroidery design using Embrilliance Enthusiast.

Tips to create a background knockdown stitch for your garment

  • Try to avoid heavy fill stitches over fill stitches
  • You could stitch this out in the colour of the background or a totally different contrasting colour.
  • To fix my original mistake I cut out a square of the fabric, embroidered it again using the knockdown stitch and then ironed it onto my fabric with some Hot Melt Web. You could then sew a zigzag or blanket stitch around the edge to secure it to your fabric, which ends up looking like a badge, hiding the original mistake.

How to Create a Stamp Pattern using My Design Centre

If you’re using a Brother Dream Machine or PR1050X which has My Design Centre, you can also create a stamp of the original design. This would apply a background embroidery design to your fabric in a similar way the knockdown stitch is used.

Watch my instructional video explaining how to create a stamp pattern to use as a background image for your embroidery design.

Tip: Adjust the density of the fill pattern in My Design Centre to 90%.  This will ensure that the embroidery design isn’t so dense allowing you to embroider the new design over the top.

Echidna July Charity- Animal Welfare league 06.jpg

Sewing Tips

  • Pin or use quilting clips right around the coat and make sure you remove the pins before they slide under the foot of your machine.
  • Try using a stretch straight stitch setting on your machine. Alternatively, you could use an overlocker for these types of fabrics.
  • The walking foot was also great for putting on the Velcro as it just glided straight over the top of the fabric. Plastic Velcro and metal feet don’t always mix so a walking, roller or Teflon foot may be suitable.

    Echidna July Charity- Animal Welfare league 07.jpg

I hope you enjoyed my tips, tricks and instructional video. This was a really fun project and if you follow the pattern and instructions you’ll be sure to create a gorgeous coat for this month’s charity Sewalong! Thank you to everyone who has donated, helping our furry friends stay warm this winter!

For more information please visit the July Charity Sewalong for the Animal Welfare League Australia post.

Also, a big thanks to my neighbour’s dog Rosie for modelling my creation. My dogs were too small and Rosie was more than obliging to snuggle into this jacket. Isn’t she cute!


Happy sewing and embroidering!

2 thoughts on “Embroidering on Problematic Fabrics

  1. Coral Hoffmann says:

    Leanne you have just solved a huge query as every one on a web site has had doubts that this knockdown stitch was not possible on the Dream , so I thank you for that very informative video . I stumbled by accident across your valuable info on this site, so Leanne is there a way for me to know when you post some more info, as I need all the info possible to try & master this superb machine & as you guessed it—- iam still without any body close to my doorstep that has a dream where we can share some learning curves. . Do you expect to be doing any more Videos ??
    Many Thanks Coral


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