The fibers of these delicate fabrics are not capable of handling embroidery alone and require extra care in keeping the fabric from shredding. Your first step to beautiful embroidery on these types of fabrics is to fuse one layer of Floriani Dream Weave® to the back of the fabric. Floriani Dream Weave® is a six way stretch, very sheer, fusible interfacing that gives the fabric body without bulk and preps it for heavy needle penetration. Your next step is to stabilize. The flexibility and softness of Floriani's No Show Nylon Mesh makes it a perfect choice. For fabrics that have stretch, use the fusible version. Simply press the shiny, fusible side to the wrong side of the fabric using a low temperature setting (silk or 260o) on your iron. If the design you choose to embroider is larger than 8,000 stitches, place one piece of Floriani's Medium TearAway in the hoop along with the mesh for extra stability. The tear away will be removed from around the design once it is stitched leaving the soft mesh only. It is also appropriate to "float" the tearaway between the hoop and bed of the machine if using Floriani Fusible No Show Mesh.
"My delicate fabric can't be hooped"
The very best method in achieving perfect embroidery is to hoop the fabric when possible. "Tight as a drum" like tension will result in the perfect stitch out. However, when dealing with some silks and satins you can get "hoop burn". Hoop burn is created from the inner and outer hoops rubbing a ring into the fabric that won't wash out. In this instance you should use Floriani's Wet N Stick® stabilizer, which is a 1.5 oz tear away with a revolutionary, water activated adhesive on it to hold a garment in place. To use this method of hooping:
Place one piece of Wet N Stick®, shiny side up, into the hoop and make sure it is "tambourine skin" tight.
Apply a small amount of water to each corner and one drop in the center using a foam paint brush, envelope sealer, or sponge. Do not spritz or mist the water. Spread the water over the surface of the stabilizer with your finger and you will feel it become tacky almost instantly.
Immediately apply the item to be embroidered to the hooped stabilizer and smooth out any wrinkles. Allow a few seconds for the item to adhere to the stabilizer so that it doesn't shift during the embroidery process.
Complete the embroidery as normal.
After the design is done simply tear away the Wet N Stick®.
*Note: If you accidentally used too much water and find the item wants to be "as one" with the stabilizer simply lift the corner of the item, re-wet the stabilizer at the glue line and peel the item back as the "sticky" becomes activated again.
On average, Floriani Wet N Stick® should support a design with no more than 10,000 stitches and/or around 4" x 5" in size. If the design has a higher stitch count, simply "float" a square of Floriani Medium TearAway between the hoop and the bed of the machine to support the additional stitches. And don't forget your topping if working with uneven textures!
*It is still recommended to fuse the Dream Weave® and/or the nylon mesh onto to back of the silk or satin even if using the "stick down" method of hooping. This ensures that the needle will not shred the fibers of the delicate fabric.
Tip! Use a Micro-Tex needle when embroidering on delicate fabrics. This needle is very sharp and extremely slender which means it won't poke large holes in the fabric!