ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Successfully Embroider Sheer Fabrics

Updated on June 18, 2013

Sewing and embroidering on sheer fabrics can range from mildly challenging to completely exasperating! But don't despair, the learning curve can be shortened dramatically when you understand how to tame these slippery fabrics.

Setting the Foundation

Like most fabrics, sheer materials must be stabilized with backing before embroidery stitches are added. Determine the best material for backing by considering the following:

  • Fiber content
  • Thread count and the thickness of the threads making up the fabric
  • Care requirements of the completed garment (washable or dry-clean-only)
  • Density and size of the stitched design
  • Design stitches (placement and use of foundation stitches, type of fill stitches used and width of any satin or outline stitches)

Note: Foundation stitches are planned and produced before final decorative stitches arc sewn, securing the stabilizer to the fabric and helping prevent distortion during decorative stitch formation. They frequently outline or pad a design, and can consist of multiple rows.

Lots of different embroidery backings are available, with quality and selection continuing to grow and evolve to meet our needs. They vary in thickness, rigidity, availability, cost, and how easily they can be removed. It's best to stabilize sheer fabrics with water or heat-soluble backings. Many embroiderers have found that the thickest water-soluble stabilizers are best, preventing stitches becoming distorted and fabric tearing.



Sheer fabrics are a challenge for embroidery because they are thin and slippery, yet must still be held completely taut throughout the entire stitching process. To secure the fabric and avoid any hooping problems, use one of the following methods:

Wrap the inner hoop with 3/4” wide, bias-cut strips of a white cotton or flannel fabric. Overlapping the strips 1/4” pull firmly on the fabric to mold it around the hoop. Secure the strips with hand stitches.

Create a re-useable hooping aid from fabric or cut-away stabilizer cut slightly larger than tile hoop. Cut a window in the fabric slightly smaller than the hoop opening. Hoop this aid with your sheer fabric to add thickness and prevent the sheer fabric from slipping in (or out of!) the hoop. It can be positioned over or under the fabric and reused many times. Pin the sheer fabric to the comers of the hooping aid and hoop both layers as one. Ensure that the fabric being embroidered is grain-perfect by matching the lengthwise and crosswise grain lines in the sheer fabric with the horizontal and vertical center notches on the embroidery hoop.

Picking a Design

Designs that complement and enhance the fabric, rather than overpower it, will be pleasing to the eye and present the fewest challenges. Consider these suggestions:

  • Choose designs carefully, and always test-stitch on fabric scraps.
  • Avoid designs featuring dense, solid-fill stitching that will thicken and stiffen the fabric and prevent it from draping properly.
  • Try designs that allow the sheer fabric to show through the stitching. Open or outline designs work great.
  • Designs designed for cutwork are particularly appropriate allowing the sheer fabric to show in the areas normally removed.

Thread Selection

Always remember to choose thread that enhances a fabric. For sheer fabrics, keep the following in mind:

  • Consider the care requirements of your sheer garment, noting that most will need gentle care via dry-cleaning or hand-washing.
  • Experiment with different thread weights. A 40-weight thread is widely available and commercial designs are generally digitized for this variety. The 30-weight variety is heavier and will create a more dense coverage unless you adjust The design density using the manufacturer's software.
  • Metallic embroidery thread is beautiful on sheer fabrics, especially when used in combination with other thread types.
  • Twist threads (those created when two different colors are twisted together) produce gorgeous results on sheers, creating shaded and muted looks.
  • Choose bobbin thread carefully as it might show through the sheer fabric. You can wind the bobbin with matching embroidery thread, making the fabric almost reversible. Or, if time is an issue, use lightweight clear or smoke mono-filament nylon thread, eliminating the need to change the bobbin with each spool-color change during embroidery.

Note: When filling a bobbin with mono-filament nylon thread, fill slowly. Otherwise the thread might stretch in the process, and when it relaxes in the stitched piece, it will draw up and distort the design.

Tip: After stitching your design, carefully clip all thread ends and dot each sparingly with seam sealant, as sheers will release thread due to its relative unstable nature.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)