14 Common Embroidery Mistakes

Embroidery Designs

A hobby can turn into a passion, and embroidery is no exception. Mastering this art will save from making mistakes, money, time, and frustration.

Here in this article, we will talk about the most common embroidery mistakes that can be made by both a newbie and an experienced embroidery digitizer.

1. Ignoring the Instructions

As a general rule, always read the instructions. Using the wrong number of embroidery floss strands and the thread is probably the most common mistake if you haven’t read the instructions. This can also mean running out of yarn before the project completion in case of knits. It can also result in a change of the thickness line than expected.


2. Choosing the Wrong Fabric Material

In the majority of the cases, the surface embroidery forms require a firm foundation of the fabric. They are often having a thread count of 28 or higher. Using a low-thread count embroidery fabric might result in poor stitch forms. To make a better surface, you can add a stabilizer. Pulled thread or counted thread projects require a loose and low thread count. This makes it effortless to pull and remove the threads and make stitches.

3. Choosing the Wrong Needle Size

Using the wrong needle size can damage your project. For instance, if the needle is too large, it can result in holes through the fabric and cause puckered fabric. On the other hand, if the needle is too small, it can cause unnecessary wear on fabric and thread.

4. Using a Sharp Needle Instead of a Ball-Point Needle

It would be best if you used both needles where appropriate. Use a sharp needle and thread when you need to pierce the fabric as in crewel and surface embroidery. Whereas, use a ball-point needle when you need to slip the needles between the fabric threads without piercing them.

5. Making Knots at the Starting And Ending of the Thread

It is always a good choice to avoid making knots in your embroidery project. Perhaps it isn’t the worst mistake. But better avoid it as it is all about perfection in the design. Start with a new thread having either a waste knot or away knot or weave it into the back of previous stitches. Knots can cause unnecessary bulk on fabric, resulting in an unlying flat when mounted or pressed. And if you launder a project, the knots fight for themselves to set free.

6. Choosing the Wrong Thickness for Embroidery Thread

In general, we use more delicate threads on narrow lines and thicker embroidery threads for bold lines. To work for thinner lines, combine the threads to make a thicker thread and separate the embroidery floss into a single or group of strands to work for thinner lines. Also, if the thread is too thick for the fabric, it might cause problems as well.

It is because the fabric threads move and shift to accommodate the thread’s thickness that is used, causing puckering.

7. Using A Regular Pen For Marking

The good options for marking include a water-soluble fabric pen, fabric pencil, or a chalk pencil to mark your embroidery pattern on the fabric. Regular pens might bleed into the fabric if mishandled, or might wash out completely.

8. Using Heat-Transfer Pencils Instead of Water-Soluble Fabrics

Transfer pens and pencils are ideal for making iron-on designs but are permanent, meaning that the marked lines should be covered entirely with embroidery or show the finished project. For removing the marking from the final embroidery, use a water-soluble pencil or pen on your fabric. In case you have a doubt, test your pencil or pen on a piece of scrap fabric, so you are assured that it will wash out.

9. Not Using the Frame or Embroidery Hoop

Using an embroidery hoop, stretcher, scroll frame makes it easy to create accurate and well-formed stitches. They also help keep the tension consistent and help eliminate stitch distortion and puckering and keep it all clean as you will likely bunch the fabric as you stitch.

10. Rolling Fabric in the Wrong Direction on a Scroll Frame

This is another mistake; rolling fabric on bars of a scroll frame with the wrong sides of fabric rolling outside-facing your direction. This helps protect the fabric from oil on your hand or any airborne dirt and will keep the front clean as you stitch.

11. Forgetting To Remove the Hoop Before Storing

Remember always to remove your embroidery hoop before you put your work away for the day or before you store it for a long period. It can leave a crease on the fabric that can be difficult to remove as it is permanent. However, you can leave your project in a scroll frame or a stretcher frame as they don’t cause creases. It is a good practice to remove the needle from the fabric before storing it, in case it rusts.

12. Being in a Hurry to Fix the Mistake

Don’t be hasty if you have made a mistake. Fix the mistake slowly and carefully. Do not tug or pull the threads in order to remove them. Cut them carefully with a tweezer instead. This will help prevent the fabric from damaging.

13. Keeping the Needle in Direct Sunlight

Although many threads and fabrics in embroidery are usually fade-resistant, Mother Nature will find a way to fade your work when displayed in the sunlight regardless of which needle and thread brand you are using.

In order to avoid fading or sun damage, do not expose your needlework in the direct sunlight. And make sure that you use spacers between the UV-protective glass and needlework when framing your items.

14. Pressing Your Embroidery Piece Too Hard

You have worked hard to create a beautiful piece of artwork with precise dimensional stitching. Don’t ruin your project by pressing it harder as you would do on a t-shirt. Use the proper technique for pressing to avoid flattened stitches.


These are the 14 most common embroidery mistakes. If you still have any questions about custom embroidery, please reach out to us at our website MigDigitizing. We will be happy to assist you.

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