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Foundations for Embroidery

Sara Curtis

Angel Chesney knows the importance of using the right tools for the project at hand, and it is something that she teaches her students of all experience levels in the many of classes she teaches as lead instructor at Meissner Sewing. This week, Angel is sharing some of her most important embroidery tips to help you get the best results out of your next embroidery project.

Learn more about Angel's unique path to sewing success by clicking here.

Browse Angel's list of upcoming classes!


  • Use an embroidery needle! They come in a bigger size (90/14) and a smaller size (75/11). I mostly use a 90/14.
  • A specialty finish like Chrome or Titanium will resist heat buildup which causes your needle to stick.
  • Your needle tip is worn off after 4 hours of sew time. Change it! Breaking stitches? Change it! Skipping stitches? Change it!


  • Polyester – Strong and colorfast, this is often our first choice. Excellent brands are Mettler’s Poly Sheen, Isacord, and Floriani.
  • Rayon – Created as a silk alternative. Purely decorative, it is not strong! It prefers to sew at speeds under 750 spm. A natural fiber, it doesn’t do well with chlorine bleach. Excellent brands are Jenny Haskins’ Rayon and Madeira.
  • Cotton – We don’t use it much in embroidery. It’s very linty, and has a matte finish. Best used when the directions specifically call for it. Try Mettler 50wt. or 60 wt. Silk-finished cotton.


  • Use cutaway stabilizer as much as you can. Only use tear away or washaway when you can’t use cutaway.
  • Not all stabilizers are created equal. It is worth paying for quality: you ultimately use less!
  • It’s hard to overstabilize, and very easy to understabilize.
  • If the fabric stretches it NEEDS cutaway!
  • Make sure you use enough stabilizer for your stitch count. Click here to download the Floriani Stabilizer Workbook
  • There are 4 categories of stabilizer:
    1. Cutaway
    2. Tearaway
    3. Washaway
    4. Specialty
  • Angel’s Top 6 Stabilizers (Yes, in order!)
    1. Floriani No Show Mesh (lightweight cutaway)
    2. Floriani Tearaway Medium (tear away)
    3. Floriani Wet n Gone (washaway)
    4. Floriani Water Soluble Topping (washaway)
    5. Floriani Cutaway Medium (cutaway)
    6. Floriani Perfect Stick Cutaway (cutaway)
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