5 Best Fabrics for Hand Embroidery

There are actually many different types of fabric that can be used for hand embroidery. Different fabrics can have different weaves and thread counts. The fabric chosen for hand embroidery is going to depend on what type or technique of embroidery that is going to be done. The fabric will also depend on what type of project is being made. Linen, rayon blends, cotton, muslin, hemp, polyester/cotton blends, and bamboo are just some of the many fabrics that can be used for hand embroidery projects.
Kona Cotton– Versatile and great for various projects– Not as sheer as some cottons can be
European Linen Livingston– Rustic and classic look for home décor items– Requires pre-shrinking and careful handling
Kaufman American Made Muslin– Versatile and budget-friendly– May require dyeing for different colors
60″ Poly Cotton Broadcloth– Budget-friendly and versatile– Lighter weight may affect certain projects
9.3 oz. Canvas Duck Natural– Fun to embroider on and enjoyable to work with– Variations in color between fabric batches

Best Fabric for Hand Embroidery

Here are our fabric for hand embroidery reviews:

1. Kona Cotton

Kona Cotton Bahama Blue

This lightweight fabric is made from 100% cotton. Depending on the embroidery project, Kona Cotton can be a great background and a great canvas for hand embroidery. It is a versatile project and can be used in many different projects including quilting, apparel, and more. This cotton broadcloth comes in many different colors.

  • Kona Cotton is not as sheer as some cottons can be
  • Machine wash cold, tumble dry on low heat
  • Budget friendly and comes in over 400 different colors

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2. European Linen Livingston

European Linen Livingston Indigo

When using linen for hand embroidery, it is a good idea to cut rinse and pre-shrink the linen ahead of time. Linen can be an excellent fabric for hand embroidery, depending on the type of embroidery being done and the weave of the linen. Some linens will be woven tighter than others.  Different types of embroidery can work on both heavier and lighter weight fabrics.

  • Fabric is a 55% linen, 45% cotton blend medium to heavyweight basketweave
  • Perfect for adding a more rustic and classic but still elegant look to home décor items like window treatments or toss pillows
  • Machine wash cold, tumble dry on low heat

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3. Kaufman American Made Muslin

Kaufman American Made Muslin Natural

Muslin can often be purchased in wider bolts of fabric because it is often used for quilting backing. Muslin is often unbleached or white, but can easily be dyed different colors. Muslin is often a good fabric for some types of hand embroidery. It is versatile and can be used for many different types of projects.

  • Machine wash cold, tumble dry on low heat
  • Budget friendly
  • Perfect for many other projects including quilting, apparel, costumes, lining, and more

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4. 60″ Poly Cotton Broadcloth

60 Poly Cotton Broadcloth Red

Broadcloth is an excellent fabric for many different projects. It comes in many different colors, is very budget friendly, and is versatile and generally holds up well. Broadcloth can be used for embroidery, but because it is a lighter weight fabric, the success of certain projects will depend on the time of hand embroidery being done.

  • Fabric is a blend of 65% polyester and 35% cotton
  • Machine wash cold, tumble dry on low heat
  • Comes in over 35 different colors

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5. 9.3 oz. Canvas Duck Natural

9.3 oz. Canvas Duck Natural 1

It can be very fun to embroider on cotton canvas fabric. Cotton canvas is often medium weight and often has a tighter weave than other fabrics. Many people find that stitching on canvas is quite easy and that hand embroidering on the fabric is enjoyable. Canvas is a very versatile fabric and can also be used for many projects.

  • Fabric is 100% cotton and is medium to heavyweight
  • Machine wash on warm without bleach, tumble dry
  • Different batches of this fabric can have variations in color, so be sure to purchase enough fabric for your project

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Fabric for Hand Embroidery Buying Guide

Hand embroidery can be done on many different fabrics. It can even be done on objects like lampshades or existing clothing items. There are different types of hand embroidery, so the types of fabric that can be used are quite diverse. Anything from lightweight all the way up to heaver weight fabrics can potentially work for hand embroidery.

Hand Embroidery on a Budget

Many fabrics like cottons, linens, muslin, linen/cotton blends, poly/cotton blends, canvas, and more can all be purchased quite inexpensively and are generally readily available. These fabrics are very diverse and can be used for many different projects, which is good news if you’re planning on making something with the fabric after it’s been embroidered. Blankets, quilts, pillows, window treatments, placemats, table runners, table cloths, aprons, apparel items, and more can all be hand embroidered and can all be made from these fabrics.


The type of embroidery thread used can actually make a difference when using different colored fabrics. You can do hand embroidery on many different types of fabrics, but almost any color can be used. Whites, beiges, and neutral fabrics are very popular choices for hand embroidery, but colored backgrounds can be used as well. It really is up to your personal preference, and what type of project you’re going to make.

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