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    Brother VR embroidery machine: embroidery in hard to reach areas

    Original text by Irina Lisitsa 
    To succeed in machine embroidery business, it is necessary to have a narrow arm extension that will allow you to embroider virtually any area of an item. Home sewing and embroidery machine lack this advantage and also lack a set of small frames. Brother VR embroidery machine is a unique piece of equipment that has the functionality of both home and industrial embroidery machines. 
    A narrow arm extension, a set of small embroidery frames developed specifically for the embroidery in hard to reach areas – here you find all of that, combined. 

    Embroidery in hard to reach areas: what is it? 
    To begin with, what are hard to reach areas and why machine embroidery in them has its unique features? Look at the picture below. The areas marked red are hard to embroider on a machine with a wide arm extension. If you compare the upper and the lower parts of the image, it'll become obvious that Brother VR allows you to position a design anywhere on an item. 

    Embroidery in hard to reach areas: how to? 
    Trousers are one classic example of a tough-to-embroider item. Cylindrical shape of a trouser leg prevents you from positioning it on a platform of a horizontal shuttle embroidery machine. Unseaming is an option, but what if you have no desire of doing so or your client objects?
    Cylindrical shape of the Brother VR embroidery machine platform allows you to hoop the trouser leg without opening the side seams. Hooping becomes much easier if you attach a stabilizer, hoop the trouser leg and slip it on a narrow arm frame. 

    You can embroider almost any area of an item on a cylindrical frame. 
    With Brother VR, you'll be able to embroider the upper part of a sleeve in blouses and shirts, which is why you need a small frame. The machine is equipped with a wide selection of frames that are suitable for the variety of tasks. For the embroidery on pockets, use a flat frame of a corresponding size, this will allow you to avoid ripping the finishing line and to keep the factory-made seams. 

    Brother VR embroidery machine: embroidery in hard to reach areas made easy! 

    An appliqué eyelet for a terry towel

    Original text by Marina Belova 
    Let me switch off from the chevrons and show you how to make an eyelet for a terry towel (or any other towel, for that matter) with an ordinary patched appliqué. Here is a result of my efforts: a vibrant towel. It's a perfect time for it as the spring that keeps failing to come: 

    This time, a well-known Smart Needle website inspired me to do the embroidery, so I decided to try. But I wanted something more delicate for a design. 
    In search for a suitable one, I sifted through a bazillion of variants and settled at last on an Art Nouveau flower to which I added one more whorl for my eyelet. I got this: 

    So I created a pattern. I decided against a double-sided appliqué, which it's commonly used for eyelets. My design is far too complex for that: 

    I chose the fabrics for the flower: thin cotton pieces, something akin to muslin. 

    After that, I proceeded to the most difficult part of the project – to the embroidery. 
    As I was going to embroider at the very corner of a towel – an appliqué, of all things, going beyond its edge, – I wouldn't be able to hoop it. I'd need to glue it to a stabilizer. For that reason, I hooped 2 layers of a thin tear-away stabilizer with long fibers: 

    Loaded the design into the machine and started the embroidery. First, I stitched the guideline in the corner. This is a very useful reference point for the precise positioning of a towel in the hoop: 

    I sprinkled the stabilizer with a temporary spray adhesive and carefully tried to align the corner of my towel with the embroidered line: 

    After that, I started the machine again and stitched a guideline for the appliqué fabrics. This very stitch would also serve for additional stabilization because one cannot rely on the temporary spray adhesive when dealing with terry cloth: 

    I put a piece of fabric prepared for the leaves and stalks: 

    And secured it with a small zig-zag, as it is my custom: 

    Now we've come to the interesting part – trimming the extra fabric along the perimeter:
     
    Terry cloth is not very easy to cut. No matter how good are the scissors: with the duckbill or the rounded ends – there still is a possibility of slashing the loops. Wouldn't it be great if... 
    Having done the trimming, I replaced an ordinary bobbin thread with a green one, the same color I would embroider the stalks: 

    After that, I switched on the machine and embroidered the borders around the stalks and leaves: 

    As I embroidered at the corner of the towel and the hemline was rather thick there, I expected the needle breakage. But there was no such thing. I think that on a home machine this trick will not work, with all these layers. 
    Because of the loops being small and sparse, I decided against a water-soluble film or a plastic bag in order to avoid loops showing through the stitches. It turned out to be a bad decision: the loops still showed through in places where there was no appliqué fabric under the satins.
    Under the appliqué border everything was perfect, but under the embroidery, the things weren't quite so good. It's not exactly a tragedy, but a number of loops managed to come through, especially between the split satins. 
    After that, the machine stopped and I put the next piece of fabric for my flower: 

    I also changed the green bobbin thread for a pink one: 

    I hit the start button and stitched the pink fabric along the perimeter of the flower: 

    Now I trimmed the extra pink fabric: 

    Started the machine again and embroidered the rest of the design: 

    Took it off the machine. The wrong side looks quite decent, the only thing I need to do is to remove the stabilizer:
     
    Here, I tore the most part of it away: The only place where I chose not to tear it was on the eyelet. But inside the eyelet there was a small digitizing mistake: 

    If the stitches ran perpendicular to the edge and not along it, they wouldn't have frayed after I removed the stabilizer. But his can be repaired – all I have to do is to gather the threads and to sew them back on. Let nothing be wasted. 

    Now I need to see how the embroidery will behave after many washings. I'm curious.

    Connectors between the objects and inside them in machine embroidery

    Original text by Marina Belova 
    A connecting stitch serves to join different objects or segments of one object in machine embroidery. 
    There are 3 types of connectors: 
    Walking stitch – joins the objects (segments) with a running stitch.  Jump – no visible connection between the objects.  Run – a thread runs between the end of one object and the beginning of another.  I'll tell you a bit about each of these types of connector stitches. 
    Walking (travel) stitch 
    A walking stitch can be inserted between separate objects of one color as well as inside the object of a simple or a complex branched shape. 
    In the picture below you can a walking stitch between the end of one object and the beginning of another – a classic travel stitch between the outlines. The objects are located at some distance. 

    Travel stitches are commonly used when it is possible to hide them under other objects that will be embroidered later. 
    Walking stitches between the objects of one color aim at minimizing the number of trims in the design and reduce the time spent on the embroidery. 
    Notice that this trick won't work if the travel stitch is of a dark color whereas the upper layer of stitches is light-colored because the dark thread will shine through the light-colored fill and you'll be forced to trim. If the distance between the objects is up to 1.5–2 mm, you can spare the trim and use a walking stitch instead. 
    Walking stitches between the segments on one object are shown below. 

    In our days, when the digitizer's work is largely done by embroidery editors a digitizer only enters the parameters of the walking stitches, such as stitch length, the location of the stitch inside the object or at its edge, the amount of overlap between the segments, and the software defines their path. 
    Walking stitches originated in manual punching times when there was no embroidery software. In those days one complex shape was divided into several simple ones depending on the stitch angle. And the simple shape was split into segments in accordance with the start and finish points in it. The puncher connected all the segments with the running stitches. This laid the foundations for today's walking stitches inside the outline. 
    The advantages of walking stitches before jumps and trims 
    the machine works at a higher speed  less thread breakage and thread slipping out of the eye  lesser time and higher productivity  Jumps 
    Jumps are used to connect objects that are located at a distance so that the walking stitch cannot be applied. You get jumps when the machine moves the hoop but does not stitch. Usually, an automatic trim is inserted before the jump if the machine has a trimmer. There are no threads between the objects when using this connector – they are cut. 

    As I stated in my article about embroidery navigation, it's better to minimize the number of trims in the design in order to avoid thread and needle breakage and thread slipping out of the needle. The economic factor should also be considered: every trim adds 7 seconds to the embroidery time and equals to approximately 65 stitches. That is, every trim slows the production. 
    Runs 
    Runs are almost the same thing as jumps. Just as jumps, they are used to connect the objects at a distance from each other. Only in this case, there is a thread between the exit point of one object and the enter point of another, though the machine doesn't stitch. You get this when the trim command has not been inserted. This is how it looks: 

    This way of connecting objects in a design is quick and convenient for a digitizer, for you don't even have to think whether a trim is needed.
    But, in my opinion, it adds the problem of cleaning after the embroidery is completed. Besides, some of the runs get under the objects that are embroidered later. And it is quite a task to clean the embroidery afterward, which is not at all economically efficient if you have line production. 

    Embroidery on handkerchiefs or My "discovery" of Filmoplast

    Original text by Marina Belova 
    I've long wanted to write about Filmoplast yet couldn't get to it: either there was no Filmoplast or a suitable project. Finally, I figured out what I can do: I'd embroider a monogram on a handkerchief and show you how to use this sticky paper and what purposes does it serve. This article is aimed at those unfamiliar the subject. And yet... 
    Although I've learned how to use this paper a long time ago (or so it would seem), I was somewhat surprised when I visited the manufacturer's website in order to see the first-hand instructions. When you are not swamped with work and stop approaching everything from a professional standpoint, you are suddenly left with the time on your hands for experimenting and education. This makes me infinitely happy. When the work piles around, you rarely get a change to stick your head out and see what's outside. Though I may be the only one who thinks so. 
    But let's call Filmoplast to the stage. 
    Filmoplast is a paper covered with adhesive. You don't need an iron to glue it to the fabric, just hoop it with the checkered side up, tear away the protective skin (the one in checkers) that covers the adhesive and stick everything you like to it. 
    This is how the Filmoplast looks: 

    The checkers, as I take it, are necessary for precise hooping, and after you've removed the upper layer, the leftovers will help to align the item on Filmoplast. 
    This paper is meant to enable the embroidery machine users to embroider on delicate fabrics and other materials, for which hooping might not be a very good idea: velvet, leather, dense corduroy, paper, and so on. That is, the materials prone to the hoop burn or those impossible to hoop simply because of their volume, such as thick terry cloth (the frames on home embroidery machines are too thin and ineffective for this fabric). Additionally, Filmoplast was intended for highly stretchy fabrics that list elastane among their components. Another purpose of using
    Filmoplast is to hold various small size items inside the hoop without any special devices. For instance, cuffs, collars, ribbons, etc. Gunold even suggested embroidering caps with the help of Filmoplast. I didn't try it and, therefore, can't offer any comment. 
    In my opinion, Filmoplast is nothing more than a costlier analog of the good old tear-away stabilizer + temporary spray adhesive combination. I myself prefer the stabilizer + adhesive combo simply because no matter how the German manufacturer praises Filmoplast as a stabilizer, it doesn't really stabilize anything, making it necessary to place something under the hoop so that to avoid embroidery defects. 
    Besides, I utterly dislike the way Filmoplast comes off the wrong side. It either sticks sure as death and then tears off in tiny bits with fibers in them (velvet pile, for example) or it doesn't hold to the fabric and peels off during the embroidery so that you have to reattach it, which causes various mishaps with the outer look of the embroidery. Hence, not every fabric can be embroidered on this paper. 
    So what did surprise me in the instructions on the German website? The way you can save on this rather costly material – it turned out that you only have to hoop a big piece of it once. They show it in great detail with pictures. 
    And I'll show you how I embroidered handkerchiefs on Filmoplast. 
    So I hoop a piece of Filmoplast: 

    Make a cut in the protective skin: 

    Attach my handkerchief to the adhesive, aligning it with the checkers that were left over after I cut out a hole: 

    Embroider the design: 

    Carefully remove the handkerchief so that not to tear the Filmoplast: 

    Cover the hole in the paper with a small piece of Filmoplast which I press to the exposed adhesive: 


    Attach a new handkerchief and resume the embroidery: 

    This process goes on and on, until you've completed all the handkerchiefs. 
    Here are the two of mine: 

    Simple as that. It's never too late to learn. The thought wouldn't probably even cross my mind – I've always hooped a new piece of Filmoplast for every item. 
    To think of it, I've already described a similar technique, which can be regarded as an alternative to using Filmoplast – hooping a double-sided adhesive tape. In this case, I could put it under the hoop instead of sticking another, small piece of Filmoplast. 

    Thread expenditure in machine embroidery 

    Original text by Marina Belova 
    Every embroiderer ask himself or herself this question before beginning a new project: just how much threads will I need for it? 
    If you have a single-head embroidery machine, the answer is simple – you buy one or maybe two spools of each color, depending on the project size. Overall not too expensive. But when you need to buy threads for a multi-head embroidery machine, the price increases proportionately with the number of heads. Whereas the real thread expenditure for a whole batch of products is ludicrously small. You're lucky if the colors bought are in demand, and you'll be able to use them for your other projects. 
    Traditionally, the approximate amount of thread is calculated in the embroidery software. The process is very simple: open the file, read the design data and voila. The approximate upper thread to lower thread expenditure ratio is 3:1, at least, this what the embroidery software considers it to be. 
    I've never yet seen that thread expenditure estimated in an embroidery editor was correct. You always have to adjust it. I usually multiply it to 1.5–2. 
    There can be cases where it is impossible to open the file and to see the estimated thread expenditure. In a situation like this, you can turn to the manufacturers. Embroidery thread manufacturers also give you approximate algorithms for calculation. 
    For instance, Gunold suggests this formula for thread expenditure calculation: every 1000 stitches require about 5 m of the upper and 5 m of the lower (!) threads (1:1 ratio). This manufacturer also states that the higher the machine's speed, the more thread is used. Madeira equals every 1000 stitches to 3 m or the lower thread. 
    Gunold offers these thread expenditure figures in relation to the speed of the machine:
      Embroidery machine speed, rpm

    650

    850

    1000

    Estimated upper thread expenditure

    1092 m

    1428 m

    1680 m

    Estimated lower thread expenditure

    765 m

    1000 m

    1175 m

    It is not clear what stitch length people making all these calculations had in mind. The longer is the stitch, the more thread it will take. Chances are that an average value of 3–4 mm was used as a basis. Besides, nobody in the real world takes into account the thread tension on every head of a particular machine. If the upper thread is loose, the expenditure will be higher. More than likely, the manufacturers made their calculations for an ideal situation: 2/3 of the upper and 1/3 of the lower threads. Unfortunately, there are no algorithms that include the fabric thickness for better precision. 
    Therefore, one should approach all those figures with caution. Trusting the figures given by a manufacturer used to lead me into traps. The real thread expenditure is much higher than the estimate. In all appearance, it's due to the reasons listed above. 
    For example, Madeira and Amann write that one spool containing 5 km of #40 threads is enough for 1 million stitches. Respectively, a spool containing 1 km of threads should be enough for ~200 thousand stitches. 
    In other words, Madeira and Amann suggest that it takes 4.6 m of the upper and 2.3 of the lower thread for every 1000 stitches. That is, the ratio here is 2:1. 
    There are great discrepancies, as you can see. But using even those unreliable figures is better than buying threads in a hit-and-miss fashion. 
    By the way, there is a website with an online calculator for those who are too lazy to calculate the thread expenditure themselves. 

    Adding volume to the embroidery with the help of the underlay

    Original text by Marina Belova 
    The August issue of the Impressions magazine contained an interesting article called Puffy Letters: Foam vs. Faux Foam by Lee Caroselli-Barners, in which a method of adding volume to the embroidery without using the 3D Puff was described. The method in question is quite similar to the traditional way of adding volume using multiple layers of understitching. Though it is unlike everything I've seen before due to the very low density in the upper layer of the embroidery and also due to the same stitch angle in the underlay and the finishing layer of satins. The author has a view that the low density in the finishing layer of stitches contributes to the effect of volume because of the dancing shadows created by it. She even invented a name for this method of adding volume to the embroidery – the Faux Foam. 
    So why does Lee think of it as an alternative to 3D Foam? The answer is simple. It's all about automation and speed so you don't have to rack your brain over the following factors: 
    You don't need to decide where to insert the walking stitches between the segments and the objects so as not to flatten the Puff.  You neither need to cover the open ends with caps that will perforate 3D Puff nor choose the right stitch angle for that same purpose.  You also don't need to avoid shortening.  The size of the design and its elements does not matter, you can make it the way you like.  No need to remove the 3D Puff leftovers using a variety of methods – the embroidery is clean.  Also, no need to buy 3D Puff.  Digitizing goes pretty much the same way as usual if you don't count the fact that you'll need to create 2 very dense layers of underlay for the wide elements and 1 layer for the narrow ones.
    Under narrow elements, put double zig-zags 0.4 mm dense, their width being ~75% of the width of the finishing satin columns. Under wide elements, 2 layers of double zig-zags 0.3 mm dense. The width of the first layer should be ~60% and the second one ~80% of the width of the finishing satin column. The density in the finishing layer of stitches should be almost halved: from 0.6 to 0.75 mm. Such are the secrets of this technique, in a nutshell.
    This is how the digitizing process should look: 

    Claims to the simplicity of creation of a puffy design sound very enticing, therefore, I decided to give the method a try so as to see the result and to decide whether the volume created in that way it is any different from the one created by other methods. So I created 2 variants of a simple CD monogram – for 3D Puff (on the left) and for the new technique: 

    The first impediment on my way was that not all machine embroidery editors allow the user to add as many layers of understitching as they please. As far as I know, only Wilcom has an automatic option of that kind (Wilcom is the software in which Lee, to whom have I have a lot of respect, creates all of her highly artistic designs). 
    Those who own other embroidery editors will have to invest a lot of effort into the process that cannot be fully automated. I myself spend quite a lot of time manually drawing one of the two layers of understitching under the big elements. One should point out that the geometry of the upper layer is the same in both cases, apart from the slight difference in pull compensation values. The thinnest outline in my design is 3.5 mm; that includes 0.6 mm pull compensation on each side. 
    Another surprise was the stitch count – it equaled 11700 with the Puff and 12455 without it. 
    This is me embroidering with 3D Puff: 

    Here the embroidery without the Puff is almost done: 

    Below is the result with the Puff leftovers removed: 

    Summary: 
    You can detect the difference in volume right away: the embroidery is much less puffy without the Foam (mine was soft) but puffy nevertheless. To my chagrin, it's hard to capture with my camera.  The 0.75 mm in the thin outline of the upper layer seems far from enough. The edge looks jagged. In my opinion, the play of light and shadow created by the difference in density between the underlay and the finishing layer doesn't result in the promised volume effect.  But the 0.6 mm works splendidly.  My vote goes for the Puff. But I admit that the Puff will be hard to cope with in 1.5–2 mm outlines. No matter how hard I try to find a replacement for this rather costly consumable material, it has few really good alternatives. 

    Mastering knitwear piqué

    Original text by Marina Belova 
    I've long wanted to focus on knitwear, and finally, I got around to it. The first thing I saw was piqué. I've heard numerous horror stories about this fabric and even embroidered some pretty awful designs on it, and now it's time to straighten it all out. 
    The key difference of piqué from an ordinary T-shirt is that it doesn't have a smooth surface. The texture of pique resembles honeycombs or a waffle. The fact that this type of knitwear is more vapory is what distinguishes it from the others and requires a special treatment. 
    My own (unsuccessful) attempt at the embroidery on this fabric proved that the most important task of a digitizer is to avoid puckering so that the embroidery is soft and pleasant in wear. 
    Embroidery on piqué – recommendations: 
    Use light ball point (SES) needles. The needle size should not be over #75; #70 is optimal. The rule is simple: a thinner needle will damage the fabric less.  It's better to use #40 or #60 soft threads, for example, rayon or cotton, for small details. You can use polyester as well, but it is generally regarded as being tricky.  Piqué should be hooped. Together with a stabilizer.  The hoop should be as small as possible for a particular design.  Stabilizers. On this subject, opinions vary greatly. Tradition says to use 2 layers of a cut-away middle-weight stabilizer under the dark knitwear, with strands running in different directions. Under the light knitwear, use one layer of spunbond (a non-show mesh) because the cut-away will show through, and besides, it is not pleasant in wear. Additionally, you may use a temporary spray adhesive.  Piqué may be covered with a water-soluble film. I think it would come in handy for small letters and small elements of the design so that they don't sink into the fabric.  When creating a design, it's better to avoid large areas, filled with stitches. Large details better to be replaced with appliques.  Standard density values are 0.4–0.45 mm. But openwork designs are considered best of all for piqué.  You should avoid long stitches in the design. 3–4 mm is an optimal stitch length.  Pull compensation should be no less than 0.4 mm.  Understitching – single and double zig-zags. They may be combined with the edge run. A full grid should be put under the fills (in case the filled areas are present in the design, after all). Underlay should be moved further away from the edges than on an ordinary fabric.  The embroidery should be sequenced from the center outwards.  Try to plan your embroidery sequence in such a way that complex objects are embroidered in one direction in order to avoid gaps.  Segment overlap: no less than 2 rows in the fills and no less than 2 stitches in the satins.  Frankly speaking, you'll never understand how a particular design should be embroidered until you actually embroider no matter how profound is your knowledge of theory. That's what all of the above is: a basic theory of embroidery on piqué, nothing more. I began fiddling with piqué with the basic settings that I use for simple fabrics, positioned my design on one layer of tear-away sprinkled with a temporary spray adhesive for additional stability and only then hooped the whole thing and hit the start button. I used this stabilizer because I didn't have any non-show mesh for knitwear and I was trying to use what was available. 
    The result was highly unsatisfactory – there were gaps between the neighboring outlines and there was also distortion. The fabric lost its shape while still in the hoop, which means that the stabilizer was ineffective: 

    This how the fabric looked after unhooping: 

    To get the whole thing right, I modified my design by increasing pull compensation both manually and automatically and also deliberately distorted the outlines in the direction I needed. Additionally, I put an underlay under the entire design, matching my fabric in color, that was meant to hold the design in place: After that, I placed my design on 2 layers of tear-away stabilizer and hit the start button. This is what I got: 


    The distortion was still there but it had been visibly reduced, which meant that I was going in the right direction. The only thing left was to get rid of such defects as the gaps between the stitches in the white area and in the green core. Having solved that problem, I stuck my piqué on a middle-weight cut-away adhesive stabilizer and embroidered my third piece. This one came out best: practically no puckering. 

    The resulting embroidery was rather dense. It appears that one can embroider a dense design on piqué if one chooses a right kind of stabilizer and modifies the design after doing some tests. In digitizing, guesswork will get you nowhere; you need to see the embroidered design to get a high-quality result. After having conquered this design, digitizing a twig from my article on contrasting colors for embroidery on piqué was kid's stuff: 

    It was an openwork design and the result was very soft and nice to the touch, which is a big advantage for a T-shirt. Even an openwork design didn't get puckered. 

    Objects to digitize in machine embroidery

    Original text by Marina Belova 
    It sometimes seems so strange to me when I hear questions the answers to which lie on the very surface. But then I realize that some newcomers might not be familiar it. 
    For instance, it always surprised me that every machine embroidery course teaches you to draw from scratch, explaining what exactly do you draw and how. Not everybody learns how to use graphics editing software before embarking upon creation of the machine embroidery designs. 
    So I won't discuss in a great detail precisely how and in what way the objects are created because it depends on the embroidery editor. Today I'll simply tell you what objects a user can draw. There only two types of such objects: 
    1. A line. A line can be open or closed. 

    The basic types of stitches that can be applied to the line: 
    Running stitch  Satin column  Cross stitch  E-stitch  Motif stitch (macros)  Manual stitch  An area. An area is usually a closed object of a varying shape. Why usually? Because some editors permit filling the areas within the open outlines. 

    The basic types of stitches that can be applied to the area: 
    Satin  Fill  Contour fill  Spiral fill  Radial fill  Applique  Cross fill  To know more about stitch types, click here. 
    What stitch type to choose for any object in particular, depends on its size, shape, outlines, its intended purposes, the desired decorative effect, and, of course, a digitizer's experience. All of this should be taken into account before digitizing has even started. 

    Mastering the waffle cloth

    Original text by Marina Belova 
    Several days ago I bought waffle weave towels and came up with the idea of attaching the embroidered eyelets to them (you can download the design here). Observing the textured surface I like so much, a question popped up in my head: are there any special rules for embroidery on this fabric? 
    It's not that I've never before embroidered on this cloth. I actually had more than once. It's that I've never thought what one could do to with it to get the embroidery of a high quality. It turned out that waffle cloth is not at all scary, on the contrary, it's rather stable. That is, if you don't count the cheap and loosely-woven waffle cloth that has a very low density and needs to be approached from a different angle as a consequence. Read more about loosely woven fabrics here. 

    The technique is actually simple and not really different from a standard procedure: 
    Hoop the fabric together with a backing (a middle-weight tear-away stabilizer will be just fine) and a water-soluble film on top. If you're trying to cut down expenses, I'm sure that you can do without the topping or simply put on top of the design a piece of a corresponding size. A tear-away stabilizer can be additionally secured with a temporary spray adhesive.  You can use threads of any thickness and structure.  Choose the needles with SES points, their thickness matching the thread thickness.  Digitizing a machine embroidery design for the waffle cloth 
    The process of creating a design or choosing a ready one for this fabric will be defined by its texture: 
    Avoid light-weighted designs executed in running stitches or containing a low-dense fill. (Though, in my opinion, this is a moot point.)  Do not embroider small letters directly on the fabric but on an underlay.  Standard density values are best: 0.4–0.45 mm will be sufficient to thoroughly cover the fabric. Density could be reduced due to the use of understitching.  Use stitches under 7 mm long, as usual. Anything longer than that should be split. For the fills, I'd recommend using stitches no longer than 4–4.5 mm. At any rate, the designs I'd embroidered looked better that way.  When working with a textured fabric, the most important thing is not to forget the underlay that will even the surface and maintain the edges.  Under thin satins – an edge run.  Under the satins from 2.5 to 7 mm – a zig-zag + an edge run.  Under the fills – a grid at 90° or a full grid at 45° and 135°, 3 mm stitch length + an edge run.  Compensation should be kept at a standard level of 0.4 mm.  It is beyond dispute that the fabrics differ in texture, density, and stability. For that reason, all of the above figures should only be regarded as a benchmark that may and should be modified for every particular design. 
    P.S. Some interesting information from Deborah Jones concerning waffle cloth. She strongly encourages to wash the towels prior to the embroidery. The reason for this is a very high level of shrinkage (about 10%). In her video, she proves that washing before the embroidery is necessary for the light-weight designs like redwork but not so crucial for the ordinary dense ones.
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