Tips for Machine Embroidery on Velvet

by Tari Intardonato

Velvet is a luxurious fabric, but it can create problems for those trying to machine embroider on it. Velvet is stretchy and very easy to damage. Machine embroidery is particularly sensitive on velvet because the pile affects how the embroidery design will appear when the project is completed. With a few tips you can get great results when you embroider on velvet.

hoop burn


  • Velvet fabric should never be hooped.
  • Hooping will cause "hoop burn". Hoop burn is caused when extra pressure has been applied to the raised nap of the fabric and it crushes it. In the case of velvet, hoop burn is permanent. Sometimes hoop burn can be removed when washed but most velvet is not washable.
  • We are not going to hoop the velvet just the stabilizer.
  • You will get the best results if you use a cut-away stabilizer because the velvet is a stretchy fabric. Tear-away stabilizer may not support the design and let it stretch and move.
  • Hoop an adhesive cut-away stabilizer that is not water activated or hoop a cut-away stabilizer and spray with adhesive spray. Hoop the stabilizer alone and then smooth the velvet on to the stabilizer.


  • Once the velvet has been hooped, place a piece of water-soluble stabilizer on top of the velvet before starting the embroidery. The Topping will keep the threads from sinking into the nap and distorting the embroidery design.
  • Embroider the design.
  • After the design is completed do not use water to remove Topping. Tear off as much of the Topping as possible and remove the excess with tweezers. Water may damage the velvet.

Other Helpful Tips:

  • Trim the cut-away stabilizer on the backside.  Leave 1/4" to 1/2" around the design.
  • Choose a design with light to medium density.
  • Use a new embroidery needle.


This tip features #12484 Chic Decor Pillows machine embroidery collection.