Embroidery Library


Fabrics 101: Embroidering on Batiste 

Tips and tricks for getting great results when embroidering onto batiste

Batiste is a fabric known for being very soft and lightweight. Because of its amazing softness, it is often used for baby and children's clothes, as well as handkerchiefs, lingerie, scarves, heirloom pieces, and as lining fabric for garments.

Named for Jean Batiste, a thirteenth-century French linen weaver, batiste has been a popular fabric for centuries. Once you see how well it performs in a modern embroidery machine, you'll know why!

Batiste fabric can be woven from cotton,
polyester, linen, silk, or a blend of these.

Tips and tricks for getting great results when embroidering onto batiste

Batiste blends

Batiste is a woven fabric most often made from a cotton or a poly/cotton blend. I embroidered four types, or blends, for this article:

--100% cotton pintuck
--100% organic cotton
--50% cotton/50% polyester
--25% cotton/75% polyester

The higher the cotton content, the tighter the weave. More polyester means a slightly looser weave.

Batiste is widely available -- I got mine from Fabrics.com.

A sample of pintuck batiste -- lightweight, soft, and pretty -- with the Starfish Sea Sketch.

Caring for the fabric

Pre-wash the fabric to shrink it. 100% cotton and cotton polyester blend batiste fabrics might shrink a little, or they might shrink a lot -- but they will shrink. Despite its delicate appearance, batiste is fairly durable, able to be machine washed and tumble dried on low. To be safe, wash batiste items on a gentle cycle, without bleach. For your specific fabric, follow the manufacturer's recommendations (get those recommendations from the bolt at the store before you leave).

Tips and tricks for getting great results when embroidering onto batiste


No matter what blend of batiste you're using, stabilizing the fabric will support the stitches during embroidery, and  ensure a crisp, professional result.

Your choice of stabilizer will depend on how sheer the fabric is. If your fabric is fairly transparent, you'll want to use a tear-away stabilizer so that it can be removed after stitching.

For less see-through fabrics, where the stabilizer won't show through, using cutaway will be the way to go. Read on to see examples I stitched out using both kinds of stabilizer.

The 25% cotton/75% polyester blend is very transparent, so a tear-away stabilizer is best.


Because it is so lightweight, batiste is a breeze to hoop. To get a nice tight bond between the fabric and the stabilizer, I sprayed the stabilizer with a bit of temporary adhesive (I use KK100). Then I hooped the fabric and the stabilizer together.

Tips and tricks for getting great results when embroidering onto batiste

Choosing the right designs

Although batiste is a woven fabric, it's a very lightweight fabric. When choosing designs for a project with batiste, look for light and airy designs with open spaces.

Redwork, Blackwork, toile, and sketch designs are all excellent choices for stitching onto batiste, with their open areas and light stitches.

Avoid solid-stitch designs with large filled-in areas, as these designs will be too heavy. The lightweight fabric will pucker and warp under a design that is full of solid fills.

Choosing lighter designs will also allow the fabric to drape nicely, an important consideration if you're making curtains or garments.

Light and open designs such as
the Daisy Spray (Blackwork) are a
natural fit on 100% organic cotton batiste.

Tips and tricks for getting great results when embroidering onto batiste

The Colorful Crocuses 1 is a good example of a light and open design that works well on a higher-polyester blend (and more see-through) batiste. For this 25% cotton/75% polyester blend, I stitched the design on tear-away stabilizer so that the stabilizer would not show through the sheer fabric, and it looks terrific

The higher polyester blends work best with lighter, more open designs and tear-away stabilizer.

Tips and tricks for getting great results when embroidering onto batiste

I embroidered a slightly more complex Lilac Beauty design onto a less transparent 50% cotton/50% polyester blend fabric.

I used a medium-weight cutaway stabilizer, as the stabilizer wouldn't show through the slightly denser cotton blend. 

I recommend using cutaway stabilizer with batiste whenever possible, as it provides the embroidery stitches with the best possible, longest-lasting support.

Slightly more complex designs can be
stitched onto batiste with excellent results.

Tips and tricks for getting great results when embroidering onto batiste

Stitching on pintuck

Pintuck batiste is lovely, with raised ridges and ruffle patterns. Embroidering on it is a breeze with a water soluble topping (I prefer Sulky Solvy or Sulky Super Solvy).

The topping helps the stitches form smoothly over the ruffles and ridges of the pintuck pattern.

When the embroidery is finished, gently tear away the topping. If any small bits remain you can use a tweezers to remove them. Or, wet your finger tips with water and brush the bits away.

Using a topping with pintuck batiste will
help the embroidery sew on top of
the pintuck's ruffles and ridges.

Stitching tips for batiste:

Needle 75/11 sharp needle; an embroidery needle may also be used
Stabilizer Tear-away or cutaway (2.5 ounce), depending on the fabric blend
Design Choice Light and open designs work best on batiste

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