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Working on Black

Designs stitched on black or very dark fabric are very dramatic and eye-catching. Working on these colors, however, poses some unusual challenges. The following tips should make the experience less frustrating.

  • Be sure you have sufficient light. Dark fabrics absorb light, making it necessary to boost or supplement your light source.

  • Place a white or very light colored covering on your lap if you stitch in hand. The light covering will show through, making the holes in the fabric more visible.

  • If you are using a floor stand, arrange to have a light source shining indirectly on your work underneath; this will also highlight the holes in the fabric.

  • If necessary, use a magnifier. The combination of a dark fabric and a fine thread count may simply be too much for eyes that would be fine dealing with either one or the other of these characteristics alone.

  • If you are very tired, don't stitch on anything that requires intense concentration.

Other considerations:

If you chose to stitch a design on a very dark fabric, and the piece was not designed specifically for it, you may want to consider the following:

  1. Black (and to a lesser extent, other dark colors) tend to "wash out" the colors stitched on them.

  2. Many lighter color shades may appear either white or very pale when placed on black; be aware that subtle shading in a design not specifically designed for dark fabrics may be "lost".

  3. Designs with bright or intense colors and uncomplicated shading will translate to black fabric the most successfully.

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