Quick Tip: Chenille vs. Traditional Embroidery


Ed Levy

Ed Levy is an industry veteran and director of software technologies at Hirsch Solutions.

Being an embroiderer is not a prerequisite for offering chenille. Chenille is quite different from traditional embroidery, though it is very complementary, as many designs combine both applications. Chenille is sewn using a special machine that feeds yarns up through the bottom in such a way as to create a raised, textured surface that resembles carpet. Though it’s called chenille embroidery, the sewing process has very little resemblance to the embroidery sewing process. In fact, chenille machines do not utilize a bobbin.

Another characteristic that makes chenille different from traditional embroidery is that most of the work is not completed directly on the garment. Instead, the design is applied to a fabric background called scrim felt, which is then cut out and sewn to the garment like a patch.

In addition to the advantage of uniqueness, chenille also lends itself to more cost effective high-stitch count designs. Overall, the sewing speed for chenille is much slower at an average of 500–700spm, but the sheer bulk of the yarn makes it easier to cover a large area with fewer stitches than traditional embroidery. The thicker yarn also has fewer breaks as the yarn is heavier than thread. This allows for production to run virtually unattended.