Most apparel will have design limitations unless constructed of heavy, woven fabric. Thinner fabrics benefit from a smaller stitch count and lighter density designs. Popular performance wear fabrics, in particular, will give the best results with a lighter density design, keeping the stitch count to a minimum.
Density plays a crucial role in keeping stitch counts down for thinner fabrics. The more open and airy the design is, the less weight it will add to the garment. Thicker stable fabrics, like denim jackets or bulky sweatshirts, can support more stitches and heavier density designs.
If you are choosing designs from stock house companies, first look at the design size and how many stitches are in it, and then consider the fabric of the garment you plan to embroider. If you are decorating on a lightweight or woven fabric, a 50,000-stitch design may not look good without using a heavy stabilizer. That heavy stabilizer will tend to look bulky and may even show through when the garment is worn, so try for a stabilizer that’s lighter than the fabric. For thinner materials, look for lower stitch counts and designs with more open and airy parts to the design. Choose a low profile or no-show stabilizer for the thinner fabrics. If you are embroidering on heavy denim, canvas or other tightly woven stable fabrics, your design options are practically limitless.