Softening Aida Cloth: Techniques For A Softer, More Comfortable Fabric

Starting an embroidery or cross-stitching project can come with its own set of challenges. For example, do you want to use Aida cloth for crafting but notice it's too stiff? Is there a way to soften Aida cloth before beginning your stitching project? Luckily, we've done plenty of research into these questions and have some ideas to share!

To loosen Aida cloth before starting your project, you can run cold water over the cloth and iron it while it's still damp. That should help loosen the fibers and make the cloth more flexible.

You can also try putting Aida cloth in a clothes dryer with a fabric softener sheet and a dampened washcloth. Put the dryer on a low-medium setting to loosen the Aida cloth.

In this article, we will discuss softening Aida cloth and give tips and tricks for getting this done. Whether you're new to cross stitching and embroidery using Aida cloth, have stiff cloth you can't seem to work with, or need other assistance, we're here to answer your questions. Let's dive in!

Embroidery hoop with a fragment of a colorful cross-stitch embroidery and a pile of threads, Softening Aida Cloth: Techniques For A Softer, More Comfortable Fabric

How To Soften Aida Cloth

Many fabric makers use starch to create Aida cloth. As a result, the cloth has a bit of stiffness right out of the packaging.

A complaint with Aida cloth is that it can be hard to maneuver if you don't soften it first. Luckily, there are a few ways to fix starchy stitching cloth, which we'll discuss in the next section.

Bobbins with colorful cotton threads for embroidery on white aida cloth

Dampen The Cloth

For anyone struggling with unruly Aida cloth, you want to try the dampening method first. To do this, you need to grab your Aida cloth and run it under cold water. Let the water saturate the fabric for a minute or two.

Next, iron the cloth. It's essential not to use the iron on soaking wet material, so let your Aida cloth dry for a minute before ironing. You shouldn't need to use the iron for more than 30-60 seconds, so this will be quick.

Sometimes, dampening the Aida cloth while stitching can also help with flexibility. According to the Wayne Arthur Gallery, it's also helpful to keep a damp cloth nearby during your stitching project to help with touchups during stitching.

One of the nice things about using Aida products is that they can handle some pulling and shaping without losing their original form.

Put The Cloth In the Dryer

Another idea for softening Aida cloth is to throw it in your clothes dryer. According to experts, you need to put the cloth in the dryer with a damp washcloth or towel.

Next, run the dryer on medium or low for 30 to 40 minutes. When your dryer finishes, remove the Aida cloth, smooth it with your hands, and let it sit for about five minutes before starting your project.

Because of how it's created, Aida cloth can get wet and go in the dryer. We recommend keeping the dryer on a lower setting to prevent your material from becoming damaged or falling apart.

Should My Aida Cloth Feel Stiff?

Yes. New Aida cloth will be stiff. As we said above, Aida cloth and most cross-stitching products have added starch to keep them from being too flimsy.

One thing to note is that it's generally easier to work with stiffer fabrics when stitching. Although your product might initially feel awkward, a stiff foundation for your project will make it easier.

However, softening it can be helpful if the Aida cloth is stiff and doesn't move or adapt to your stitching. Everyone has a different preference for their Aida cloth's stiffness, so there isn't a right or wrong way to feel here.

You also want to ensure you don't overdo it by softening your cloth, as that can make the project more challenging. Too much softening can cause your Aida cloth to warp. That can make your stitching uneven or not as easy as anticipated.

Most experts try to aim for a medium starchiness, so too soft isn't great either.

Check out this Aida cloth on Amazon.

Should I Start Cross Stitching With A Stiff Aida Cloth?

Embroidery process close-up

Starting with a stiffer Aida cloth might be better, depending on your preference and skill level. As we mentioned, stiffness isn't necessarily a bad thing for cross-stitching. You also want to remember that your cloth will become softer as you work with it.

Of course, if your cloth is too stiff and you can't get comfortable using it, you can try one of our softening methods. Some crafters may argue that this is great, while other crafters may prefer a softer, more adaptable product.

Regardless, if you're fine with how the cloth feels, you can begin cross-stitching with your Aida right out of the package.

Should I Wash My Aida Cloth Before Using It?

A bunch of colorful cotton embroidery threads on white aida with a fragment of embroidered flowers

It's important to factor in what you'll be using your final design for. Many experts say that anyone using their Aida cloth to create a washable product may want to wash it before starting the project. That gets any shrinking/warping out of the way before you begin stitching.

Otherwise, it isn't necessary to wash Aida cloth before using it. Since the fabric comes ready for stitching, you shouldn't need to clean or do much prep before starting your crafting project.

However, if your Aida cloth has too much starch and feels uncomfortably stiff, washing it can be a good idea. Generally, you don't need to run your cloth through the machine but soak it in cold water in your sink.

Of course, if your Aida cloth needs serious softening, properly washing and drying it can be beneficial. You also want to be careful with how much you expose your material to heat, as warping is possible.

Like stretching or shrinking regular fabrics, your Aida cloth may change its shape. If you throw it in a hot dryer for a long period of time, you're very likely to see your cloth change shape or size.

Note that Aida cloth is also usually made of cotton, meaning it can shrink very easily.

Is There A Soft Aida Cloth?

Cross stitch

Yes, you can shop specifically for softer Aida cloth for your stitching project. One of the softer options for this material is Aida Country French even-weave fabric, a very soft fabric made of 100% cotton.

This cloth is recommended for making baby quilts and clothing, so if that's your plan, you should consider using this type of Aida cloth. Choosing a softer type of Aida cloth to begin with can make your prep time minimal because you may not have to wash the cloth.

You don't want to have to wash, dry, and manually smooth your Aida cloth every time you start a stitching project, so we recommend checking out softer alternatives.

Luckily, there are plenty of great cross-stitch Aida brands and products:

  • Zweigart Aida
  • DMC Aida
  • Permin Aida
  • Charles Craft Aida

To Wrap Things Up

Whether you're new to cross-stitching or consider yourself a pro, it's always good to know how to soften stiff Aida cloth. We found that you can wet your Aida cloth with cold water and iron it for softening and smoothening.

You can also try throwing your Aida cloth into the dryer with a damp washcloth or towel and a fabric-softening sheet. You should allow the fabric to dry for up to 40 minutes on a lower heat setting. You can also shop specifically for a softer Aida material, so that's an idea too.

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