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Chenille terms and concepts

Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Chenille terms and conceptsThe word ‘Chenille’ is French, meaning caterpillar. Historically chenille has had many uses in fashion and furnishings, from delicate work of lace to the bold look of school mascots. In North America chenille is most commonly recognized as the emblems and letters sewn on athletic jackets.

A French engineer introduced the first chenille embroidery machine in 1866. Chenille machines, use a single, thicker, yarn instead of top thread and bobbin thread together. The machine leaves loops of thread on the top of the backing, usually felt, creating a dimensional look.

The look is bolder than for traditional lockstitch embroidery, and the thread is heavier, so chenille machines cannot not generate small intricate designs. Chenille embroidery objects consist of a fill with one or more offset runs.

The run border is needed to hold the fill stitches inside the shape. Lockstitch and chenille designs can be combined if the embroidery machine supports both lockstitch and chenille embroidery.