Are you struggling to embroider on terrycloth and fleece?

Terry clothes and fleece aren’t the easiest fabrics to work with.

So, to make your embroidered design stand out, you only need to use a Knockdown stitch.

In this article, we will to cover some basics of knock down stitches.

What is a Knockdown Stitch?

Knockdown stitches are densely packed short stitches that are digitized in a specific pattern to flatten or secure fuzzy and textured fabrics such as terry cloths, fleece, or chenille during embroidery digitizing. 

It is also known as ‘tack down or primer stitch.

How does knockdown Stitch works?

There are three basic ways on which knockdown stitch works, such as:

  1. The knockdown stitch pushes down the raised fibers of the fabric and creates a smooth and even surface for the upper embroidery stitches that helps to prevent the design from sinking into the uneven or textured fabric.
  2. Knockdown stitches are usually digitized in simple shapes like circles, squares, and others or, as per the artwork, usually with one color thread or color that matches your fabric.
  3. Knockdown stitches are also used in the Hatch smart technique in which loose-fill stitches digitize underneath the design to hold with terry cloth and create a solid foundation to prevent sinking.

How to use Knockdown stitch in Machine Embroidery?

Embroidering on fuzzy or textured fabrics: As mentioned before, knockdown stitches are essential for achieving clean and professional results on fabrics like towels, fleece, chenille, and some knits.

Creating raised or 3D embroidery: Knockdown stitches can be used as a base layer for creating raised or 3D embroidery designs on smooth fabrics.

The dense stitching provides a stable foundation for the additional layers of stitches, preventing them from collapsing or sinking into the fabric.

What is the Difference between Embroidery Underlay and Knockdown Stitches?

Knockdown and underlay stitches are similar but not exactly the same in embroidery digitizing. Here’s the key difference:

Knockdown Stitch Underlay Stitch
Primary Purpose It prepares the fabric for the main embroidery design by pushing down the raised fibers (nap) for a smooth surface by digitizing dense and short stitches in a same angle. Acts as a foundation to prevent pulling, distortion, or tearing of the fabric during embroidery.
Secondary Purpose Can also help anchor the main embroidery design to prevent shifting or puckering. Can also help smooth out uneven fabric surfaces to some extent.
Appearance Often dense and fills the entire area, appearing similar to a solid satin stitch. Usually less dense than knockdown stitches, such as center-run underlay.

Major Takeaways between Underlay and Knockdown Stitches

Major Difference: Knockdown is use for nap control, while underlay focuses on design stabilization.

Density: Knockdown stitches are typically denser to push down the fabric nap effectively.

Appearance: Knockdown often fills the entire area, while underlay is usually narrower and follows the design outline.

Therefore, knockdown stitches are specifically use due to their nap-flattening ability, while underlay stitches are more widely used for various fabrics to provide general support for the design.


In conclusion, always use the appropriate stitch type according to the fabric and artwork. However, experiment with different stitch techniques to find the best for your embroidery project.