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Machine Embroidery for Beginners
Read this post before you start your embroidery journey.
This post is an introduction to the amazing world of Machine Embroidery. We’ll provide an explanation of the main techniques and supplies that you can use to develop impressive artwork.
If you are new with Machine Embroidery, or you’d like to learn a bit more before you start, keep reading!
On this article:
What is machine embroidery?
Machine embroidery is a decorative technique that uses specialized hardware to turn digital patterns into elements made of thread. This discipline is the modern version of traditional embroidery. The whole process consists of the automatization of old crafting techniques.
Multiple brands sell machine embroidery devices. Every model fits different needs; some are commercial tools, and some of them are home devices. For this guide, we are mainly going to focus on the second ones.
Home embroidery machines are a smarter version of sewing machines. Every device incorporates software that allows you to load embroidery files. These files will provide the information that the hardware needs to stitch out a design.
What supplies do I need to start with machine embroidery?
Here is a list of the main supplies that you’ll need for machine embroidery:
- Embroidery machine. An embroidery machine is a fundamental tool that you need to start creating. You can find a wide range of models and prices. You have to find the one that fits your needs best.
- Thread. The embroidery machine uses thread to trace your designs. Therefore, this material is an essential part of your creative process. Embroidery files usually include information about the different threads that you need to stitch the designs out.
- Embroidery Hoop. You will need a hoop to hold the cloth while your machine is stitching. There are many different models, and you must pick the one that best fits your device.
- Stabilizer (Backing). To create patches, you will need a stabilizer. This piece of cloth is the base where you will stitch out your design.
- Temporary adhesive spray. Although it is possible to work without this supply, you can boost the final aspect of your crafts by using it.
- Scissors. You will need them to cut the thread and the cloth during the process.
It’s also useful to have:
- Iron and ironing board. You can use them to give your designs the final touch. Remember to use them with care: embroidery designs are delicate. The excess of heat could ruin your artwork.
- Fabric marker pen. Try to find a pen that you can easily erase by washing the cloth. Markers are useful to point out where you are going to place your design.
- Cutting supplies (rotary scissors, cutter). Standard scissors should be enough to complete the process. Anyway, some cutting accessories can also be helpful.
- Ruler. A stable ruler will be useful when it comes to measuring. It will help you place your design in the cloth.
- Sewing fabric pins. Working with fabric can be a bit tricky sometimes. Pins can help you control the movements of the cloth while you work with it.
Why do I need machine embroidery designs?
Embroidery files contain all the information that your machine needs to stitch out a design. These documents speak the same language as your device. You will always need to transfer some information to the machine, and you can not do it manually. Let’s look at the main features that the files explain to the engine.
Stitch direction. This value establishes the direction that the stitches have to take.
Stitch type. There are different types of stitches: simple stitch, satin stitch, fill stitch. This feature sets the kind of stitch that the machine has to use for the design.
Colorway. This feature sets the palette of colors that are included in the design. It also indicates in which order will the colors be stitched, and which thread number and manufacturer did the designer use.
Width and height. Embroidery files must include the final dimensions of the designs.
Stitch count. The total number of stitches in the design. This feature also helps to know how long it will take to stitch out.
Stitch length. This value determines how close the stitches must be. The distance between stitches is determined by the maximum stitch and the minimum stitch. The maximum stitch determines the length of the longest stitch. The minimum stitch determines the length of the shortest stitch.
Density. This feature sets the relationship between the number of stitches and the size of the design. Designs with a high density will be thicker. You must take this into account when you choose the fabric.
Jump stitch and trim. A jump stitch happens when the machine jumps to stitch out another area. If your device is a new model, it will trim the thread for you at color changes, or when the thread exceeds a certain length. It will also cut the ribbon once it has finished the design. A large amount of jump stitches is a sign of bad digitizing. This will slow down the process and decrease the quality of the artwork.
Types of machine embroidery designs
Hand Digitized embroidery files
An embroidery designer digitized these designs by manually using embroidery software. The actual work of an expert guarantees the best results in terms of quality. Hand-digitized patterns will always be the most reliable option.
Auto-digitized embroidery files
These designers use computer programs to digitize these designs. The automation of the task makes the workflow more agile. The downside is that the quality of the files is uncertain. Our advice for this type of file is always to check the PDF with sewing information.
Cover Image by KlaraFallVernaeht
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