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New to Machine Embroidery? Tips for Success

embroidery icon embroidery

Helpful Hints for Machine Embroidery

  • Read the instruction manual several times and know what your machine can (and can’t) do.
  • Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. The dog motif you download might be a lovely brown, but if you want it lime green instead, it’s OK—you can personalize designs however you want.
  • Most embroidery designs can be resized 20% without compromising quality.
  • Think about design placement before you stitch. There’s nothing attractive about a design centered over the bust point on a garment.
  • Stabilize the fabric before stitching, no matter what the design size or density. Build a stash of various types of stabilizers and make samples using different fabric combinations to see what works and what doesn’t. Generally, a cut-away works well for knits and a tear-away is good for woven fabrics, but that’s not an absolute.
  • ALWAYS test-stitch your design on a sample of similar fabric using the thread and stabilizer you plan for the real deal. You’ll be able to see any adjustments needed. Save the embellished scraps to make a quilt or other small projects, so they don’t go to waste.
  • Use the smallest hoop that will accommodate your design size.
  • Play with various threads— rayon and polyester are used most commonly, but don’t forget about metallics and glow-in-dark novelty threads as well. The same design can look totally different in one thread type from the other.
  • Unless the embroidery is reversible, use a lighter weight thread in the bobbin than the top.  Coats Size 70 Bobbin Thread is ideal for a non-bulky stitch appearance.
  • Select a needle type and size that will allow your embroidery thread to pass through the eye without shredding or breaking.