Machine Embroidery Tips
July 30, 2012
I still consider myself new to the embroidery game even though I have had my machine for a few years. I own a sewing machine/embroidery machine which may explain why I don't log in much time on the embroidery side. But when I do remember this great feature, I use it hard. I love how fast and easy it is to add that little something special to gifts or projects. I have often used this side of my machine to whip up last minute gifts for parties, showers or thank you tokens. However, using your embroidery machine, if you are new to it or even if you have a few years under your belt (like me) can be tricky if you don't have some helpful tips to get you through the frustrating learning period. These tips really helped me when I got started.
1) You are going to break some needles, so just know that ahead of time. My first breakage freaked me out because I had rarely broken a needle and never in that fashion. The machine goes so fast and then all of a sudden, crack, broken needle. You can break your needle for several reasons. My most common was wrong stabilizer for the fabric or wrong needle for the fabric or tension.
2) Test your embroidery pattern first on scrap fabric. You can find the right combo of stabilizer, needle, tension and fabric without ruining your project.
3) Once you have the right combo of fabric/stabilizer/needle/tension, write it down in case you have to embroider that fabric again you can save some testing.
4) Buy embroidery bobbin thread. You don't use the same thread in the bobbin as you do on the upper. Embroidery machines use a certain kind of thread just for the bobbin. Purchase it and wind several bobbins for reserve. It will help prevent needle breakage and other issues that pop up in machine embroidery.
5) Don't expect to get it right away. This is not a TV infomercial; you can't set it and forget it. There are techniques to machine embroidery that you will need to learn, just like with sewing. It is not a load-machine-push-button-you're-done process. Give yourself some time to learn and don't worry if it is not perfect at first.
6) If the machine sounds like a hammer, turn it off. Mine would always sound like a hammer banging when I was thisclose to breaking a needle or the thread. I knew I had missed a step, loaded something incorrectly or had the wrong stabilizer and could prevent a big blow-up by listening for this sound.
7) Purchase Machine Embroidery Essentials by Jeanine Twigg. It is a lifesaver and I would have given up on machine embroidery forever if not for this book. She will walk you through needles, tension, stabilizer and fabric. You can get a head start on some of the common combos. If you are going to try machine embroidery at all, this book is a must for your shelves!
8) Stock up on stabilizer. You will use a lot of it and you don't want to be out when the mood strikes. Also, you can patch sticky stabilizer by cutting out a piece bigger than your hole and placing the patch on top. Don't patch it from the backside. It works better from the top. Don't patch too often. Once your sticky stabilizer is no longer taut, chuck it and hoop a new piece.
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