Machine Embroidery: 9 Tips to Get Started
If you think you might want to create some designs with machine embroidery, such as monograms, gifts or even onesies for kids, or maybe you want to monogram a hat or a jacket then it may be time for you to invest in an embroidery machine.
I’m going to discuss how to get started with machine embroidery and some of the few basic things that you’re going to need to get started.
Getting Started with Machine Embroidery
When I started machine embroidery I just had my twins, they were approximately four months old. I needed to get out of the house and do something that was interesting, intriguing, creative, and an outlet for me just to get away from being the mom 24/7.
I had always been wanting to learn how to do machine embroidery and I decided to take a class at a nearby dealer so that I could see if machine embroidery was something that I really wanted to do.
Prior to this, I must admit had I already owned an embroidery machine that I had purchased two years before, but I had never used it. It seemed difficult to start up or get to work.
The one or two attempts that I had tried to use the embroidery machine, it was very difficult, very confusing and hard to understand as to how to get my designs to go to the embroidery machine to stitch the machine embroidery design that I desired.
I had hooping issues with lots of other things and it was a mess. I left that machine in a corner of my craft room, never using it. Always wondering, how and if can I do embroidery?
When my twins came along, I decided that it was finally time to learn it, or at least give it a second chance.
This time around, I thought I would actually ask someone to help me. I knew there had to be some catch or better way to do this type of crafting.
Off I went to a sewing machine dealer to check out some embroidery machines, in hopes to learn something from anyone who would share their wisdom with me. I also had a hunch that maybe my machine just wasn’t right, wasn’t working or didn’t work for me and I needed to know if it was the machine or user error.
Getting Started with Machine Embroidery
Tip #1: Do your own research
If you’re looking to purchase your first home embroidery machine I suggest that you check out several different stores or dealers that sell sewing and embroidery machines. There are several different companies or brands of machines.
There are Janome, Singer, Husqvarna, Bravo, Brother and many other brands. It would be best if you actually go to more than one local sewing shop or dealer in your area and check out the different machines. Talk to the associates, and get feel for which shops have knowledge over the machines.
When you arrive, check to see if they offer classes. Especially, a machine embroidery beginner class.
Most dealers offer beginner classes that allow you to use their demo machines. This kind of class doesn’t require embroidery machine ownership. You just show up and take the class.
I did this and I can not tell you how easy it was in the actual class, and how it clicked!
Most places that offer classes, require you to bring in your own embroidery machine to do the class, or the project, that they are going to be doing.
However, the dealer that I went to offered a beginning/interested in embroidery machine class. It was basically a win-win because I could try the machine, and the store was hoping to sell the machine to me.
I could learn the basics, do a simple project and then mull over and decide if I really wanted to make the investment in purchasing my own embroidery machine. Obviously, I did, and after a second class, I bought one directly from the dealer.
Tip #2: Check It Out
When you are visiting sewing and embroidery machine shops check things out:
- How is their customer service? Did they help you?
- Are they interested in helping you learn?
- Do they offer classes?
- Is a machine mechanic available?
These are some few basic things that you’re going to need and want once you purchase your embroidery machine.
Side Note: You can purchase a basic embroidery machine online, on Amazon, as I mention here. However, you may not have the benefit of having a local dealer to help service your machine. Most if not all machines, need to be, serviced at least once a year. Just like your car needs an oil change, so will your embroidery machine.
If you must buy online – I recommend this machine from Amazon. Many have had great success with it.
It’s good to have a good relationship with a nearby local dealer, and the mechanic who will be able to service your machine. Most dealers will not service a machine unless you purchase it from them.
And, some dealers will service your machine when it’s time, for an additional fee. You can get a better deal online when buying an embroidery machine.
Just be prepared that the help you may need, should an embroidery issue arise, will come from the benefits of having a knowledgeable dealer that you can call back to and have your questions answered.
Plus, you have control of taking the machine home. If purchased online, you will have no idea if it bumped into the box along the way to your house, messing up the calibration of the machine or not.
My first machine, you know the one I left in the corner, was ordered online, and it possibly could be one reason why I could never get it to work right. I will never know for sure, I just haven’t had the same problems since owning my second machine.
Tip #3: Visit a Sewing Expo Show
Another way that you can shop around for an embroidery machine is to see if your local area is hosting or having a sewing or embroidery or crafting sewing expo.
At an expo or a trade show, there will be dealers from your surrounding area who sell all different brands of embroidery machines. They will have them on a show floor for you to kind of test drive and take a look at. This is a great way to learn and actually see them in action.
It is also smart because you can kind of test out and look at several different brand machines all in one place, which makes it nice.
You can also get a feel for the people at each booth to see who is the most helpful and the most knowledgeable about the machines that they sell. This lets you see their product and what they know.
Ask yourself, is it a good fit for you in regards to getting some help should you have a need for your first machine.
Also, most shows offer show pricing, so you are likely to get a better deal or be offered extra accessories if purchased at a show versus in the actual store.
Tip #4: Know Your Stabilizer
Once you have a machine, you will want to do your first class with the dealer. Learn where your power button is, how to go back, how to find stitches within a design etc.
You’ll want to get the basics down before you go home with the machine. Most dealers offer this session free with a purchase of a machine.
Most importantly, you’ll also want to find out about stabilizers. There are several different stabilizers out there, several different brands, and several different kinds.
You’ll want to probably get a small stash of a variety of stabilizers to see which ones you like best using with your projects. And to learn which type of stabilizer goes best with which type of project and machine.
For example, if you’re embroidering on a towel, you’ll want to definitely get a topper stabilizer, so not just a stabilizer on the bottom, but you’ll want to have one on the top.
This allows the design not to sink within the threads of the towel and become lost.
Go prepared with an idea of the projects and types of stabilizer they require so you will be set up once you get home. You will also want to find a stabilizer that allows you to stick something on top referred to as floating, and learn about that with your machine.
Click the Teal Button Below for more Tips (5-9) on setting it all up at home!