You’ve bought your embroidery machine, now what? Where to start? You’ll want to dive straight in and get designing so check out our top tips for beginners getting started in machine embroidery:
1. Master your Machine
Yep, even if that means reading the dreaded instruction manual. At least familiarize yourself with the basics of how to operate your particular model:
- How to thread your embroidery machine
- How to attach the hoop – selecting the correct hoop size for your design, getting the right tension in the fabric
- Technology – How to select and load designs onto your machine
- Learn to use the right embroidery needle for the job: the correct needle for the fabric you are using will ensure you don’t damage the fabric or the thread. (Pointed needles are used for closely woven fabric, but for tough material such as linen, you’ll need a more rounded end).
2. Start with something small
At this point, you may have read a lot of things about machine embroidery, and seen a lot of patterns. It’s often best to start with a project that is good for beginners, something small that you can complete quickly and easily. Once you’ve got the hang of your machine, you’ll be progressing to more challenging patterns and techniques as your confidence and skills grow.
Lettering tends to be pretty simple, so that’s a good place to start. Small patterns on easy fabric will get you going in no time.
3. Relax & Practice
Now that you’ve invested in an embroidery machine, as well as the other supplies you need, you’ll be both excited to get started and nervous at the same time. Keep in mind that mistakes give you that opportunity to learn. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve got a lot of mistakes to make!
Practice makes perfect. This certainly holds true with machine embroidery. Don’t expect perfection on your first try. You are bound to make some mistakes, but will always learn from them. Start off with fabric offcuts that you don’t mind throwing away, to try out some simple patterns.
4. Do some test stitching
Any design will stitch out differently depending on what machine you are using. The stabilizer, digitizer, fabric, needle and even thread used all create different outcomes. You can avoid these problems by doing some test stitching on fabric that you don’t mind throwing out before you start embroidering a piece.
5. Take notes
Taking notes starts your own ‘recipe’ book for machine embroidery. After all, there are some techniques that might work well for you, and you might want to use them as part of your standard process. Document them, including any embroidery projects you have completed. Include details such as the thread color and types, fabric blend and type, as well as machine setting adjustments you made.
6. Avoid getting tricked into buying all gadgets and gimmicks out there
When you are starting, it is quite easy to get carried away and spend money on some things you don’t really need. As a beginner, all you need are scissors, fabric, thread, stabilizer, machine/hoop, and a design. Do your research first before deciding to buy extras. You may need them later on, but for now, concentrate on honing your skills.
7. Organize your working area
A well-organized sewing area can make the time that you spend working on a project more productive and pleasant. This doesn’t mean you need to dedicate an extra room at home for your craft. Even if you use a closet to store your things, it helps you to become more productive if you know where things live. You also don’t want to have needles lying around where small children might be able to get hold of them!
8. Do not be afraid to explore!
After perfecting a certain pattern, keep going, trying new patterns and designs. As you search the internet, you’ll find a lot of free designs you can use. Why not try cutwork, applique, or even freestanding lace. Successful machine embroiders are those who were not afraid to try.
9. Have Fun!
Think of the reasons you have decided to explore machine embroidery. It may be a new hobby or even the start of a business! As a beginner, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and have fun with your new machine! Doing so, you’ll end up discovering all the tricks and techniques.
So, what are you waiting for?
If you have made up your mind to explore the world of machine embroidery, you will need to spend time and effort choosing a good machine. If you’re a veteran hand-stitcher, then you’ll know all about hooping and needles and what stitches to use.
In my case, I viewed choosing the best embroidery machine as an investment. After all, everything produced by this machine becomes my personal portfolio. The quality of such pieces depends on the type of machine used to create them. As such, I would make sure that I have everything that I need in a machine.
Later on, you can also choose to add some accessories and extras. As you continue to improve your skills, you will discover the fun world of machine embroidery. At first, you may depend on free designs. You can also explore and use your creativity to make your own patterns. Machine embroidery can be a very enjoyable hobby.