Learning how to embroider with a sewing machine is not as difficult as sounds. While free motion embroidery machines have long been favored by quilters, it is not just for quilting because you can use a sewing machine to create different types of embellishments and embroideries. Here’s what you need to do.
Gather Your Equipment
You will need the following gear:
-A darning foot: these are usually round and let you stitch effectively and safely without causing your fabric to flag (flagging refers to the situation when the material is pulled up with your needle during the stitching process). The darning foot comes in different styles but it’s easy enough to find out what works with your sewing machine by checking the Internet.
-An embroidery hoop: there’s no need for the model specific types on a sewing machine. What is important is the hoop is utilized back to front (the fabric must be set flat on the throat plate). When it comes to size it really comes down to the capabilities of your machine, but you will have greater control with a small hoop as it makes following lines easier. Everyone has their own opinion about the best hoop size but you may opt for 6 – 8″ as it is just right for embroideries with some degree of complexity.
-Embroidery scissors: sharp scissors are a must and will make it easier to get rid of those loose ends and making sure threads are connected properly. You should also get a seam ripper in case you make mistakes during the stitching.
-Trick marker or pencil: you will use these to illustrate your design. Trick markers are available in online stores and what makes them enjoyable to use is they disappear over time or when washed, meaning you don’t have to worry about any lines being muddled with your design. Of course there are those who are more content to use a pencil and that’s all right too.
Setting Up Your Machine
From about eight years old I was always making things on the sewing machine.
Friends would see me making dresses and costumes, and I’d use difficult fabrics such as Lycra and elastic.
But you know, my dad was creative and my brother is inventive too.
-Set up the darning foot: instructions for installing the darning foot should be available on the manufacturer’s website, so refer to that for details.
-Tackling tension: the typical tension setting is 4 or 5, but for embroidering purposes you need to set this at 2 or 1.
-Lower the feed dogs: setting down the feed dogs is very important because it is what will let the fabric get pulled along your machine while stitching. If you want the fabric to be movable in whatever direction you like, lowering of the feed dogs is essential.
The instructions for lowering this will be on your machine’s manual or the website, but keep in mind that not all sewing machines are capable of feed drops so check the instruction manual first.
-Set the stitch length: adjust the stitch length so it is at zero, the optimum setting for accuracy and more precision control.
The Stitching Process
Now that your machine has been set up you can press the foot control and push your loop in the direction you want. While you are stitching, make sure that the fabric is tightly set in the hoop so puckering does not occur. If yousee some areas warping due to the heavy stitching, that’s normal and should not be a cause for concern: just give yourself enough time and you should be able to control this.
If this is your first time to do this, start with some fabric scraps so you don’t end up damaging the more expensive fabrics. While you’re getting started it’s important that you review the settings and make certain they are at the levels and configurations mentioned earlier. Provided your settings are correct the results should be satisfactory.
Once you have gotten the hang of stitching, commence with free, open lines and then slowly work on more complicated and detailed pieces. Depending on the embroidery you want to make, you’ll need to make zigzags, spirals and open curves or other types of movements.
You won’t become an expert on this overnight but keep working on it. The key to success is to experiment and work with multiple lines, stitch patterns and layering. While you’re working on the design, keep in mind that you’re just starting out and still getting familiar with the materials and the way your machine works. At the same time, don’t limit yourself to the size of the machine’s hoop and try working on bigger scales.
Tips for Beginners On How to Machine Embroidery
First of all you need to relax: tensing up and putting pressure on yourself is going to affect the final output. As pointed out earlier, stitching and embroidering on a sewing machine –or an embroidery machine for that matter – takes time and requires patience.
Before you can go out and create complex pieces, you have to start with the simple ones and work your way from there. Bottom line: the time you invest in learning will pay off in the end.
Embroidery Using Sewing Machine Conclusion
There is no shortcut for learning how to create embroideries on a sewing machine as it requires practice and perseverance. That being said you can make things easier for yourself by buying a sewing machine and embroider combo unit. These units are now available online and were manufactured expressly for those like yourself who want to sew and embroider at the same time.
Regardless of the machine you have, start small: go with a simple design and inexpensive fabric, and use this opportunity to learn the ins and outs of embroidering. Only after you have learned how to embroider simple designs should you try the more complex types. While you’re working and honing your skills, don’t forget to take notes and keep track of your progress.
The whole point of keeping notes and experimenting with different types of fabrics, threads and colors is you will discover just how flexible your sewing machine is and what it can do. While you won’t become an expert embroider overnight, you will notice improvements in your craft the more you practice.