Has the machine embroidery bug bitten you yet? Do you want to get into machine embroidery, but just don’t know where to start? Do you wonder if the investment is worth it?
About four years ago, I purchased my first embroidery machine, and I have been hooked to the art ever since. I’ve slowly built a library of designs and I’ve learned how to hoop, stabilize, and choose the right thread!
I started by researching the vast array of embroidery machines available, many of which also do standard sewing. Machines are priced anywhere from $400 up to many thousands. Search the Internet or go to your local Sew Vac or fabric store for a demonstration! Choose a machine based upon how much embroidery you want to do and what your budget will allow.
To tell the truth, I felt weird about using machine embroidery at first. I wanted to be the designer and I didn’t want to depend upon someone else’s creativity to make my work look beautiful. Then, I discovered that I had lots of choices and I couldn’t resist the designs that are available. I found quilt embroideries that you can use to quilt blocks in the hoop and get better results than using free-motion or a long arm machine. I found all sorts of vintage looks in redwork, bluework, and even lace that you embroider right on a dissolvable stabilizer in the thread color that matches your project best. Of course there are many modern detailed designs in every theme from babies and kids to holidays and weddings.
Embroidery designs are “digitized” from artwork. While most sites sell artwork that can be picked up by many digitizers, some sites selling machine embroidery files such as SWAK Embroidery and You Can Make This also have designs from original hand-drawn art. This means that those designs can only be purchased from those sites and therefore, you won’t see them just anywhere.
One great thing about embroidery designs is that they have a color palette selected for you in advance, but you can also adjust the colors to your specifications by choosing from color families and tones. Filled designs are those made up of all embroidered stitches. Appliqué designs allow you to choose fun fabrics to add your own artistic expression to the finished product. If you make some cute cropped pants, but need a matching shirt, find an appliqué design for a tee shirt and use the fabric from the pants in the appliqué to add just the right matching touch.
Some designs are really versatile in that a change of thread color can make the design work for any occasion. Take a balloon design and use thread in your child’s favorite colors. Makes realistic looking oak leaves in any color-palette from spring yellows and greens to fall reds, browns, and oranges. Change the colors in a cute cheerleader design or collegiate alphabet to match your school colors. Even merge two designs or add lettering to a design to make it yours, using your embroidery machine or digitizing software.
Is it worth the investment? Definitely! What could be better than to be able to make a professional looking embroidery design either on ready-to-wear or hand sewn clothing, quilts, or other projects. Even create a business for yourself by creating embroidered items for others!