Sewing Machine Embroidery -The Jewel In The Sewing Crown
Sewing machine embroidery has brought the art of embroidery a long way, as is evidenced by its entry into the computer age.
Embellishing garments in this way can add beauty to any garment. This is also one of the fastest growing businesses for the home sewer. The cost of a machine of this type can be anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
There are some machines that embroider only, and there are others that both sew and embroider, and that can even have quilting attachments, thus the variable cost of these types of machines.
However, sewing machine embroidering is one of the most precise of the sewing arts. All of the factors that are involved in achieving the finished product must be met. This is a very detail oriented art form, and paying attention to the details will insure the right outcome for a project. Unlike, quilting for example, where you can change a quilt block design and still have a fantastic quilt, failing to follow the process precisely will result in a disastrous outcome.
What are the components of this art form?
• An embroidery machine
• Software containing designs that will be applied to the project
• Stabilizer appropriate to the fabric project
• The fabric project
• The right hoop for the project
• Thread designed for embroidering
• Darning foot for sewing the project
To achieve the desired outcome you must have:
• The right fabric and design combination
• The right fabric backing and hooping techniques
• Thread and bobbin tensions that are correct
Although one might think that you can use any fabric, this is not necessarily true, and not every design is suitable for all fabrics. Even for those fabrics that are suitable for a project, there must still be a certain amount of preparation of the fabric, which includes properly hooping and stabilizing the fabric before it can be stitched. Then the machine itself must be prepared with the correct thread, and correct thread and bobbin tensions. When these steps have been taken, then there will be project success.
What is Hooping?
Sewing machine embroidery experts agree that correct hooping of the project is one of the most important steps. Just what is hooping? These machines come with hoops that attach to the machine and into which the fabric project is placed. The hoop is then attached to the machine with the project in place. The fabric project must be placed into the hoop with the correct tightness, so that the project doesn’t move during the stitching process, otherwise the stitched design will be ruined.
What is Stabilizing?
There are no feed dogs to hold the fabric project in place. Therefore, a material called a stabilizer is attached to the back or top of the fabric to make the fabric stiffer and thus hold it in place while the needle moves over the fabric stitching the design.
There are some excellent books on the market that can help the sewer who wants to learn or expand their knowledge of sewing machine embroidery. One of my favorite series is Jeanine Twigg’s Embroidery Machine Essentials:
Basic Techniques – Project Series #1
How to Stabilize, Hoop and Stitch Decorative Designs
Appliqué Techniques – Project Series #4
Appliqué Adventures – Project Series #6
Piecing Techniques – Project Series #5
Fleece Techniques – Project Series #2
Quilting Techniques – Project Series #3
For those that are fans of Nancy Zieman’s sewing program on PBS, her book Machine Embroidery With Confidence – A Beginner’s Guide is another good start for anyone wanting to learn.
these are a great selection of machine embroidery books at reasonable prices.
Sewing machine embroidery is well suited to someone who is detail oriented, and there is quite a bit of information out there to help the interested person learn. With this art form one can produce elegant and fun garments and other projects, that can even lead to a fun and profitable career.