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10 Questions Every Beginner Embroiderer Should Ask

Ten Questions Every Beginner Embroiderer Should Ask

Embroidery is an amazing craft and a great way to express your creativity. But, as with any new hobby, there are bound to be some questions when you’re just getting started in embroidery. From knowing how to wash already embroidered garments, to choosing the right thread, here are ten questions someone might ask when beginning embroidery.

Which Thread Do I Choose?

The type of thread you choose is essential for creating a successful project. You should always strive to buy high quality thread. (or the highest quality thread you can afford.) Opting for a low-quality option can not only make your design look low-quality but also damage or weaken materials. 

beginner embroidery questions

When selecting thread for embroidery projects, the end-use of the item should be considered.

Rayon and Sensa threads are best suited to items that will not be exposed to harsh chemicals, such as chlorine pools or dry cleaning agents. Be sure to research the various kinds of threads available to embroiderers so that you choose the best thread for your project.

Ultimately, choosing a suitable fabric ensures beautiful results with lasting durability. The color choice then depends entirely on your personal preference. For more detailed information on this subject view this blog on selecting the right thread

What Type of Fabric Should I Use?

Generally, fabric type considerations with embroidery has little to do with fiber content such as cotton, rayon, polyester, wool, and much more to do with fabric construction itself. 

For instance, linen always has a woven construction, but cotton fabrics can be either wovens or knits.  So fiber content is not as relevant as novice embroiderers think; it’s mostly about the way the fabric is put together. Outside of non-fabrics like vinyl and leather, most fabrics are broken down into either woven construction or knit construction. 

Most wovens are generally stable fabrics and are constructed with a basket-weave over and under warp and woof pattern.  Believe it or not; denim, twill, towels, nylon straps, sheets, broadcloth, oxford, satin, and canvas are all wovens.

Knits, on the other hand, are stretchy and flex in every direction, and are constructed as a chain link matrix like a crocheted or knit afghan, only much, much smaller. 

They are highly flexible and certain care needs to be taken when embroidering on them because they are inherently unstable. T-shirts, polo shirts, hoodies and sweatpants, performance wear, bike shorts, winter hats and mittens, some fleece blanketing, are all knits. 

learning how to do machine embroidery

Most thread types can be stitched without issue on most of these fabrics most of the time with excellent results.  The big issue is that knits and wovens have very different requirements when it comes to backing stabilization and needle choice. 

Using the wrong backing or needle for the fabric type will make or break the embroidery. As you become more experienced in embroidery, you will be able to easily identify knits and wovens and will learn which backings and needles are required for them.

Why Does My Embroidery Look Bad?

One of the most common causes of fraying or puckering in machine embroidery is using the wrong stabilizer. Avoid puckering or designs warping out of shape after washing and keep the fabric looking remarkable with the help of proper stabilization. 

Stabilization helps maintain a smooth shape for more intricate designs, especially ones on stretchy materials like knits - use cut-away backings to ensure maximum stability!       

Another possible cause of fraying or puckering is using the wrong needle. Embroidery needles come in different sizes and types, and using the wrong needle can cause all sorts of problems, including fraying and puckering. 

beginner machine embroidery advice

Make sure you're using the correct needle for the fabric and thread you're using, and replace your needle frequently to avoid dulling. This leads us to our next point..         

What Kind of Needle Should I Use? 

Embroidery needles come in a variety of sizes and points to suit any project! When selecting the right one, two factors should be considered - thread weight (thickness) which governs needle size, and fabric construction which dictates point type. 

The standard thread weight used for most embroidery is 40-weight, and because of that, the 75/11 needle is the most commonly recommended size to use with 40-weight thread, so it’s never a bad idea to stock up on those.

If you are planning to embroider on all kinds of garments, you’ll likely want your most common needle sizes in the two basic point types. Embroidery needles come in either ballpoints or sharps, and it’s vital to use the right point type. 

Use a sharp point on a stretchy knit, and you’ll end up cutting holes in the fabric, which will sometimes surprise you and often don’t become evident until after only one or two washings. 

Don’t bother to replace your ballpoint with a sharp when doing caps or heavier twill farm jackets, and you’ll wonder why your needles are breaking.  To avoid these kinds of disasters, know which point type to install for each embroidery project.

What Type of Machine Is Needed For Commercial Machine Embroidery?

There are many different types of machines available for commercial machine embroidery, ranging from single-head machines for small businesses to multi-head machines for larger commercial operations. 

What Type of Machine Is Needed For Commercial Machine Embroidery?

Some factors to consider when choosing a machine include the size of the designs you plan to stitch, the thickness of the fabric you plan to use, and the speed and precision you require.

There are pros and cons of single-needle versus multi-needle embroidery machines. If the design changes color you would have to swap it for every color change, which takes time. If you have a multi-needle machine it saves a lot in production time.

How To Wash Embroidered Garments

  1. For best results, wash in warm water with a mild detergent.
  2. Do not add bleaching agents such as chlorine, peroxide or sodium carbonate.
  3. Never leave damp or wet embroidered articles folded or stuck together.
  4. Don’t wring out any embroidered articles.
  5. Never leave embroidered articles soaking in water.
  6. Garments or linen that may be commercially laundered should be embroidered with polyester thread.
  7. If the first laundering of a new garment is done in cool or cold water, leftover dry dye particles of some kinds of thread may remain on the fabric. This does not mean the article is ruined. Rewash in warmest (not hot) water recommended for both the garment and thread. You may need to repeat this until all of the remaining particles are washed out.

Do I Need To Hoop? 

Hooping is an essential skill for creating machine embroidery, and learning how to hoop different kinds of fabrics correctly will help you create high-quality embroidery projects. An affordable, but essential item for achieving the perfect fabric tension is an embroidery hoop

hooping station kit

You never want to hoop without a suitable stabilizer for your garment. Learning how to hoop has its challenges but it will get easier with practice. Hooping with a stabilizer on the bottom and a garment on the top should be done all at one time.

You do not want to be pulling the fabric after the fact. Adjusting the tension screw on the hoop will be necessary until you have found the correct tightness. Your goal is for the material to be taut but not stretched, leaving little to no movement while it is being embroidered at the machine. 

One thing that's important that beginners might not know is that you should choose your hoop based on your design, and always use the smallest one available that fits the design. This reduces the amount of movement that can occur during the embroidery process.

Most machines offer three different sizes for the left chest logos. These round hoops provide even tension all around. The larger square and rectangular hoops are great for jacket backs and full-front sweatshirt designs. We advise that you invest in a few different sizes of hoops. 

There are many third-party hoop suppliers that specialize in magnetic and clamping systems - which can be helpful for specialty jobs. We also recommend that you try to get a cap frame as well.

Is It Important To Keep My Tension Even?

Absolutely yes! Keeping even thread tension throughout your embroidery is essential if you want clean lines and professional-looking results. Don't let poor tension ruin your masterpiece and cause you more trouble. 

If your thread tensions aren’t correct you could experience such bothersome problems such as birdnesting, thread breaks, or jagged-looking stitching. The jagged-looking stitching and looping occurs when bobbin thread pulls up onto the topside of the garment you’re working on.

Remember to adjust the bobbin thread before setting top tensions and check on it every time you replace your bobbin. This will ensure a beautiful stitch result with no ugly loops or broken threads in sight.

what balanced bobbin tension looks like

Machine tension is a balance between the top thread and the bottom thread. Quality embroidery designs are achieved when tension is set properly, there is no looping on the top, and there is no bobbin thread showing on the top. A simple test design will show ⅓ of the bobbin seen on the reverse side of a satin column stitch. 

If your embroidery thread tension is spot-on, you'll notice three sections on the back of your masterpiece – a center section made up of white bobbin threads and two outer sections embracing it with top thread. Perfect!

How Much Profit Can I Make In The Embroidery Industry?

Want to make money with your creative work? Machine embroidery is an appealing industry that allows you to show off your style and earn some major rewards.

Just like anything else, you will need to do the research, sink some funds into it, and don't forget those long hours – it will all pay off! The combination of all three will open up the door for success.

how much money can you make in the embroidery industry


Some of the factors that impact profitability:

  • Type of embroidery machine: The type of machine you use will greatly impact your profitability. Higher-end machines will allow you to create more intricate and complex designs, resulting in higher profits.
  • Type of products: Embroidery can be done on a variety of products such as clothing, hats, bags, and even home decor items like pillows and blankets. The type of product you choose to embroider will determine your profit margins. Choosing better quality over saving on lesser quality products may result in time loss while dealing with low quality issues.
  • Marketing: In any business, marketing plays a crucial role in profitability. You could and should use Google Ads, social media marketing, in conjunction with a fast-loading website to sell your embroidery. Some prefer to have their own website while others use options like etsy to sell their work.
  • Pricing: Pricing is one of the most important factors when it comes to profitability. You want to ensure your prices are competitive while also factoring in the cost of materials and labor. You could use this embroidery profit calculator which could reveal your profit potential

Where Can I Find Inspiration For My Projects?

There are so many sources of inspiration for embroidery projects – from books to Embroidery Facebook groups and Pinterest boards! Another thing you can do is go on Instagram and search for the hashtag embroidery or hashtag embroidery designs. 

You can sift through the top results and view the different ways that people and businesses are using thread. You can even reach out to them and form a relationship.

machine embroidery inspiration

Photo credit: @artyardart

Take some time to explore different ideas and find something that really speaks to you and then get stitching.  Starting any new hobby can be intimidating - but don't let that stop you from trying something new!

With some practice - patience - plus a little bit of research - anyone can pick up this creative craft easily enough. By asking yourself these ten questions when beginning embroidery - you'll have all the tools necessary for success at hand.

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John - May 31, 2023

I’ve read your article. Honestly, I’ve never read this type of informative and efficient article before. This article will help lots of beginners like me to build skills in embroidery. Love to read your incoming blogs too. Really appreciate your work and dedication.

We have us digitizing to fulfill your embroidery needs.

Marilyn - April 14, 2023

Have been sewing for many, many years. This article has been a perfect reminder of does and don’t when you start not being as particular as you were. Also the quality of threads and fabrics that are available today, so much better than 50 years ago.

Rozlynn - February 27, 2023

Some great and helpful information was provided in this article. Definitely answered some of my questions.

Ethel - February 24, 2023

This is great information. Not just for beginners, good for some of us who have been out of the game for a while.

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