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What Embroidery Supplies Do I Need

What Embroidery Supplies Do I Need To Get Started?

Diving into machine embroidery for the first time as a beginner can be daunting. Between getting your first machine and searching online for the best prices on embroidery supplies, it's easy to get overwhelmed.

Don't worry, machine embroidery is easy to learn and we are here to help you figure out what supplies you need to get started.

High Quality Embroidery Supplies

First rule of thumb is to look for high quality supplies from a respectable supplier. Buying cheap thread, scissors, backing and low-cost bobbins can just cause you more headaches and cost you more money down the road, especially as a beginner.

Embroidery has a lot of specialty supplies and you want to make sure what you are buying is geared towards machine embroidery and you want to buy from a supplier that will support you after your purchase. Ensuring you have the right embroidery supplies will save you time, money, and effort on your journey

An Embroidery Machine

Most people start out with a single needle home machine from one of the major brands like Brother, Baby Lock or Viking. These machines are great places to start and will help you develop the skills you need to create professional looking embroidery.

One thing to consider when buying your fist machine, besides cost, is how big of a design do you want to embroider. Many of the lower cost entry machines are limited in the size of the design they can stitch out, also known as sewing field.

Try looking for an embroidery machine with a minimum of a 5" x 7" sewing field. This is will be a good versatile first machine.

Stabilizer, the Foundation of Embroidery

Embroidery stabilizer, also known as backing, provides the stabilization you need to embroider garments, especially stretchy ones. There are two main categories of embroidery backings, cut away and tear away.

With a cut away backing, when you are finished with your embroidery, you cut away whatever backing is left outside of your finished design. With tear away, you guessed it, you tear it away.

cut away backing

Cut away backing is inherently more stable and should be your go to stabilizer as a new embroiderer. Tear away can be used on items that you will easily see the back of to give it a neater appearance, such as towels and linens.

Similar backings come in different weights, usually advertised as ounces per square yd. The heavier the backing, the more stability it usually provides. A good backing supplier will sell many different weights, types and sizes of stabilizer in both precut sheets and on rolls.

As a beginner, it's best to stock up on small rolls of several different backings until you figure out what works best for you. Many suppliers, such as AllStitch offer backing swatch cards you can purchase that give you the chance to see and feel the different types of embroidery backings offered.

Embroidery Thread

9350-507 variegated

Cheap embroidery thread is usually just that – cheap embroidery thread. Using a high-quality thread, like Madeira, will ensure that your machine stitches correctly and trouble free. Trust us when we see that puckering on your machine is more trouble than you should have to deal with. When you use a high quality thread you reduce the probability of this happening.

Madeira thread is available in both polyester, rayon, and metallic but if you are just starting out and do not have a preference, we recommend polyester. Grab yourself a physical color card with your first order, it will contain the actual thread swatches on the card and you will refer to this every time you purchase thread.

Thread comes in both smaller 1,100 yd sizes and large 5,500 yd sizes. You will get about 200,000 stitches our of the small size and 1,000,000 stitches out of the cones. In order to use the larger cones with home machines, you may need to buy an external thread stand, as they will not fit directly on your machine. It's important to keep your threads organized as you continue your path in embroidery.

Bobbins, the Bottom Thread

bobbins for embroidery
You can buy bobbins already wound on cores or large cones of bobbin thread that you wind yourself. Pre-wound bobbins save time and are much easier to use than bobbins you wind at home.

There are 3 common sizes of bobbins available for embroidery machines. From smallest to largest, they are Style L, Class 15 (Style A), & Jumbo M. Most home machines use either a Style L or Class 15.

Most commercial machines use a Style L. Consult your user manual or ask your machine manufacturer if you are unsure.


There are many different types of specialty scissors used in machine embroidery. At the bare minimum you will need a good pair of general use scissors to cut stabilizer and a pair of thread snips. Look for high quality scissors and only use them for the intended purpose.

Practice Continuously 

Our final advice is to practice continuously. Nobody became an expert embroiderer overnight. We were all beginners and we all made mistakes and so will you. While just learning, go through your closet and pick out all different types of old clothes you no longer wear.

Take one good design and start embroidering all over your clothing using different stabilizer and different techniques to you find what works best for you. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

We made a web page exclusively to help those who are beginners to machine embroidery. Here you will find FAQ's, helpful guides, tutorials, and even videos that will help you to navigate embroidery and create something stunning.


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