Machine Embroidery Basics for Beginners

Machine Embroidery for Beginners

Machine embroidery is a fun sewing technique that allows you to personalize ready-made items and custom sewing projects. It is a simple gem to learn after understanding the basics because the machine does most of the work for you! Let’s take a look at the world of machine embroidery and see how easy and fun it can be.

Any way you consider yourself a quilter, garment sewist, home-dec aficionado, cross stitcher, tailor, or general crafter, machine embroidery is a technique that adds another layer to your creativity.

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Important Tips Machine Embroidery for Beginners

Machine embroidery is a great way for beginners to start creating their own designs and projects. Here are a few tips for machine embroidery beginners:

  1. Start with simple designs: Begin with simple designs and projects to get a feel for the process and to build confidence.

  2. Read the manual: Before starting, make sure to read the manual and become familiar with the machine’s features and functions.

  3. Use the right stabilizer: Using the right stabilizer can help ensure that your design turns out correctly and that the fabric does not pucker or stretch.

  4. Choose the right thread: Make sure to choose the right thread for your project and fabric.

  5. Test your design: Before starting on your final project, test your design on a scrap piece of fabric to make sure it turns out as desired.

  6. Take a class: If possible, take a class or workshop to learn the basics of machine embroidery, or watch online tutorials or videos.

  7. Practice: Like any other skill, practice is the key to becoming proficient in machine embroidery. The more you do it, the more comfortable and confident you will become.

  8. Join online groups: Join online groups or communities of machine embroiderers to learn from others, get tips and share your progress.

With time, patience and practice, you can master machine embroidery and create beautiful designs on your own. Remember to have fun and enjoy the process!

What is an Embroidery Machine?

The term “machine embroidery” refers to the process of making a pattern on a textile of one’s choice using a sewing machine or an expert embroidery machine. It is commonly used commercially, as it is an excellent tool for branding products or uniforms, but it can also be used to create patterns for purely decorative purposes. There are two main types of machine embroidery: free motion and computerized.

With free-motion machine embroidery, designs are made using the basic zig-zag sewing machine, but this can be quite limited. It is also labor-intensive and time-consuming, as the embroiderer is required to manually design the different sewing machine settings.

On the other hand, as the name implies, computerized machine embroidery is controlled by computers. These industrial and commercial embroidery machines, as we use them here in Custom Planet, have a hooping or framing system that holds the embroidered part of the fabric under the sewing needles. The area is then automatically moved by machine to create designs from pre-programmed digital embroidery patterns.

Many machines in the market vary in size, from a single needle to multi-needle machines. Let’s take a brief look at each of these types of machines:

Single Needles

Single-head embroidery machines are normally more user-friendly and are primarily used for basic sewing and digital embroidery designs. Can you guess why it is called a single needle machine? Because only one needle stays in place while the embroidery arm moves on the flatbed and embroiders the design you choose.

Single NeedlesOne small downside of a single needle is that you have to change the thread whenever you have a change of color. These machines are widely available in most shopping centers and sewing stores and will probably be the simplest type of machine for you.

While these machines are great for user-friendly and enthusiastic embroiderers, if you want to start a business or make money from your embroidery, this may not be the right machine for you. The largest hoop size for most single needle machines is 8 × 12. This means that embroidering on the backs of jackets, hats and caps, bags, and other large / uniquely shaped items is extremely difficult or impossible.

Multi Needles

Although they may be a bit more difficult to master, multi-head machines are “all done” when it comes to embroidery. The use of a multi-needle machine opens up unlimited potential for your embroidery. Although there are learning curves when starting out on a multi-needle machine for the first time, it’s not something you can’t handle, especially with all the great educational resources available online these days.

Multi NeedlesThese machines have 4-16 needles, each of which sews the color of its own thread. This is a huge benefit as you will save more runtime than you need to change colors multi-needle embroidery machine annually.

Another major advantage of the multi-needle embroidery machine is the size of the hoop. Typically, multi-needle hoops start at 4 × 4 and extend to jumbo-sized hoops (jacket backs, etc.). Most also have hat frames that allow you to embroider hats/caps.

Single Needle vs multi needles embroidery machine, Which is the best choice?

Single needle and multi-needle embroidery machines are two different types of machines that are used for embroidery. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages depending on the project and the user preferences.

Single needle embroidery machines have one needle and one thread and are suitable for small to medium-sized projects. They are typically more affordable than multi-needle machines and are easier to learn and operate. They are also more versatile, allowing you to work on a variety of fabrics and materials.

Multi-needle embroidery machines, on the other hand, have multiple needles and threads and are designed for larger projects and higher production. They can embroider multiple colors at the same time, and they are faster than single needle machines. However, they are typically more expensive than single needle machines and require more space.

Multi-needle embroidery machines are suitable for commercial and industrial use, and they are the best choice for embroidery shops and other businesses that need to produce a large number of embroidered items quickly and efficiently.

Single needle machines are suitable for home and small business use, and for those who prefer to work on smaller projects with more precision and control.

In conclusion, the choice between a single needle or multi-needle embroidery machine depends on your needs, budget and the type of projects you plan to work on. A single needle machine can be more affordable and easier to learn, while a multi-needle machine can be more efficient for high-volume projects and commercial use.

Embroidery Thread

It’s no secret that your embroidery machine uses thread to sew your designs. With so many threads to choose from (raven, polyester, cotton, metal, etc.) it’s hard to know which one to choose and where to start. Before we begin, it is important that we select and understand the weight of our thread.

The good news is that almost all machine embroidery designs have been digitized for standard 40wt thread. There are a few exceptions, but most websites suggest that you use them in the design description.

Now that we understand the weight of the thread, let’s jump into the different types of threads:



This is the cheapest and most popular form of machine embroidery yarn, hard to break, easy to use, and available in every color. Easy to use This thread is a great choice because of its strength and attractive shiny shape.

This type of synthetic thread will stand the test of time compared to Raven. Polyester yarn is machine washable, making it an excellent choice for embroidery items that require a lot of washing (clothes, towels, bedspreads, etc.).



Rayon yarn is not as synthetic as polyester, and because of this, it is not as strong. This can lead to the breakage of multiple threads with designs that were not properly digitized, so I recommend using this type of thread with the designs of reputable vendors. Rayon is remarkably soft to the touch and creates a beautiful look and feel.

Unluckily, this can be bypassed-but not unless you’re a techie who knows what he’s doing. I always recommend using Rayon to sew our Vintage 1950 Free Standing Lace (FSL) designs to get a beautifully finished product.



The advantage of using cotton is that it gives your design a more hand-embroidered shape and feel. This makes cotton yarns perfect for reusable designs, quilts, and cross stitch designs. To learn more about Embroidery Threads and the 5 best thread brands.



The metallic thread gives an incredible shape and makes your design feel like a tight wire, but it can be very difficult to master. Most people struggle with metallic thread because all the threads break. Often people become very frustrated and give up metal thread.

Embroidery Stabilizer

Embroidery StabilizerEmbroidered sewing machines use a raffle foot that is not actually on the fabric and there is no feed dog under the fabric to keep it in place. The stabilizer “tightens” the fabric to keep it tight because the embroidery sewing machine does its job, working with proper hopping.

There are many stabilizers in the market, including cut-away, tear-away, wash-away, etc.


Cut-Away stabilizers are the strongest and most stable. Although it can be used on any type of fabric, it is best when sewing on stretch or woven fabrics. The reason you call it a cut-away stabilizer is because of how you remove it.

Once you have finished sewing your design, you can easily cut off any excess stabilizer left around your stitches. Make sure you leave the stabilizer in place under the stitches, as this will keep your stitches in place indefinitely.


Tear-Away stabilizers are used when you need to remove most of the stabilizer from the back of your design (between stitches and open spaces). Tearing can be used on almost all fabrics, but exclude stretched and woven fabrics. To remove this stabilizer, you just have to cut or find the open end of the stabilizer and tear it.


Wash-away stabilizers are perfect for designs/projects in which there is no sign of stabilizer after the design is completed. A good example of this would be free-standing lace or a design that can be seen from the front and back. This stabilizer is not as strong as the others but works wonders. Also, it’s magic; just rub the water on the stabilizer and it will disappear! That’s why it is called Wash-Away.

Embroidery Hooping

Embroidery HoopingEmbroidery sewing machines come with hoops that are attached to embroidery sewing machines. Hooping puts the fabric into the embroidered sewing machine hoop. Stability and tightness are important; Unlike hand embroidery, the fabric should stay in the same position as the sewing machine embroiders the design. The design will not sew properly if the fabric moves. It is not uncommon for the border to be in line with the rest of the design.

The easiest way to think about hopping is that the hoop acts as your pressing foot because the embroidery sewing machine sews the design.

Hooping isn’t that complicated once you catch it. In general, we recommend that you adjust your hoop to the correct size before you actually bend your fabric. We also recommend that you avoid fighting the hoop after the fact, again, to avoid burning the hoop.

Embroidery Designs

Embroidery machines generally have at least a few built-in designs. The cost of the machine usually affects the number of built-in designs. Each machine brand has its own file format that the computer recognizes. Before purchasing any additional design, consult the Machine Manual to identify the appropriate file format as well as design size limitations. I suggest you read our article on Understanding Machine Embroidery File Formats to understand file formats in the embroidery world better.

What happens if you start embroidering something and your embroidery thread starts unraveling and tangles up and destroys the pattern?

If your embroidery thread starts unraveling and tangling up while you are working on a project, it can cause the pattern to become distorted or destroyed. This is a common problem known as “thread break” or “thread nest” and it can happen due to a variety of reasons such as:

  1. Incorrect threading: If the thread is not threaded correctly, it can cause the thread to unravel or become tangled.

  2. Old or damaged thread: Old or damaged thread can become weak and easily break or tangle up.

  3. Incorrect tension: If the tension of the thread is not set correctly, it can cause the thread to break or tangle up.

  4. Incorrect needle size: Using a needle that is too small or too large for the thread can cause the thread to break or tangle up.

  5. Incorrect stabilizer: Using the wrong type of stabilizer can cause the thread to break or tangle up.

If you encounter this problem, the best solution is to stop the machine immediately, and to carefully remove the tangled thread without damaging the fabric or the design. Then you can re-thread your machine with a new thread, adjust the tension, and make sure you have the right needle size and stabilizer for your project.

It’s always a good idea to keep a few extra spools of thread on hand in case of thread breakage, and to make sure your thread is fresh and in good condition before starting any project.


Now you know what you will need to start a machine embroidery. Learning to embroider is an exciting journey, and we would love to be a part of it!

I hope you enjoyed learning how to use the embroidery machine and some of the tips and techniques of embroidery. If I missed something or anything else you need help with, please let me know, and I’ll work on more tutorials!

The pictorial result of the embroidery thread for beginners.

Here are some essentials of hand embroidery that you need to start sewing and creating works of art.

  • Fabric. Normally, you can embroider on any fabric
  • Needles Embroidery or Creole needles
  • Embroidery floss. Stranded cotton
  • Embroidered hoops
  • Fabric marking pen
  • Scissors.

You can definitely make a hand embroiderer without using the hoop! Although the use of hoops is very common, it is definitely not a necessity. There are some situations when you may choose not to use hoops: the fabric you are using is too delicate.

Although you can use a sewing needle for embroidery, you should not do it at all. Standard sewing needles can easily cause the embroidery thread to break, break, or flare up more often than standard embroidery needles, which can ruin the embroidery.

Floating is a technique that embroiderers use when the object they want to embroider is too small or hooped. Basically, to swim, you just hop on your stabilizer. You then attach your item to the stabilizer.

Using an embroidery machine can seem daunting at first, but with a little practice and patience, it can be easy to master. Here are some basic steps to using an embroidery machine:

  1. Read the manual: Before using your machine, make sure to read the manual and become familiar with the machine’s features and functions.

  2. Thread the machine: Thread the machine according to the instructions in the manual. Make sure the thread is inserted correctly and the tension is set properly.

  3. Hoop the fabric: Hoop the fabric by aligning it with the hoop and securing it in place. Make sure the fabric is taut and smooth.

  4. Load the design: Load the design you want to embroider into the machine. This can be done by connecting a USB drive to the machine or by transferring the design to the machine via a computer and a specialized software.

  5. Position the hoop: Position the hoop under the needle and make sure the design is properly aligned with the fabric.

  6. Start the machine: Turn on the machine and press the start button. The machine will begin embroidering the design.

  7. Monitor the progress: Keep an eye on the machine as it embroiders the design. Be prepared to stop the machine if you notice any issues with the thread or the fabric.

  8. Trim the thread: Once the design is complete, use the built-in cutter or scissors to trim the thread.

  9. Remove the hoop: Carefully remove the hoop from the machine and remove the fabric.

  10. Care and maintenance: Make sure to clean and maintain your machine according to the instructions in the manual to ensure it continues to work properly.

It’s important to note that each embroidery machine may have slightly different instructions and features, so make sure to refer to the manual for specific instructions for your machine. With practice, you will get more comfortable using the machine and you will be able to create beautiful designs in no time!

Yes, it is possible to embroider with a sewing machine, but it’s important to note that not all sewing machines are equipped to handle embroidery. Some sewing machines come with built-in embroidery functions, while others can be converted or used in combination with specialized software and attachment to enable embroidery.

If your sewing machine has built-in embroidery functions, you will need to refer to the manual for specific instructions on how to use these features. If your sewing machine does not have built-in embroidery functions, you can use it in combination with specialized software and an embroidery attachment to enable embroidery.

It’s important to keep in mind that embroidery with a sewing machine will typically be slower and more limited in design options compared to using a dedicated embroidery machine. Also, not all sewing machines are built to handle the added stress and motion of embroidery, so it’s important to make sure that the machine you are using is suitable for embroidery.

It’s also important to note that for professional or high-volume embroidery, a specialized embroidery machine is recommended, as it will be faster and more efficient.

If you have any questions leave the comments or you can visit our social channels for more updates regularly. We provide embroidery digitizing services if you need digitizing services feel free to contact us or email us.

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2 thoughts on “Machine Embroidery Basics for Beginners”

  1. Thank you. Like you there were some missing puzzle pieces in my early embroidery training. I have been doing embroidery for 5 years but did not have a clue what the grid guide was for or how to use it. I love your machine in the way the arm is placed on the right instead of left. Again, thank you.


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