Machine embroidery is a really fun, creative way to bring your ideas to life and add a bit of customisation to your home and wardrobe.  It can be quite daunting to get started with though, especially if you’ve never given it a go before.  Here are my 5 Machine Embroidery Tips for Beginners to help you get started.

1. Do your first project on a stable fabric

While it can be really tempting to pull out all the t-shirts you no longer wear and want to use them to learn on, a fabric that has stretch to it is not ideal for your first project.  Get yourself a nice woven fabric that has a bit of body to it (quilting cotton is a bit too thin, go a bit thicker if you can).

2. Use the right needle

Don’t overcomplicate choosing a needle, yes there are different sizes and features but when you’re starting out, a 75/11 embroidery needle is the best way to go for most projects.  Make sure you choose an embroidery needle over a regular sewing needle though,  embroidery needles have a larger eye than most sewing needles, a slightly rounded point and a deep scarf (groove above the eye) to protect decorative thread from shredding or breaking.

3. Choose the right thread

Don’t use sewing thread for embroidery, embroidery thread is thinner and smoother and designed for the method of embroidery where you have a lot of stitches really close to each other.  A good polyester thread will be perfect for most projects as it’s colour fast and strong which will give good longevity to your finished items.  I personally like the Hemingworth range as it has a good range of colours and the spool cover system helps protect the thread from dust etc.

4. Stabilizer is important

 A lot of beginners want to use tear away stabilizer for everything so as not to have the stabilizer hanging around on the finished product but tear away really isn’t the best way to go for every project.  Stabilizer actually does a lot more than we give it credit for.  Embroidery designs have a lot of stitches and your fabric needs help holding all of those stitches while continuing to look good.  Tear away stabilizer is fine for projects with really stable, non-stretchy fabrics but it’s really worth investing in a good cut away stabilizer especially if you want to embroider on clothing items at some stage.

5. Practice makes perfect

As with any skill, the more you practice, the better you’ll get. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – they’re all part of the learning process.

If you’re a bit nervous to get started with your first project or you want to connect with a community of like-minded machine embroiderers in New Zealand, come join my Facebook community – the NZ Machine Embroidery Addicts.  I also run monthly social get togethers and workshop events, you can find out more about these events on the NZ Machine Embroidery Addicts website.