How to Embroider with a Sewing Machine – Use Its Potential to the Fullest

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Last updatedLast updated: April 26, 2021
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Embroidery used to be a hobby that you associated with your grandmother or your favorite aunt. However, in recent years embroidery has redeemed its popularity among people of all ages. Hand-stitched embroidery has evolved from thread and needles to being done by specialized embroidery machines.

But, what do you do if you can’t afford an embroidery machine or the amount of embroidery you’d like to do doesn’t justify the expense of a separate machine? Fortunately, there’s a way to use your current Brother or Janome sewing machine to embroider. All you have to do now is learn how to embroider with a sewing machine. This article will help you identify what you need and how to get the process started.

How regular sewing machines handle embroidery

The good news is, you can easily use embroidery thread in your regular sewing machine. While the embroidery process is very similar to that of sewing, there are a few differences to take note of.

You’ll need to change your sewing needle for an embroidery needle. Since embroidery thread can’t handle as much tension as regular sewing cotton, you’ll have to adjust the tension settings.

Some additional good news is that you can do embroidery with your quilting machine. The Brother range offers many models regarded as the best machines for quilting and embroidery.

How to do embroidery with a regular sewing machine

How to Embroider with a Sewing Machine - Use Its Potential to the FullestDoing embroidery with your regular sewing machine is very easy. All it takes is the right supplies, some good patterns and a bit of practice!

What you’ll need

You’ll need a few supplies to make embroidery with your sewing machine easy. Let’s have a look at what you’ll need:

–       A sewing machine (naturally).

–       The design; start with an easy one till you have mastered the technique.

–       A fabric marker pen which you’ll use to trace your design.

–       Choose a piece of stiff material. Don’t start out using your best material.

–       An embroidery needle.

–       Use embroidery thread. While you can use other threads, embroidery cotton is stronger and will give strength to the finished product.

–       A stabilizer will help you move your work around. It will also help with some of the more delicate stitches. Experts recommend using a water-soluble stabilizer because it’s easy to wash out when your piece is finished.

How to do it

  • Draw the design on your fabric with a water-soluble marker. You can also use a hot iron to press the design onto the material.
  • Place a tear-away stabilizer on the back of the material.
  • Place the fabric on the bottom part of the hoop.
  • Remove the presser foot and lower the feed dogs.
  • Adjust the tension of the top and bottom thread. The thread should have looser tension than regular sewing.
  • Remove the sewing needle and replace it with a darning or embroidery needle.
  • Place the top hoop over the material. Remember to use a hoop small enough to move around.
  • The stitch length should be set to 0 if you want a tight zig-zag stitch and 2 for a regular straight stitch.
  • Keep the material on the needle plate throughout the embroidery process.
  • Start sewing slowly while you engage the upper and lower threads.
  • Make several small stitches without moving the material at all. This will secure the stitching. Cut the extra threads away.
  • Start sewing in a slow and gentle process until you’re used to the process.
  • Move the hoop around while holding the material tight in the hoop.
  • Start with the outline and gradually fill the rest of the design.

Free-motion embroidery

How to Embroider with a Sewing Machine - Use Its Potential to the FullestFree-motion machine embroidery refers to a technique that allows you to move the material around freely. This means the material should be allowed to move freely in any direction. It’s important to note that you’ll need a darning plate to perform this technique. Let’s see just how easy it is:

  • You’ll need a medium-heavy fabric suitable for embroidery
  • Draw or trace your chosen design onto the fabric
  • Interface the fabric
  • Wind the bobbin with machine embroidery thread
  • Remove the snap-on pressure foot adapter as well as the pressure foot
  • Lower the feed dog or cover it
  • Lower the pressure feet
  • Set the stitch setting to your required stitch
  • Hold your work by the hoop rings to avoid injury to your fingers
  • Start stitching by moving the hoop in short jerky movements until your design is filled with tiny straight stitches
  • Review your work and re-stitch any open spaces

When looking for the right embroidery thread to make the perfect designs, you might want to consider the New brothread 63 Brother Colors Polyester Embroidery Machine Thread Kit 500M (550Y). This kit features 63 different color thread spools and the thread is compatible with Brother, Janome and Singer sewing machines.

As you become more experienced, there are many embroidery software programs to help you improve your new skill.

How to embroider letters and words with a regular sewing machine

It’s not that difficult to embroider letters or even numbers with a regular sewing machine. These simple steps will have you making letter designs in no time:

  • Loosen the embroidery hoop screw.
  • Place your fabric in between the wooden hoops.
  • Secure the hoops and fabric by tightening the hoop screws.
  • Place the fabric under the sewing machine and gently start with the edge of the first letter.
  • It’s important to work gently and slowly until you start getting the hang of the technique.

If you need some ideas and the patterns and embroidery techniques to create, you might want to invest in the Animal Embroidery Workbook. It offers you a step-by-step guide to 30 patterns and techniques.

Embroidery sewing machine brands to consider

If you’re going to take up embroidery as a permanent hobby or perhaps as a means to earn an additional income, it might be a good idea to invest in an embroidery sewing machine. Let’s look at the popular options you can consider.


How to Embroider with a Sewing Machine - Use Its Potential to the FullestBrother sewing machines have long been the firm favorites of many sewing enthusiasts because of their ability to make domestic and industrial sewing so simple.

Sewing enthusiasts are finding a lot of reasons to be chuffed with the Brother PE800. This Brother model features 138 built-in embroidery designs which include floral, quilt patterns and scrollwork. 11 Built-in fonts allow you to create amazing designs creating monogramming or lettering.

You can easily preview your planned designs before you start your embroidery project. A USB port enables you to import your designs into the machine’s built-in memory, allowing you to access them whenever needed! It’s no wonder the Brother PE800 is regarded as the best Brother sewing machine around!

How to embroider with a Brother sewing machine

  • Press your fabric and choose the threads for your design
  • Mark the location of the design on your project using a removable marking tool
  • Lay the outer ring of the embroidery hoop onto your work surface
  • Place stabilizer on the outer ring and secure with the hoop
  • Attach the hoop to the machine.
  • Press start and follow the step-by-step guide as indicated on the machine


How to Embroider with a Sewing Machine - Use Its Potential to the FullestPeople who enjoy taking their embroidery skills to the next level are huge fans of the Janome range of sewing and embroidery machines.

One of the more popular machines from this range is the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9850 that easily allows you to take your creative skills in a completely new and exciting direction. Not only does this ultra-modern machine offer you over 200 built in stitches for regular sewing, but it also features an amazing 175 built-in embroidery designs.

Fans of this particular model have dubbed it the best monogramming machine because of its 3 letters monograming function. Other features that add to this Janome’s popularity include an LCD full-color touchscreen, 7-piece feed dog, free arm and USB design transfer. Embroidery has never been this easy or this much fun!

Step by Step Guide for Using a Janome

  • Set the machine up for free motion embroidery
  • Select zig-zag stitch
  • Wind the bobbin and place it in the bobbin holder
  • Write monogram, logo or lettering on your project with water-soluble marking pen
  • Iron stabilizer on the back of the fabric
  • Place the fabric in the bottom of the embroidery hoop
  • Drop the needle at the starting point of your design
  • Hold the top and bottom thread and sew a few of the stitches in place
  • Place your hands on the embroidery hoop and start sewing slowly

Final thoughts

By selecting a simple design and following the steps I’ve listed you’ll be using your sewing machine to create beautiful embroidery pieces before you know it. If embroidery is a hobby you’d like to pursue, it would be to your advantage to invest in one of the sewing or embroidery machines mentioned since you now know how to embroider with a sewing machine!

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