Tips and Tricks for Great Machine Embroidery

Choose the best stabilizer for the project. Stick to stabilizer made for embroidery for best results. These are the 4 basic stabilizers I use in my embroidery business:

  • Cutaway for items that will be washed repeatedly to help hold the stitches in place. (I have different weights of cutaway and use them according to what type of fabric I am embroidering on.)
  • Tearaway on caps.
  • Water soluble stabilizer for free standing lace.
  • Water soluble topping for the top of towels.

 Hoop everything that can be hooped. An embroidery hoop is made to hold the stabilizer and the item you are embroidering in place while the machine stitches out the design. Taking the time to properly hoop items can save you so much time and ensure that each item comes out perfectly.

Manufacturers make so many different hoops now you can find them for almost every need. I use the hoops that came with my machine and magnetic hoops for hard to hoop items.

It only takes seconds or at the most a minute or two to hoop almost everything I embroider.

Take the time to learn to hoop shirts, jackets, towels, etc.

 Not every design will work well on every fabric.

  • Use designs that are “light” in stitches and not too dense on thinner fabrics.
  • Designs that have lots of fill stitching and are dense should be embroidered on heavier fabric s like twill or denim.

If you have to use iron on stabilizers and lots of cutaway or go through a lot of trouble to make a design look good on a certain fabric, it is probably not specifically digitized for that type of fabric and you need to use a heavier fabric for that design.

*If you do need to embroider a dense design or one with lots of fill stitches on a lighter fabric and there is no other option, have a digitizer with experience in manual digitizing create the design for a lighter fabric..

Designs will look best if you choose the right type of design for the fabric you are embroidering on.

Specific hooping and stabilizer questions I get often:

How to embroider on those super thin sport shirts:

  • Start with a design that has been digitized for use on that type of fabric.
  • Stick to designs that are "lighter" and have less dense stitching
  • Use 2 layers of a thin stabilizer like polymesh so the stabilizer will not be visable behind the shirt when finished. The thin cutaway is soft and "flowy" like the thin knit fabic.
  • Add a layer of tearaway to help stabilizer while embroidering.
  • Hoop all layers. From the bottom to the top the layers should be as follows: 1-Tearaway  2-two layers of thin cutaway or polymesh 3- the knit shirt.  With the tearaway being the 1st  thing you put in the hoop, it will be easy to remove when the shirt is finished. Trim the cutaway leaving an inch or so around the design. *I am not precise when trimming, it does not have to be neat and exact. The closer you try to trim the stabilizer, the more you risk cutting the shirt by accident.

Learning to hoop is probably the important and efficient thing I learned back in 1997 when I opened my embroidery shop.