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Friday, 16 November 2018

A touch of Christmas embroidery

Machine embroidery for beginners - thoughts on Embroidery machines

I have just made myself a Christmas sweatshirt and thought it was a good opportunity to talk a bit about Embroidery Machines in general. Of course the real experts are Jaycotts so if this post sparks some interest then please telephone them for a no-obligation chat on 01244 394 099

This is my experience with machine embroidery.

This is a very simple sweatshirt made in a looped back sweatshirt fabric. This particular fabric comes in about 16 colours and is inexpensive Looped back sweatshirting A top like this is perfect for lounging in..

I have made this pattern before and for details of how to make it see my blog post  -you can find it here Drama Llama sweatshirt

Do watch my YouTube video where my tops feature 

The first thing you need to decide is do you  want an embroidery only machine like mine The Brother innov-is 800e or a sewing/ embroidery machine combined.

An embroidery only machine is the obvious choice if you already have a sewing machine which you love and have space to store and use an embroidery machine too.

For normal sewing my Horn sewing cabinet ( ask Jaycotts for details and prices) has room for my sewing machine and overlocker. The embroidery machine has its home in a cupboard nearby. I have a dedicated sewing room which becomes a bedroom when my son comes to stay. The Horn cabinet closes completely to hide my sewing machines away leaving a very nice area for my son to use.

When I want to use the embroidery machine my sewing machine simply pushes down into the body of the Horn Cabinet, a perspex insert covers the cut-out and my embroidery machine sits on top. This works very well. There is no foot pedal on an embroidery machine so there is no need to sit on top of it.

If you are thinking about replacing your sewing machine too,or maybe you are short of space then you you may want to consider a sewing machine and embroidery machine combined. I have written a review of this one, the Brother Innov-is VQ2 which I think you will find interesting. This machine has a long arm which is much loved by quilters.

These two machines are only a very small part of what Jaycotts has to offer and I do strongly recommend that you visit them to try various models out if you can or at least telephone to discuss the best one to suit your needs and your budget. New machines are coming out all the time.

You will need accessories which you will become familiar with as you start to use your machine.


The first thing you need is stabiliser. There are various types but all serve the same purpose which is to stabilise and support the embroidery as it is being worked on the fabric.
A good start is Gunold tear away stabiliser but as you become more proficient you will need self adhesive stabilisers and water soluble stabilisers. All available from Jaycotts.

Embroidery needles

Your needle is going in and out thousands of times for each piece of embroidery and you will get through them very quickly. Various Embroidery needles you will also need special needles ( shown on the link) if you intend using metallic threads.

Embroidery thread

This is a fun part, choosing your thread. There are plenty of Embroidery threads to choose from Embroidery thread I would start off with a box of thread and add to it as you need it. There are colour changing threads, variegated threads, lurex threads......

You also need Bobbin thread this is used in the bobbin as it is not necessary to use your embroidery thread top and bottom unless!you are making free stand embroidery for bookmarks etc.

You will need one or two hoops to start with, usually supplied with your machine, but you can purchsse different sizes.  Your stabiliser and fabric are placed tightly into the hoop and the grid allows you to align the centre of  your design and to place it correctly on your fabric.

Where do I get my designs from?

There are designs built into your machine to get you started . You can find free ones online to download from Brother and other companies and there are designs to purchase online. Take a look at the Brother UK web site for their designs and project ideas Brother Sewing UK

You will notice that I have used easily removable chalk to mark the positioning of my design.

The design is chosen  from one built into your machine or you can download one from the internet, load it into a pen drive and insert it into the USB port on your embroidery machine. It really is that simple.

 There are lots of designs available, not just for Christmas so it is really easy to personalise your garments. You could add a sprig of Holly to the corners of tablecloths and napkins too. You do not necessarily need to make the item to be embroidered yourself.

All you need to do is change the colour of the thread when the machine tells you to. This is a Sweet Pea design I am working on, but the process is the same.
The display shows an image of your design with a marker at the point you are up to.
On the right is a list of the current and following thread colours which are needed. I like to get them lined up ready whilst the machine embroiders the current colour


Should your thread snap or your needle break the machine will tell you and stop. There is then the opportunity to either go back a few stitches or to the previous thread colour.

I hope that this has given you a little insight into the world of embroidery. It is very simple and very addictive and I know that if you are a sewer or a quilter you will thoroughly enjoy using your new machine.

Choosing the right machine for you is the only thing you need seriously do contact Jaycotts and they will help you to make this totally exciting purchase.

The address is

Jaycotts Ltd, Unit D2, Chester Trade Park, Bumpers Lane, Chester, CH1 4LT, United Kingdom

And the telephone number is 01244 394099

Thank you for reading, I hope you found it useful

#christmas #gift #christmasgift #machineembroidery