Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Embroidery 101

I have only been begging for an embroidery machine since the birth of our first daughter, over 2 years ago and 2 months before our second daughter was born I got one!  Having kids makes embroidery so fun but I have found is that I do more embroidering for myself or friends than I do for my kids, which I would not have thought would be the case. 


After talking to several people that had machines, visiting a local brother dealer and knowing my budget ($2,000 for EVERYTHING) I decided on the Brother PE-750D. I was pretty sure I wanted at least a 5" x 7" embroidery area and I liked the idea of being able to stitch Disney designs for my kiddos and this machine fit the bill. Now I would have liked the sewing/embroidery combo (the Innovis models), mainly just so I would not have to have 2 machines, but I would have had to double the cost and I was just fine having two machines; I mean I was not even sure how much I would use it at that point. The nice thing about my dealer is that I have 1 year and if I want to trade up I can do so with 100% credit for the price I paid for my machine.

When you set a budget for an embroidery machine there are a lot of things that you need to keep in mind because it is not like a sewing machine in that once you have it you are good to go.  Most of your budget will go to the "other" things you will need.  

First, I would suggest additional hoops.  The machine comes with a 5" x 7 " hoop but having additional sizes make certain designs easier, saves on stabilizers, and allows you to hoop something while you are embroidering.  I bought the Elipse 4-Hoop Embroidery Package for $100.  It comes with the following hoops: 1"x 2 1/2",  4" x 4", 5" x 7", 5" x 12".  Even though the embroidery area is limited to 5" x 7", the 5" x 12" hoop can be used if you "split" the design with your embroidery software.  Plus, you get some thread and pair of scissors.

My dealer sells the Sulky brand thread, but it was a bit out of my price range as I was trying to stretch my budget as far as I could.  I decided to purchase the Coats and Clark Embroidery Thread at Joann's.  They were $5.99 each but were on sale for buy one get one free, so like $3 each.  I picked out about 20 spools of various colors of thread to get me started.  I have also heard very good things about the Madeira thread too, just have not tried it yet.

My dealer suggested a light weight tear-away stabilizer because it has so many uses so I purchased a roll of it as well as a roll of a water soluble solvy topper stabilizer because I knew I wanted to embroider some towels.

For hoopless embroidery a spray adhesive is essential.  I used a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby to purchase Sulky Temporary Spray Adhesive KK2000 because it was $14.99!  I have also heard that 505 Adhesive is also good.

Designs and Fonts
The machine comes with a couple of fonts to start with but I wanted the cute ones so I purchased several from different websites.  See my posting on fonts and designs.  The prices of fonts and designs varies greatly from site to site.  The first thing I did was to search "free embroidery designs" to see what I could find out there to help me practice.  There are some cute FREE designs out there, you just have to scurry the web looking for them.  I purchase all my designs from online sites.

Embroidery blanks are simply items you can embroider on.  Examples include totes, shirts/onesies, towels, aprons, bibs, etc.  The prices on these can vary greatly too.  I am fortunate to have a tax ID number so I applied for wholesale accounts at several online vendors to purchase some blanks to start.  Some sites will allow you to purchase with wholesale prices with a minimum buy even if you don't have a tax ID.  My favorite sites are:

Yahoo Groups
I highly suggest joining a yahoo group for embroidery.  I have learned almost everything I know from reading and asking questions on these groups.  Everyone is so helpful!!  Finding a good support group will help you to have the confidence to try new things.  Depending upon your settings you can get summary emails that list all the messages in a day or you can get each message sent to your email.
Ok, so that is all I can think of right now but I will be adding to this as I think of more things that might be helpful if you are thinking about embroidery or if you are just starting out. 

1 comment:

  1. I have wanted a low cost embroidery machine for a while. The low entry Brother SE400 was recommended.
    I wouldn't be using it a lot (I may change my opinion after purchasing). It was recommended by a clerk in a quilting store.