Machine Embroidery Designs Projects



How to choose the best thread for your machine embroidery design projects?

First and foremost : Always use quality MACHINE EMBROIDERY threads. These threads are designed to produce professional quality embroidery results, and come in huge variety of colors and fibers.

Some embroidery threads have a reputation for being difficult to work with, but most likely a few slight adjustments can reduce the breakage problems. The three parameters that can effect breakerage level are thread tension, bobbin fillament thread & needle. We would recommend using bobbin thread of lighter weight than the needle thread, and similar fiber content. Bobbin thread should be as fine as possible, but at least 60 or 70 wt. Fine bobbin thread allows less build up on the back of the embroidery and the machine will proceed more easily. There are several lightweight bobbin threads specifically designed for machine embroidery designs, mostly made from polyester.

Dont be tempted to use regular sewing thread for embroidery projects, thinking it is cheaper. Not only the results will be different (in most cases much worse), but eventually you will get your embroidery machine very "SICK".

You may obtain absolutely different effects by taking advantage of thread weight. Machine embroidery threads come in variety of weights from 30-weight rayon to 120-weight cotton. The rule here is: the higher the number - the finer the thread. If you would like to achieve 3-d effect and/or better fabric coverage, try using lower # of thread, and the opposite.

Different thread fibers, like cotton and Rayon, may have different thickness in the same weight. For instance, 40-weight cotton usually looks thicker than 40-weight rayon. The same is with polyester thread - since polyester is more elastic than rayon, it often appears thicker when stitched (but yet thinner than cotton). However, similar weight and material thread may also slightly vary from brand to brand.

Thread fibers:

Rayon is the most popular choice among machine design embroiderers because of it's appealing high sheen, widespread availability, consistent trouble-free performance and holding up to high-speed stitching without breaking or fraying. Rayon can be found in 40 & 30 wt., as well as in a wide range of solid, variegated and "twist" colors. The "twist" thread is composed of two or more solid colors twisted together to form a single strand, which adds automatic shading and dimension to embroidery designs.

Polyester thread has a sheen almost comparable to rayon (just a little less shiny) and comes in plenty of colors. Polyester is usually a little cheaper than rayon because of it's synthetic origin. They are colorfast, extraordinary durable and have high resistance to Chlorine and Bleach, which makes them the ideal thread for embroidering childrenswear, workwear, hotel and catering items, sportswear and any items that will be frequently and/or heavily washed. It won't shrink, fade or bleed.

Cotton thread receives high marks for stitching performance and it's lovely soft sheen. Also, cotton is available in most wide range of weights - from 30 to 120 wt. (120 wt. is considered heirloom quality), although the 30 to 50 weights are the most popular for their strength and sufficient fabric coverage. With cotton you may achieve subtle shading between colors within a color family, which may be extremely important when stitching complex designs with light and shade effects. The softer qualities of cotton thread are perfect for machine cross stitch. If you want your designs to look much like hand stitched cross stitch, it's better to stitch them with cotton thread.

Metallic & glittery mylar thread is considered to be the most whimsical, but it's a popular choice for adding sparkling accents to embroidery designs. They are available in a wide range of colors as well as holographic hues, which pick up light and color from surrounding objects and add spectacular luminous accents to machine embroidery. Some might perform better than others on your machine, so don't be afraid to experiment to find the ones that are the most trouble-free for you. You will find they're well worth using. Sometimes they tend to break with high-speed sewing, so you may need to adjust the thread tension and use specialty needles for these types of thread.

Silk thread is strong and stable with an unmatched noble sheen. It's the best choice when embroidering on silk and other luxurious fabrics. Silk truly is the aristocrat of specialty threads, however it's more costly and hard to find. It combines the strength (but not abrasiveness) of polyester, the stability of cotton and sews smoothly without breaking. Silk threads are available in a wide range of sizes, but the 30 to 50 wts. are the most appropriate for machine embroidery.




Choosing the right needle for your project

Most home sewing and embroidery machines use flat shank needles (the shank is rounded with one flat side), and commercial machines use round shank needles.

It is always a good idea to start with a new needle for every new embroidery project, or about every eight hours. A dull or burred needle can cause snags and puckering, so if you experience stitching problems, try to replace the needle. Wrong needle may cause tension problems, although it is not always the best choice to use a larger universal needle to avoid thread fraying and breakage. The larger needle may produce unsightly holes in the fabric or cut the fabric causing gaps between the embroidery areas.

To test whether your needle creates too much tension on the thread or not, cut a piece of thread about 12 inches long and thread it through the needle. Hold the thread vertically and fairly taut. Then, from the top, spin the needle. It should slip down the thread. If it doesn't, you need a needle with larger eye.

Selecting a suitable machine needle for your project should be based on the weight & type of fabric and the weight & type of thread you are going to use on your project. The heavier the fabric and denser the weave, the larger the needle will need to be, and the opposite.

The most commonly used needle sizes in machine embroidery (in both European & American numbering systems) are 65/9, 70/10, 75/11, 80/12, 90/14. Machine embroidery needles have a slightly larger eye and groove in the shank, protecting embroidery threads from shredding or breaking (for use with rayon & polyester embroidery threads).

Needles are available in many types - Sharps, Wedge (cutting) Points, Ball Points & Metallics.

Sharp point is good for most woven fabrics that won't unravel. Sharps cut through the fibers, and deliver the thread with less push and pull on the fabric.

Ball point is used with knits and other stretchy fabrics, when it's important to avoid cutting the goods by needle penetration. The rounded points will cause the needle to slip between the fabric threads to prevent cutting the fabric and causing it to unravel.

Wedge points are for leather, vinyl and other heavy and very dense materials. These needles are for fabrics which are not woven as they make a small slit rather than hole. The wrong needle on leather would cut the design out.

Fortunately, needle manufacturers have also designed marvelous needles for specialty embroidery thread like metallic, glitter and other delicate exotic fibers. Specialty needles (like Sullivan's Metafil, Madeira's Metallic, Schmetz Metallica etc..) have larger coated eyes and deeper scarfs to handle the thread more easily.

Please don't forget to test-stitch the design with the type of needle you're going to use on final project. There are always exceptions to the rules, and it's always a good idea test the needle and other components before using them on final projecs, to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Choosing the right fabric

Choosing the right fabric is extremely important to embroidery success. Although, it's basically possible to stitch on just about anything you can get a needle through, the fabric type you choose will be one of the most important factors that determine how the final project will look. It may be a success or a disaster, depending on the fabric you choose.

Please keep these tips in mind to help ensure a good outcome on your next project:

Not every design will stitch well on every fabric. For example, a design with a high stitch density might stitch well on a heavy woven fabric, but pucker or tear the fabric (despite stabilizer) on a lightweight one.

Choosing the right stabilizer(s) is just as important as choosing the right fabric. For example, a knit that stretches out of shape during embroidery might receive stitching with ease with an appropriate stabilizer.

Some fabrics are not meant to be embroidered. The best way to determine whether a fabric is embroidery-friendly is to test stitch on it.

Many items that cannot be hooped in a conventional hoop can still be embroidered on using on of the hoopless embroidery methods. In a nutshell hoopless embroidery involves hooping a backing or piece of material and adhering the goods to be embroidered to the hooped backing. The best method to use will depend on what you are embroidering on.

We also noticed many of our customers were asking what kinds of fabrics are preferable for our xs designs. Actually, the choices are not limited at all. We usually prefer using heavy linen and linen-cotton blends, since these types of fabrics don't get stretched too much and are not too delicate for the pretty large and dense cross-stitch designs. Evenweave and canvas can also be used very successfully. If you feel that the canvas is too thick for your hoop, you may apply sticky back to your hoop then take the fabric with the iron on stablaizer on the back and stick it to the stitcky back and embroider.


Where can I view machine embroidered designs ?

a) Secrets of Embroidery : This site by large is one of the best when it comes to the variety of machine embroidery designs that it contains in itself.

b) ArtisticThreadWorks : This has a well classified library of machine embroidery designs.

c) Shalin-Craft : This site does contain machine embroidered designs. You could get a comparison of machine versus hand and do some analysis of the advantages yourself.

d) America's Sewing & Embroidery Center : A hybrid website with a lot of information on machine embroidery designs as well as other forms of embroidery.


e) Embroidery Designs Our own digitized designs. $12.95 per set or $45.00 for everything. : Designs By Sick : This is a small site but contains some good unique embroidery designs.


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