In the past, creating a beautiful piece of embroidered handiwork required a great deal of time, effort, and hard work, not to mention finger and eye strain, particularly if your project involved intricate design and detail.
However, with the advancement in computer technology specifically relating to embroidery software, even the most delicate and intricate decorative embroidery designs can be done quickly and easily with the use of a home sewing machine. And there are quite a selection of machines to choose from with costs ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on features and options that are important and right for your needs. These machines offer endless creative possibilities for the home crafter as well as for people who never thought they could embroider at all.
Introduction to Embroidery Machines
So what really are embroidery machines? Well, basically, they are machines specifically designed for decorative computer-generated embroidery. They can perfectly embroider designs on different fabric types, as well as on paper.
2 types of embroidery machines can stitch computer-generated decorative designs – a home “embroidery-only” machine and a home “sewing & embroidery” machine.
So, what’s the difference?
A home “sewing & embroidery” machine is a machine that can be changed from sewing to embroidery by the push of a button or by simply replacing parts of the machine; typically they have a removable embroidery unit so the machine will meet any sewing need. These embroidery/sewing combination machines are the higher-end, all-in-one machines that offer endless creative possibilities from sewing to decorative embroidery.
A home “embroidery-only” machine stitches programmed, decorative designs it does not have the ability to sew standard sewing machine stitches. These machines are solely devoted to doing machine embroidery; they do not do the work of a regular sewing machine.
This type of machine is perfect for those who have a sewing machine and would like to purchase an additional machine for embroidery. It is also perfect for a crafter who does not sew yet wants to embroider on purchased items and garments.
When you buy your personal embroidery machine, it will typically come with the software that is used to create the designs. You can also purchase software in any embroidery or sewing supply shop, or download it from the internet as well.
After you have purchased your own personal embroidery machine, you will also want to purchase embroidery supplies. You will need:
- Software for editing and digitizing
- Files of embroidery designs or patterns
- Fabric stabilizers along with your fabrics
- Hoops which usually come with the machine
What is Embroidery Digitizing?
Embroidery digitizing is the process of taking any image, art form or text and transforming it into a language that the machine will understand. This is done by means of software that an embroidery machine is designed to work with. Once the image has been digitized the machine understands what to do to stitch it out. What this does, in effect, is to transform any image or text into stitches.
Digitizing is a complex process and unless you have experience with computer graphics then a local sewing machine dealer may be your best source for training.
What is Stabilizer and What Does It Do?
The stabilizer does just what it suggests – stabilizes or holds the fabric in place so that the embroidery machine can do its job. It stiffens fabric and holds it tight to prevent fibers and threads on the fabric from poking through the embroidery design during the stitching process.
There are a variety of stabilizers available. The four basic types are cut-away, tear-away, heat-away, and wash-away. Each is based on the method that is used to remove it from the fabric once the embroidery is completed. They are made to leave no trace of the stabilizer on the fabric once removed; they simply hold the fabric down to get the job done.
What is Hooping?
Embroidery sewing machines come with hoops that attach to the machines. They keep the fabric itself taut and in place. This is very important; if the fabric puckers or does not stay in the same position while the machine embroiders then the design will not stitch out correctly.
Machine embroidery has become very popular in recent years. And no wonder, as technological advances continue to create cutting edge machines, embroidery by machine has become increasingly easier to master. These machines help to speed up the design process and allow people who never thought they could embroider to be able to create spectacular designs regardless of their skill level.
So why don’t you give it a try! You just might become hooked too! By the way, here you can read our best review.