Machine Embroidery insights

I am teaching a course on Machine Embroidery tomorrow & thought I share the worksheet… I absolutely are free hand Machine Embroidery for its many and varied uses!

General Free Hand Machine Embroidery tips:

Always make sure you keep your hands on the edge of the embroidery hoop. This is essential for safety and will ensure you don’t sew over your fingers (which is easily done!).

Unless you want a random design, it is always best to sketch out your design onto the fabric you are going to use first in pencil. If you are trapping or appliquéing fabric cut and pin these in place as you sketch. Outline any design first, then go back and work more detail in to it. Don’t try to be overly careful- follow your design approximately, but not precisely. You will start to build up texture, and it will start to look delightfully sketchy!


Place the fabric tightly in your embroidery hoop, so that when you tap it your fingers bounce off it like a drum. When stitching your fabric should lie flat on the sewing machine.

When starting to stitch drop your dog feed, then hold the top thread in your left hand. Roll the needle towards you to take a full stitch, catching the bottom thread. Pull the bottom thread up and fully out. Push both towards the back and start to stitch. Follow this and you’ll have trouble free embroidery!

When using fancy threads- like metallics and ombre thread- always make a bobbin of matching normal thread. Never use the fancy thread in the bobbin, your machine will hate it!

Remember, this type of stitching goes against what your machine wants and is designed to do! Don’t pull your fabric jerkily or too hard in one direction as this can cause the needle to catch in the fabric and ruin your stitching, and even break.

Play around with stitch length, and even stitch style:


To make sewing easier, you don’t have to finish the ends and cut the thread whenever you want to move to a different part of the fabric. Simply sew a few stitches on the spot, then raise the foot, pull the hoop to move it to another area of the fabric, lower the foot and carry on sewing. Once you have finished, just cut the threads that you don’t need. If your fabric won’t move, turn the needle towards you to ‘dis-engage’ your needle from the current stitch. This should enable you to move your fabric freely.

It is also a good idea to back the area being stitched, particularly if working on a stretch fabric like T-shirting. A tearaway stabiliser is ideal. This is then torn away when the stitching is complete.

Embellish your designs once they’re complete with beads, buttons, sequins and even hand embroidery. Water soluble fabric is also an amazing thing to play with.

Now, aren’t you inspired to create?! I found the amazing photographs above- and many more, along with a very helpful blog post- from the very creative Clutterpunk. Just doing a simple Google search for images has really quite inspired me, & I can’t wait for tomorrow’s class!!

Happy stitching!


0 thoughts on “Machine Embroidery insights

  1. I am the proud owner of a very lovely embroidery machine, though not so proud to admit that I haven’t used it for any embroidery as yet (I have had it for nearly a year!) So thank you for this lovely piece of inspiration! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *