How to Use an Embroidery Machine: Learning Basics of Embroidery Machines

Before discussing the actual usage of the embroidery machine, let’s have a brief look at the features of a standard digital embroidery machine and what accessories it offers.

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Overview of Basic Features and Accessories of an Embroidery Machine

Interface

Nowadays, personal embroidery machines have LED displays. Some of them are even touch screens, while others have control panels. You can select, edit, customize, and manipulate embroidery options easily through their digital interface.

Importing Embroidery Designs

Secondly, these embroidery machines also have a USB port to import embroidery designs. Personal embroidery machines support a lot of design formats, but the most common are .pes and .dst file formats. I usually import all my embroidery designs from https://www.embroiderydesigns.com/.

Embroidery Size & Area

Then different hoops come along with the embroidery machine. These hoop sizes determine the embroidery machine work area. I am personally using Brother PE800. They come with three different sizes of hoops.

Changing Colors

Lastly, some needles determine the number of colors you can feed onto the machine in one shift. Most personal embroidery machines come with a single needle. That means that you must change the thread spool every time to change the thread color.

Now you have a brief overview of embroidery machines, lest see how to use an embroidery machine.

Setting up an Embroidery Machine

Import and Select Design

To select a design, there are two options, either you want to use a built-in design or want to import a design through a USB drive. Most embroidery machines have hundreds of built-in embroidery designs: monograms and fonts.

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Selecting Hoop Size

Now, after you have selected your design, you should select the embroidery size. The size of the embroidery will decide the hoop size. There are different hoop sizes, and your embroidery machine would have a built-in option for hoop size. This hoop size would correspond to the work area the machine will utilize.

Selecting Speed and other Options

Also, there is the option of selecting and changing the speed of your embroidery operations. Stitches per minute (spm) would decide the time required for your embroidery operation to complete. Also, you should always keep the buzzer option turned on.  

Unlike traditional manual tension adjusters, you will be able to find digital tension adjuster in the options as well. You would be able to find a lot of other options as well, but for now, we will leave the out.

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Edit and Modify Design

Now it is the last step to set up your embroidery machine. The design that you have selected will be editable on your machine. Before embroidering, your machine will ask to edit your design. Some of the edit options include the size of the design. You can enlarge or reduce the size of your design. Also there are some positioning and rotation options as well. Lastly, you would be able to find the stitch length and ratio as well, which would decide how dense your embroidery would be.

If you are using an advanced machine, there would be an even larger number of options. However, the aforementioned options are enough to edit your design.

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Actual Embroidering on Machine

In this section, we will cover tangible operations and actual embroidery.

Bobbin Winding

The first thing you need to do is to wind your bobbin. There is always an automatic bobbin winder in embroidery machines nowadays. The procedure to wind bobbin is the same as that in the sewing machine. There are the prementioned bobbin winding guides. All you need to do is to pass the thread through those guides. If you don’t understand, you can visit our separate article to learn how to wind a bobbin.

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Threading the Needle with Selected Color

After you have winded your bobbin, you need to place the actual color that you are going to use for your embroidery operation. You will be able to see the colors that are used in the embroidery on your touchscreen display, along with the time required for the embroidery of each color.

Modern embroidery machines, by default, will show you colors in the order of time required for embroidery. However, you can always change that order easily. Once you have finalized the order of color, all you need to do is thread the thread in the needle.

Threading is somewhat similar to that of the standard sewing machine. The prementioned guides and an automatic needle threader, in the end, would help you thread the needle.

Hooping Fabric

Now, as you have already selected the appropriate hoop for your embroidery project, all you need to do is hoop the fabric into it. You should always place a stabilize below the fabric and then clamp it into the hoop.

You would also find a screw on the hoop that you can tighten to create appropriate tension in the fabric. After you have tightened the fabric, all you need to do is to lock the hoop into the machine workbench.

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Start Embroidering

Now all the setup has been completed. All you need to do is to click the start button, and the embroidery machine will start embroidering.

Changing Color and Repeat

Once your machine is done with one color, it will automatically stop and ring a buzzer. You must change the color manually through the same procedure and then start embroidering again. You will have to repeat the same procedure every time the machine stops and rings the buzzer.

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Concluding Remarks

As you have learned the basics of how to use an embroidery machine, you must keep practicing and exploring more features and options in your embroidery machine. And when the time is right, you might also want to upgrade your embroidery machine.

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