Ups and Downs of Learning Machine Embroidery
The last few weeks have been filled with excitement and frustration. I finally, after almost three years of ownership, started using my Viking Husqvarna 600e machine to make embroidery projects. I only bought this particular brand of machine because it came with free classes at the local Jo-Ann’s store. Unfortunately I moved the next month and did not take the time until now to figure out the embroidery side of this machine.
The first hurdle was deciding on the right stabilizer. I ended up buying three different types. My favorite is Pellon 541 Wash-N-Gone. For knits, the cut away stabilizers work best for me and tear away stabilizer works well where you need something a little thicker than the wash away types. The next hurdle was finding the right thread. Embroidery thread is expensive. The best so far with my machine is Gutermann. Sulky is okay, but threads break often. Regular thread has been the most consistent performer in regards to less thread breakage. For stitching, I use Schmetz machine embroidery needles. In addition to getting the right supplies, I also enrolled in two Craftsy Embroidery classes. The free class, Machine Embroidered Classics, provides great tips and insight to embroidery. The class features a Janome embroidery machine, but concepts work for all machines.
The second class is taught by Amanda Murphy and is called Elegant Machine Embroidered Bags. She takes her time and really explains how to embroider easily and efficiently. In my project that I tackled this week, I started with the wrong stabilizer and it was not able to hold the thin Old Navy polo shirt that I was embroidery with for my youngest son. I had no problem with the lettering under the car, but the “filled-in” stitches were a nightmare and the fabric became caught in the needle plate. I pulled to hard and viola… two holes in the shirt! I ironed and steamed the shirt, then placed a piece of fusible interfacing under the “hole area” and it pulled together perfectly. I took a piece of black symphony fabric and thick Pellon stabilizer and set the machine to make an applique of the Formula One vehicle. Once finished, I cut around the piece, trimmed off excess stabilizer and then placed it over the damaged fabric. Once it was situated to completely cover the mistakes, I triple stitched it all around. My son was very pleased with his personalized “racing shirt”!
As far as free and inexpensive places to download and buy machine embroidery, below are my top five:
Most of the free downloads expire within a month of less. Many come with a patten that best utilizes the embroidery piece. If you are looking for “high end” embroidery pieces go to Martha Pullen Heirloom Sewing and Machine Embroidery.
I will update my status in the coming weeks as I go through my embroidery journey. Looking forward to making one of a kind designs once I get a better aspect of that part of my machine! Below is a quick project that I finished with a free letter download….perfect accent to my purple library book tote. Love that font!
Here are some projects that I’ve worked on in the past few weeks: