I was chatting with 2 ladies from my quilt guild yesterday about machine embroidery and all the stuff that goes along with having the machine and getting an outcome that you are happy with. I went to a seminar in June with Floriani and learned a lot, and I have been gaining knowledge and skill by following along with the questions comments and answers in a Facebook embroidery group.
I thought I would share some of my favorite sources.
Designs – I mostly use free designs, however, I have purchased a “few”. I download to my computer into an “embroidery” folder. That folder is split into multiple sub-folders. (Think of it as a file cabinet with drawers). I also print out the color sheet for every design I download, and put those in a 3 ring binder with similar divisions/groupings. So, Autumn harvest designs are in a folder called Autumn harvest; and the printed sheet is behind a tab named the same. Autumn rolls around and I want to make something seasonal, I just flip my notebook open to the Autumn harvest tab, and page through the designs. I tried to stick to just storing on the computer and using a design reader, but that doesn’t work in my brain.
Free designs – note – many sites have some freebies on their tabs, but they tend to constantly be the same. These I am listing have different all the time. Of course, they also have designs for sale and they are all very nice quality when stitching out. Most require you to subscribe/join etc.
- http://www.embroiderydesigns.com/freeembroiderydesigns.aspx (3 free per week)
- https://www.designsbyjuju.com/bible-verses (many many Bible verses)
- http://www.emblibrary.com/EL/Free.aspx (3 or 4 new each month)
- http://www.embroiderygarden.com/shop/free-designs-projects/ (If you are looking for a basting stitch, this is the place!)
- http://www.hatchedinafrica.com/ (Check on Friday for the freebie. Very DIFFERENT designs because the digitizers/shop is in South Africa.) Note – if you are interested in 18″ dolls, they have a site associated that is all dolls. I love the motto of “letting girls be girls” ! Button at the bottom right corner of their website.
Cute designs for sale – note; there are LOTS of people selling designs on line. I don’t buy very many, but I love these websites.
- for Baptism – http://www.windstarembroidery.com/Start.cfm?category=50
- http://www.secretsof.com/ (lovely designs, not all childrens)
Digitizing – If you don’t want to buy software, then you send your design off to someone to “digitize” for you . Whenever anybody on the group I belong to on Facebook asks for a recommendation, the first name that ALWAYS comes up is Brad at http://www.ssdigitizing.com/ I’m sure other people do quality work, and you can buy your own software. I haven’t used his services, but will if I need them in the future. The recommendations I read about him are great.
Great tutorials –
- Hooded bath towels – http://www.appliquecorner.com/pages/Hooded_Towel_tutorial.htm
- Basic hooded bath towel – http://www.makeandtakes.com/easy-hooded-bath-towel
- Basic hooded towel – http://littlebirdiesecrets.blogspot.com/2008/11/hooded-bath-towels-for-kids.html
- The best collection of embroidery help – http://www.emblibrary.com/el/elprojects/HelpfulHow-Tos.aspx
- How to embroider on ANY type of fabric – http://www.emblibrary.com/el/elprojects/Fabrics101.aspx
- Video tutorials – http://www.appliquecorner.com/pages/video-tutorials.htm
Stabilizer and Thread – I attended a Floriani product seminar in June. I have been using Floriani products, purchased either at Delaware Sewing Center or at Quilt shows. I love them! The secret to good embroidery results is the stabilizer! Spend some time on the RNK Distributing/Floriani website to get an idea of the products. http://www.rnkdistributing.com/
Download the Floriani Stabilizer workbook! http://www.rnkdistributing.com/resources/workbooks-guides/FlorianiWorkbookStabilizer.pdf
Note: Floriani has a line called “Quilter’s Select” that they developed with Alex Anderson (The Quilt Show). She LOVES the Floriani products.
I have not been disappointed with ANY of the Floriani products, thread or sabilizer.
I have purchased some supplies from Amazon, when I first got started. My experience with everything has been GOOD. My machine liked the thread, I have used up my supply of pre cut tear away and will order more. It will take me YEARS to use up all the thread and bobbin thread I have purchased.
These are the supplies I originally bought:
I also purchased “water soluble” stabilizer (WSS) at Delaware Sewing Center. It looked and felt a bit heavier than Glad wrap for food. When using a WSS, it helps to make it larger than your hoop and pin it to your project outside the edge of the hoop. Slippery stuff. Recently on the Embroidery group, I read that people were using a Vilene Water Soluble stabilizer. Amazon is carrying that also – Vilene Water Soluble Stabilizer
Things I have learned from the groups & seminars:
- FLOAT a piece of tear away UNDER your hoop – EVERY TIME. (AMAZING what that does for your project
- Iron a stabilizer to the back of your fabric
- Make your stabilizer much larger than your hoop to avoid stretching your piece
- Most stabilizers can support about 10,000 stitches. When you have a design with MORE than that; add a second layer running in the opposite direction
- ALWAYS use a WSS on top. ALWAYS. The theory has been to only use the WSS on things like towels and velvet or plush items that your stitches would sink into, but I saw a visible difference in “sinking designs” on t-shirts and cotton items.
- When your machine “acts up” stop, change the needle, clean the bobbin case, rethread everything and make sure you don’t miss anything. These machines are stitching FAST; 800-2000 stitches per minute, and a dense design, if improperly digitized may “bend” your needle.
- Thread single needle machines with the pressure foot up until you get to the needle, then lower it. It opens up all the tension areas, and you won’t “miss” getting your thread through the disk or channel.
- Use a CHROME needle by Schmetz or a Titanium needle sold by Superior Thread
- I used my embroidery thread in my regular sewing machine when I need to top stitch something and match a color
- Use the RIGHT stabilizer for the project (See the Floriani guide or the Embrodery Library “how to embroidery on any product)
Supplies – These are one stop shop for supplies – stabilizer, thread and blanks
Don’t forget to check your BRAND of machines website. Brother is “my brand” and they offer lots of free designs and information.
Join an embroidery “GROUP” on Facebook for your brand.
I hope you find this to be a helpful lists of sources and fun places to window shop designs etc. If you know of other places that I may not have mentioned, PLEASE comment and include a link and why. I will periodically update this list.