How to Embroider With a Sewing Machine? a Beginner's Guide

How to Embroider With a Sewing Machine? a Beginner’s Guide

Here’s how to embroider with a sewing machine in the convenience of your home if you’re interested in giving it a try.

Can a standard sewing machine be used to embroider? Any sewing project can benefit from adding embroidery to give it a little extra personality beyond what you’ve already created.

To hold the fabric in place while you sew your design, you will first need to use an embroidery hoop. Since home sewing machines can’t duplicate the more intricate details that an actual embroidery machine can, you’ll want to keep your designs simple.

Let’s discuss how to embroider using a standard sewing machine.

How to Embroider With a Sewing Machine?

There are several steps you must remember as you work when embroidering with your home sewing machine.


Supplies You’ll Need

  • Your design
  • Water soluble stabilizer–I really like Solvy by Sulky. It’s excellent for stitching up a design and transferring it. Because you can wash it out in the end, your stitches won’t be harmed when you pull away the excess stabilizer, which can happen with many tear-away stabilizers.
  • Cutaway or tear-away stabilizer is a different type of stabilizer that will be applied to the design’s reverse.
  • Fine line permanent marker–for tracing your design!
  • Uncut fabric or a project that’s already in progress: anything is a game here, and you can even use this technique to embellish ready-to-wear items.
  • Thread of your choice: contrast is key, so you’ll want to practice on some scraps if possible to help you make a good decision.
  • Glue stick: in order to delicately secure the stabilizer to your work area.
  • Machine foot of your choice: In the video for this project, I go over the benefits of each foot, but in general, the straight stitch foot, clear applique foot, and free motion embroidery foot are my top 3.
How to Embroider With a Sewing Machine? a Beginner's Guide

Choosing Your Design

Keep it simple when creating embroidery patterns for your home sewing machine. The fine level of detail that an embroidery machine can produce won’t be possible with your standard sewing machine.

Your best bet is to pick a design with a lot of straight lines and few curves. Designs to start with as a beginner include simple letters, flowers, and geometric shapes. To find some inspiration, try looking up line art designs online.

While it may be tempting to attempt multicolored embroidery right away, these kinds of patterns are frequently very challenging. In your designs, I advise beginning with a single color thread before blending several.

Just make sure the design you select will look good on your item. The perfect fit would be for it to fit inside your embroidery hoop. Although it is possible to work on a design in sections, beginning embroiderers will find this to be much more challenging. Work your way up from the ground up.

Preparing Your Fabric

You must get ready to sew your fabric after gathering all of your supplies and selecting your design. Because it will be difficult to remove wrinkles from your designs once they have been sewn over, iron or steam your fabric until it is wrinkle-free. Prior to moving forward, make sure your fabric is completely dry.

Mark your design onto the fabric’s right side, taking care to position it precisely where you want it to appear on the finished product. To draw out your designs, I advise using a fabric pencil or a washable fabric marker. Alternatively, if you don’t want to draw your designs by hand, you can buy iron-on transfer paper and other items.

After placing your design, follow the directions on the back of the package to add the embroidery backing or stabilizer to your fabric. Consider finishing this step before drawing designs with a marker or pencil that will disappear with heat if you’re using an iron-on backing.

How to Embroider With a Sewing Machine? a Beginner's Guide

Using An Embroidery Hoop

Stretch the fabric in your embroidery hoop after placing your design on the correct side of your fabric to keep it in place while you work. In order to prevent sagging and loose stitches, it is crucial to keep the fabric taut as you sew.

With the right side of the fabric resting on the hoop’s lowest point, insert the fabric into the hoop. When the right side is facing up and the fabric is in the hoop, the edges should be elevated above the right side. The fabric shouldn’t be stretched out across the hoop’s top like a drum.

It’s important that the hoop is big enough to give you plenty of workspaces and that your design is centered inside it. You might need to work on your design in sections if it is very large, so keep that in mind.

Setting Up the Sewing Machine

When your embroidery hoop is all set up with your design, it’s time to prepare your sewing machine. Take off your sewing machine’s standard presser foot and needle. Your free motion/quilting foot and new needles will take the place of both of these items.

I advise following the directions provided by the manufacturer of your machine if you’re unsure how to install your quilting foot. The safest and only surefire way to prevent accidentally damaging your machine is to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions for presser feet.

Do a few practice stitches on a scrap of fabric after setting your machine to a straight stitch. To make your embroidery lines roughly as wide as you want them, you should adjust the stitch length. Repeat this procedure using your machine’s zigzag stitch, taking note of the length you should use for each.

Your outlines will be created using the straight stitch setting. You’ll fill in your design using the zigzag stitch.

How to Embroider With a Sewing Machine? a Beginner's Guide

Embroidering the Fabric

It’s time to begin embroidering now! To position the needle above your design, raise your presser foot and slide the embroidery hoop under it. The design should be visible on the right side of your fabric, which should be facing up and nearly flat on your machine’s surface.

To outline your design, lower your needle and start a straight stitch. While working, you should be careful to move slowly and maintain an even stitch length. To steer the needle to the proper spot as I sew, I find it most convenient to hold onto the hoop and move it around as I work.

You can start adding details once your design has been fully sketched out. In order to fill in the shape, you’ll use a zigzag stitch and move back and forth through the fabric. Since I like the polished appearance it provides, I frequently prefer to use a tall and narrow zigzag stitch to accomplish this.

Before you start sewing, you can always test out these stitches on a scrap of fabric to determine which stitching technique will suit you the most and give your projects the finished look you like.

Finishing the Project

You are prepared to finish the piece once you have completed embroidering the entire design. If the final result doesn’t satisfy you, you can resew any previously stitched areas as necessary. When you first start embroidering, keeping your stitches neat can be challenging, so don’t be surprised if you need to make a few adjustments.

After you’re satisfied:

  1. Remove the hoop and fabric from your machine, then trim the thread.
  2. Make sure the thread end is securely woven into the piece’s back by taking a moment to check.
  3. To give the design’s back a neat finish, trim any loose threads that are hanging.

If there is a steam setting, iron the fabric’s back if it can withstand being exposed to heat. The stitches will remain flat and continue to look neat and smooth as a result.

How to Embroider With a Sewing Machine? a Beginner's Guide

Tips for Embroidery With a Sewing Machine

Any sewing machine with zig-zag capabilities can be used for embroidery. Here are five suggestions for embroidering on a regular sewing machine.

Lower the Feed Dogs

To lower the feed dogs, consult the owner’s manual. In some machines, the feed dogs are actually covered by a special darning plate. Your sewing will be guided by you rather than the sewing machine if the feed dogs are covered up or lowered. This will allow you to move freely while sewing.

Use Embroidery Thread

Using rayon embroidery thread will not only make the finished item look fantastic, but it will also give the item strength. If rayon is not available, other threads, such as cotton or polyester, can be used instead.

Use a Full Bobbin

You can use any type of thread in the bobbin, but make sure it is full to start. A great way to finish off the thread in colors that won’t be used for anything else is to use it for this.

Additionally, for machine embroidery, always use fully wound bobbin thread when using up a thread for bobbins. You don’t want to start an embroidery project only to discover that the bobbin is entirely empty.

How to Embroider With a Sewing Machine? a Beginner's Guide

Use a Stabilizer If Necessary

There are a variety of styles that can be used, including those that rip away from the embroidered area, dissolve when washed in water, and have edges that can be trimmed to fit the embroidered area after stitching is complete. For slick or thin fabrics that tend to pucker when embroidered, stabilizers are very helpful.

Use An Embroidery Hoop

An embroidery hoop is required for machine embroidery, which is as simple as it sounds. The same result won’t be achieved by simply hand-pulling and bending the fabric in various directions and along curves. The embroidery hoop will make moving the garment while it is being sewn much simpler and will help keep the fabric smooth and taught.

Can You Do Freehand Embroidery on a Sewing Machine?

Yes, if you like embroidery in that particular style. Simply skip the section above where you’re supposed to sketch out your design in advance. All you need to do to get started embroidering however you like is set up your machine, prepare your fabric, and put it in the hoop.

Remember, though, that using a home sewing machine to embroider already produces less-elegant designs than an embroidery machine.

On a sewing machine, freehand embroidery can be very challenging, and the results might not look as professional as the designs that you have previously planned. Prior to beginning to embroider your actual piece, you might want to practice a bit on some scrap fabric.

Conclusion: Embroidery With a Sewing Machine

You don’t always need to invest in an expensive machine to embroider amusing patterns onto fabric. Any project you’re working on can easily be embellished with distinctive embroidery using your standard home sewing machine.

This guide should have been beneficial and have offered some helpful starting point advice. Please feel free to post any questions or comments in the section below if you are still unsure or have any concerns.


Is Embroidery Hard on a Sewing Machine?

It’s not necessarily hard, but there is more to it than pushing the button on the machine, as a lot of people think. While the sewing may be done by the machine, the foundation (stabilizer, appropriate hooping, needle, and thread selection) is just as important as the structure itself.

What is the Easiest Embroidery Technique?

The easiest embroidery stitch is a running stitch. You can use it for hand embroidery or hand sewing; it’s just a line of small, straight stitches. Backstitching is the second easiest stitch. What number of fundamental embroidery stitches are there?

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