Tips for using an Embroidery Machine
Generally, you are better off reading your manual in order to learn how to use your embroidery machine, but some tips are in order that seemingly will fit all embroidery machines. However, this will also explain why we do not go into descriptions and suggestions about specific controls, threading options, motion arms, and presser feet, as all of these will differ depending on the type and brand of embroidery machine you own.
First let’s examine the need for stabilizers. What stabilizers do for you is to help keep your fabric specifically in place, as well as offering thicker material for the needle and thread to catch on. Commercial stabilizers will have various choices for removal, such as self-adhesive, fusible features, heat-away, wash-away, tear-away as well as cut-away. Wash-away stabilizers, in particular, may be used as a top layer to prevent stitching distortion issues as well as prevent tearing of the fabric.
Pre-finished products such as bags, aprons, or even a shirt have predetermined material, meaning that your experience will tell you about pattern selection, needle size, thread and of course which stabilizer to use. The sturdier the item is, the more you can use a lightweight stabilizer as backing. If, on the other hand, the item can easily stretch or pull, then a top stabilizer will be called for to protect the fabric, and you will also use a heavier or stronger stabilizer for backing material. Experience will also help you to judge if a heavier stabilizer may show through exceedingly thin material too. For example extremely lightweight knit shirts sometimes present this problem.
On the other hand, machine embroidery on very rugged materials pose a similar problem but in reverse. Consider embroidery on leather items, as a good example of this. Once more experience will help you to choose either thicker needles or perhaps even project-specific needle tips.
Working with terrycloth or dense fleece material may for lack of a better word absorb or swallow the embroidery due to the nature of the depth of this material. In this particular case thicker stabilizers may be indicated.
Interestingly enough sell-adhesive stabilizers and/or pinning may suggest to you that hooping a fabric is not necessary. Again, experience will be your guide, but generally stretchy fabric or fabric that has the tendency to move may call for attachment to the hooped stabilizer instead, allowing you to apply the tension to the bottom stabilizer. This works amazingly well when dealing with the above mentioned terrycloth and fleece too. This tip has frequently stopped possible damage to your hoop as well. Also never underestimate the placement of strategic pinning either.
Finally, when dealing with optimal fabrics, you will of course use hooping since it offers those fabrics that don’t have excessive stretch or high enough density to damage your hoop, the best stability, and pressure as well as evenly distributed tension. At the risk of seeming repetitive, experience will guide your way through these problems.