The Embroidery

I  love machine embroidery. Make no secret of it.  I enjoy talking about it. Telling my secrets.  I’m always surprised at how unimaginative people are when it comes to machine embroidery. I don’t intend to be demeaning. Just that I’d like to encourage use beyond plagiarized Diz^ey  or childish cartoons; more than patches and emblems.  Although I have an embarrassingly large collection (hey I’ve been collecting since this first home machine was introduced), I know it isn’t necessary. It’s a matter of examining the designs on hand and making the most of them.  I decorated the center front tuck of yesterdays’ tank top

with a variation of this original:

I purchased the above neckline design over 20 years ago. The individual who sold it is no longer in business.   I split the design at CF; rotated and arranged in a straight (more or less) line before changing colors. My end result

was absolutely stunning, to me. I tested this design. Stitched it on a scrap.  The digitizer was a professional but my editing can change things; even on a well thought out design. I also tested colors before committing to the garment. I tested first to be sure I had chosen the closest possible match with — my camp shirt.

I wanted this tank to coordinate with the summer camp shirt. Using a scrap from that shirt and a decorative stitch on my Brother Dream, I stitched long lines; switching colors until I was happy I had the best match.  But I still wanted the embroidery to show up. That’s a 10,000 stitch, 3-thread design. Why run the machine and rethread it 3 times if the embroidery doesn’t show? So another scrap this time of the silk and a few more minutes at the Dream to know this

will show up and still be coordinated.

I stopped my experiementing and test with

but I could have done more or something else. Another simple change would be changing all colors to one. Like all gold:

or all white

I could have eliminated the final color

creating multi-colored bubbles. Or made all the bubbles one color and created rows

Did you notice the original digitizer was working with multiples of one design? This one:

He started with that and made rows, which were then shaped into a wide scallop. Duplicated. Mirrored and formed into a neckline. He could have also chosen to repeat this design in other shapes.

That shape can be modified even more. Heck, I can so see it, in my colors, sprinkled across my sand washed silk.  Repeated, it would make a wonderful hem border.

My point is, and I do have a point, is that even though you buy or download a single design it has multiple possibilities.   Embird most certainly helps with creating different designs and allows you to preview at the PC which saves lots of time. Most of the embroidery machines sold today have at least some editing capability. It would be a pain to rehoop to stitch that single design several times. But it is a possibility and it is what we did with our original 4×4 machines. Using a single color is a simple as pushing the “go” button without changing thread.  Skipping a ‘thread’ when stitching out is pretty easy too. On most machines you’d simply touch the icon by the next color. (Your machine may be different.)

I want to encourage everyone to see more potential in their own collection of designs. Color alone changed a 4th of July design into a feminine detail. What would you do?



I confess I spend way too much time in Embird. It’s not unusual for me to spend 8-10 hours choosing and editing before I even get to the machine for testing.  I make use of Embird’s Density Map and Xray as well as checking the layers.  I put a lot of thought and effort into embroidery.  I don’t want a bad design – and I’ve had some – totally ruin a project.  I recommend Embird’s Manager and Editor (the basic) along with an alphabet or two for most new users. You don’t need font engine unless you know you will be doing a lot of custom lettering – and no, just forget about  possible auto-digitizing. It takes an expert to create a great auto-digitized design. Get familiar with Manager and Editor before decided that Studio (digitizing) is right for you. Not only will it save you money initially but you’ll find that you can do most of what you want done in Editor.  No one asked me to make this recommendation. I’m not receiving any form of payment.  Just another satisfied end-user — so satisfied that I won’t buy a machine that isn’t compatible.


2 thoughts on “The Embroidery

  1. Love the embroidery on your blouse. I was surprised to see the design close up. It was so interesting. Love all the info about machine embroidery. I don’t have an embroidery machine, but with twin grands 5 months old, I am temped. Thanks for the lesson.

    1. When you buy, just don’t think you’re limited to exactly what the screen shows.

      So glad you like my embroidery. I know I tend to overdue, but I really love it.


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