Can You Embroider with a Sewing Machine?

Embroidery is a beautiful craft that can add personalized touches to fabrics. You might believe you need a specialized machine for it, but did you know that a regular sewing machine can also be used?

In this article, we’ll explore how to transform your simple sewing machine into a tool for creating exquisite embroidery, opening a new world of creativity and expanding the possibilities of your craft.

Stay tuned as we delve into the techniques, tips, and tricks for successful embroidery with a regular sewing machine.

Can You Do Embroidery With a Sewing Machine?

Special embroidery machines can get the job done quickly and efficiently. However, it is possible to create embroidery patterns on different fabrics with a regular sewing machine.

It is not mandatory to invest in a sewing machine with an embroidery function or to buy a separate machine for the job.

Have you postponed the idea of trying embroidery simply because you do not have an automatic embroider tool? Read to find out how you can extend the applications of your regular sewing machine and do some perfect embroidery with it.

How to Embroider with a Sewing Machine?

how to do embroidery with a regular sewing machine

Prepping your machine involves the same process as you would do for the daily functions of the sewing machine. Some use embroidery thread while some stick with the regular one. You could choose whichever option works for you.

Make sure that the spool is refilled and keep your threads accessible in case you would do a multi-color embroidery. You would be doing a zigzag stitch, and therefore there you should have sufficient thread in the spool.

Get the template

Like any other embroidery method, you should have a guiding model, to begin with. You can use a printed template or a piece of paper with customized sketches. Some also draw directly on the fabric, to begin with. Pick a method that best suits you.

Gather everything you need

gather everything you need

You would be surprised to know that you do not need any extra items when it comes to performing embroidery. It is about how you maneuver the fabric and the stitch pattern you choose.

  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery thread (optional)
  • Free motion foot (optional)
  • Embroidery hoop (optional)

With all these supplies, you also need the template at hand.

Secure the template in place

Based on your objective, pick the right spot for the embroidery pattern position. Place the model at the desired spot and then hold it in place with pins. Make sure that you leave enough gap between the position of the pin and the edge of the letters or the borders of the drawings that you would embroider.

A zigzag stitch is a trick

For simpler designs, some use a simple running stitch to complete the whole sketch. However, if you need more professional-looking results, a zigzag stitch works the best.

As it is a tight type of stitch, you can easily fill the area and also quickly cover the whole design. The only step that is critical here is to calculate the zigzag line width, which allows dense stitches that do not extend beyond the border.

Move the needles right

One key secret to remember here is to avoid tugging the fabric too much. Allow the needle to traverse tightly spaced lines. Moving the fabric quickly as you would, with an ordinary stitching project, reduces the density of the zigzag pattern.

It is alright to leave a small trailing piece of thread and then cover it in the next stitch. With this, the thickness of the stitching increases further.

To hold the fabric in place, using an embroidery hoop might prove to be convenient for some. Some might find the hoop to be restrictive in keeping the material. It is an idea that you can try and adopt or ignore as you prefer.

Wrap up the stitches

How you address the thread ends of the stitches determines how your embroidery looks on the whole. You can use regular backstitching to conceal those ends if you are not worried about smoothing out the edges of the design. Use double knots with regular threads to secure the ends with the adjacent thread ends.

Irrespective of the accessories you use and the thread type that goes, the way you handle the thread ends and finishing touch influences the overall appearance.

Once you wash the fabric and eliminate all traces of the paper template or the stabilizer residue on the design, it looks neat. A little extra effort goes a long way.

Therefore, tackle the project with patience right from the beginning. When you get the hang of how to use your conventional sewing machine for embroidery, you can quickly master the embroidering machine operation.

Fighting angled corners in the sketch

Whether it is lettered with angled edges or drawings with straight lines intersecting with an angled line, reposition and patiently move the needle to change direction.

You can also start by filling the tricky portion of the letter or drawing first and then working your way to the main edges. Fighting the gap, you get after coming from both the edges might be a nightmare.

If you are trying to embroider with your sewing machine for the first time, stick with smooth curves and right-angled edges. These designs help you perfect your fabric handling skills, and then you can proceed to do angled corners with confidence.

Tackling the guide problem

Using a template is one thing; how you remove the model after the embroidery is done. Holding the paper in place with pins can be the most straightforward option.

For a more accurate fit, you can also use a stabilizer. In those expensive clothes where you cannot afford to poke holes with pins, you can use a stabilizer.

You can also use it when you are doing an embroidery design on some very smooth fabric like satin. They also make sure that the cloth remains free from wrinkles and unevenness as you continue to embroider the desired design.

Merely using a paper fastened by pins, you can tear the paper off after the full embroidery is complete. The bits of paper that lie beneath the threads, the stitches, come off when you wash the fabric.

Stabilizer washes off while removing the fabric. If you are using a permanent marker to sketch on your fabric, make sure that you accurately trace the borders. If the stitches do not align with the marker edges, they dampen the final results.

What Do You Need to Embroider with a Sewing Machine?

To embroider with a regular sewing machine, you’ll need the following items:

  1. A Sewing Machine: While a basic model will work, having a machine with a variety of stitch types can be helpful.
  2. Embroidery Hoop: This holds your fabric tight while the machine is stitching.
  3. Fabric: It’s important to choose the right fabric for embroidery. Fabrics with a tight weave, like cotton, linen, or silk, are great choices.
  4. Embroidery Thread: This is different from regular thread as it’s thicker and shinier, leading to a better end result.
  5. Embroidery Needles: These needles have a larger eye to accommodate the thicker embroidery thread.
  6. Stabilizer: A stabilizer prevents your fabric from puckering under the weight of the stitches. This is placed under your fabric in the hoop.
  7. Embroidery Designs: You can draw your own design, use a pre-made pattern, or use a digital design if your sewing machine has this capability.
  8. Marking tools: A water-soluble fabric marker or a piece of tailor’s chalk can be used to trace your design onto your fabric before you start embroidering.

Remember, the key to successful machine embroidery is practice. Start with simple designs and as you get more comfortable, you can progress to more complex projects.

Do You Need An Embroidery Hoop when Working on a Regular Sewing Machine?

It is not mandatory to use an embroidery hoop while working on a regular sewing machine. It merely helps you hold the fabric taut as with hand embroidery. In the early days of learning how to tackle your favorite designs, it helps to use a hoop and then let go of it once you gain more control.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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