If you’re thinking of getting into machine embroidery, then you might assume using a programmed machine will make this the easiest creative work you’ll ever do. But there are subtleties involved that require considerable care, and it’s easier than you might think to ruin a project, even with a machine. One major assumption you should never make is that you can take any design and recreate it on any fabric you choose. Some types of stitches and designs simply work better on certain fabrics than on others.
Using a machine for a dense embroidery design, for example, will stress a knit or loosely woven fabric, sometimes even pulling the weave apart. And in a fluid type of cloth, a design that’s dense will stop the flow and hang on the fabric like a frozen block. Conversely, a thick fabric or one with a heavy pile, like terry towelling or fleece, is unsuitable to small designs with a lot of open space. Such a design would pretty much vanish, unless a large patch of covering fabric were added, upon which it would then be stitched. Decorative machine stitching requires an understanding of which designs work best, or work the worst, with which materials.
The relationship of the designs and fabrics is just part of what you need to understand, to make your machine embroidery come out perfectly. If you create the wrong machine settings, either for the type of cloth you’re using or the kind of design you’re trying to produce, your work could be ruined. You need to understand which needles work best with your fabric, what the thread and bobbin tension should be, and how tightly to hoop the fabric so it won’t pucker when you remove the hoop. In a way, the fabric crafts extend right into the machine, controlling what is acceptable and what isn’t.
One thing you may learn pretty quickly is that thread art is never easy and straightforward, no matter how you produce it. Machine embroidery makes some aspect of this art easier, but adds complications in other areas you wouldn’t encounter if embroidering by hand. A machine can add speed as well as complexity, but certain more technical aspects would be absent from hand embroidery. So you need to consider these tradeoffs as you decide between the two styles.
Kenny Leichester is a foremost expert in the interior design industry specializing in the outdoor or patio settings using patio heaters, patio umbrellas, outdoor cushions, patio lighting and so on to create exquisitely beautiful layout. His work on patio umbrellas are widely distributed and is a regular contributor to PatioShoppers.com.