Why Don’t You Use Your Embroidery Machine? What’s Holding You Back?

Life gets in the way of sewing doesn’t it? I love my embroidery machine but I just don’t make the time to use it. Usually what I do is cut out a garment pattern and sew it together in a weekend. Or, I’ll cut out a pattern and steal away here and there to slowly piece it together. Once it’s done I totally forget about the embroidery part!

life in the way Why Dont You Use Your Embroidery Machine? Whats Holding You Back?

My sewing time is so limited I don’t allow myself the time to thoughtfully add in some pretty details like a machine embroidered hem, or add some spice to a collar.  All I want to do is finish it up and wear it. I haven’t had my machine that long.

Here’s my deal. I don’t want to add machine embroidery because I think I’ll mess up. I’ll ruin my fabric or I’ll need to test, create a muslin, test etc. All this adds time, of which I don’t have a lot of. So, there lies the embroidery machine, in a corner gathering dust.

I would love to hear from you, machine embroiderists new and experienced, and those that embroider garments. How did you start? What kind of process do you have. Got any tips and suggestions for time management or shortcuts. Let’s blow these excuses away and get started creating !


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19 Responses to Why Don’t You Use Your Embroidery Machine? What’s Holding You Back?

  1. maryjane lovell says:

    I feel the same way. So worried that I will mess the garment. I embroidered my granddaughters name on a jacket. I didn’t do a practice run. Well instead of ‘addy’, it was ‘addx’. So always do a practice run. There isn’t any way to pick this out to redo it.

  2. Jill says:

    That’s the thing about machine embroidery, no do-overs. Unless that is, you tested! I guess you just need to add testing in to your work flow. Just plan on it.

  3. Kendra says:

    I have had my embroidery machine for 7 months and haven’t used it yet. I think I’m afraid of messing up. I want to monogram a t-shirt, but I just don’t know where to start.

  4. Annette Parker says:

    I lost my husband in October after being diagnosed with stage IV kidney cancer in 2014. It’s like I’ve lost my creative zest. My inner drive is missing. Help me get it back please!!

  5. Cathy says:

    I do use my embroidery machine. I really enjoy adding names and details to shirts, jackets, etc. I do not sew garments from scratch, but make lots of other things that have embroidery on them.

  6. Anne says:

    I agree time is a big factor, plus I tend to be a procrastinator so that doesn’t help. One thing though by the time I get around to working on my project I have already mentally walked through it several times evaluating different approaches and noting things I need to pay attention to. This means I will decide on which areas to embroider and then cut out the other pattern pieces. The idea is to leave me with a large enough bit of fabric for the pattern section I want to embroider that if I make a mistake I still have enough for to cut out the section. I then draw around the outline of the paper pattern on the fabric, mark where I want the embroidery to go and embroider the flat piece of fabric. Then I place the paper pattern on top of the fabric and if I am a little bit off I can just move the pattern till the embroidery is in the right place before I cut out. I also test on scrap pieces of fabric to make sure the design looks the way I want it to. If I am doing something new like embroidering on a baby onsie I look through the videos on youtube for both my machine brand as well as people using other machines then choose the metho, or methods I think will work for me.

  7. Sandra says:

    I enjoy using my embroidery machine but what impacts me in using it on more projects is the creative process of choosing a design or grouping designs. I then become impatient & overwhelmed with all the designs I keep collecting so I just sew to finish the project. On occasion I spend the day just embroidering 16″x20″ pieces of fabric as test runs for some designs & use them for pockets, wine bags, bibs & hopefully inspiration.

  8. Leona Richards says:

    Before I cut out project were I wont the embroidery to be. Take a larger fabric and do my embroidery.That way if I mess up,can fix it or do other one,Its ready to cut and sew in garment.

  9. Delores says:

    I have had my embroidery machine for a year now and haven’t done much on it. Time is a factor for all of us as well as getting to know the machine and just getting started.

  10. Carol M. Lamon says:

    Hi all…..to Kendra I want to say that I have had my machine for several years & haven’t used it. I tell myself all kinds of excuses, but the thing is….I’m just afraid & a tad bit lazy. So I’m glad I fell upon this website. Maybe it will help.
    Annette…I am so sorry for your loss. Don’t beat yourself up. You are grieving & that’s a lengthy process. The happiness will return. I promise. I kept telling myself, “I am so lucky I had him for X number of years. Some people don’t get that.” It sinks in.

  11. janet says:

    I use my embroidery machine, but not as often as I would like to. I have done dozens of dish towels, coffee cozies, hand towels, and tee shirts, and I have just run out of ideas. I am working on one for Christmas, though. And, of course, I have dozens of designs (hundreds??) that I just don’t know what I want to do with.. As for jackets, I cheat and do the embroidery on tulle and then sew it as a patch on the jacket. This works well with applique type of designs.

  12. kbo says:

    My first machine embroidery project was an eyeglass case and after 9 years of use, I recreated another one more elaborate than the first. Though my machine is not a high end product, I have been able to embellish years of gifts. Recently, I downloaded your eyeglass case and made a dozen as wedding party gifts. It was my son’s destination wedding. The cases were easy to pack and the ladies realized that they are perfect for smart phones.

  13. Maureen says:

    I own a baby lock senate bln and have had it 3 yrs. I can’t tell you the times I have created a test pattern, recreate same steps and the results are messed up. I have no confidence in this machine nor my embroidery skills. I have been sewing for over 40 years and have never had this type of no confidence in can I do this !!! I took lessons and feel I definitely need more lessons, but the embroidery machine and arm are so heavy I can’t lug it to the lessons !!

  14. Chris says:

    Make sure you buy designs from a designer that has good quality designs. The only way to get good at machine embroidery is to practice and practice. I belong to a embroidery group that does discussions about our designs and what went wrong and how to improve our designs. Also, we are challenged to step out of the box and try things like cut-work, applique, etc. This has made me a better machine embroider.

  15. For achieving a better embroidery design by machine. We have to gain the knowledge about machine embroidery ins and outs then we will be able to get what we want. Also mostly problem occurs by bobbin thread tension, design underly and not tighten the fabric inside the hoop. I know there are many others but these are the most common.

  16. Jill says:

    Good point. The more you do, the more you’ll figure it out and learn about your particular machine. That’s probably the best advice; to just do it!

  17. Jill says:

    Yep, I agree. Just do it and work on fabrics that you don’t care about until you’re ready.

  18. Jill says:

    Oh no! Can you trade the machine in for something else, maybe something lighter and easier to use?

  19. Judy Mayfield says:

    The only do over I’ve found that works is to stitchout the design as an appliqué and put it over the booboo. The only time it didn’t work out was when I put a batsman logo over a botched superman logo. My grandson pulled the neckline out showing his friends the “inside” design.

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