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Can Regular Sewing Machines Be Used For Embroidery? – Find Out Here!

We all love the idea of easy sewing projects: fabrics that are already printed with cute designs, or garments that actually have embroidery on them.  You don’t even have to worry about matching thread or finding a sewing machine needle you can use.  

Before you get too excited, though, make sure you know what you’re getting into.  

It turns out that regular sewing machines are not up to the task of embroidery, no matter what your grandmother might have told you.

Can sewing machines be used for embroidery? On the one hand, you can’t use a normal machine to embroider.

Fabric can get caught in the sewing machine’s teeth, and the movement of the needle can cause the embroidery hoop to waver. On the other hand, many sewing machines come with built-in embroidery features.

These include the ability to change the length and width of stitches as well as the thickness of the thread and the speed of the sewing machine.

These embroidery features are typically controlled by buttons or dials on the machine itself.

Tips for Embroidery Sewing Using a Regular Sewing Machine

Embroidery sewing is the art of sewing fabric with thread and needle in a planned and decorative manner.

Embroidery is a fun way to add beautiful and creative embellishments, design elements, and decorative stitching to garments, accessories, and home décor items.

This makes it a great way to add a personal touch to gifts for friends, family, and other loved ones.

You’ve bought your sewing machine. You’ve chosen your fabric, you got all the sewing supplies you need, but you don’t know how to start making the first stitches.  

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Sewing and embroidery machines can be quite intimidating for a beginner. The good news is, there are a few things you can do, so your first project comes outright.

Supplies needed for embroidery on a regular sewing machine

All you need to get started with embroidery on a regular sewing machine is a short length of embroidery thread, a bobbin, and a needle.

  • Bobbin: The bobbin holds the thread that will be embroidered. Most sewing machines come with one pre-filled and ready to use. If your machine doesn’t, you can find replacement bobbins at your local grocery, drug or sewing supply store.
  • Thread: Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hand, sewing with embroidery thread can be a challenge. The two main types of thread, rayon and cotton, both have their advantages and disadvantages. Rayon thread is shiny and thin but can be a little tricky and needs to be treated a bit differently than cotton thread. If you’re not sure what to choose, it’s a good idea to get a book on thread embroidery with samples of both rayon and cotton to see for yourself which one you like best.
  • Needles: There are two types of flat-back needles: those with the eye at the top of the needle and those with the eye at the bottom of the needle. The top-eye needles are best for embroidering with two or more strands of floss or thread. They are easy to thread and do not require a stabilizer. The bottom-eye needles are more common and easier to find.

Secure the template in place

Your sewing machine can be used to apply templates for embroidery projects.  The sewing machine should have a built-in needle threader, a drop-in bobbin, and a top-loading bobbin case.  

The machine should also be equipped with a built-in light so that you can see the stitches you are sewing.  You may also want to purchase a clear ruler.  Place the template on the fabric, and secure it in place with pins.  Set the machine for a straight stitch.  

Select a stitch size that is large enough to accommodate the number of stitches required on the template.  Set the stitch length to the longest stitch length on your sewing machine.

A zigzag stitch is a trick

If you want to do embroidery sewing using a regular sewing machine, one of the best tricks for beginners is to get a machine with a zigzag stitch, which can be used to add decorative stitching to embroidery fabric.

The zigzag stitch is the most common stitch on a modern sewing machine. It is used to join fabric edges, as a decorative stitch, to finish the edges of seams, and for attaching the binding.

A zigzag can be sewn forwards or backward, which is useful for sewing stretch fabrics. It is also possible to use the zigzag to sew an embroidered design on a garment.

Wrap up the stitches

When you embroider on a sewing machine, you have to make sure that you have the right tension on your bobbin thread.

You also have to make sure that your bobbin thread is the same color as your top thread. If your bobbin thread is a different color than your top thread, you will have a backstitch when you come back to sew the next row of stitches.

Stitches are wrapped up (the threads between the top and the fabric) on the parts that are embroidered so that it is not seen on the fabric.  

This is done with the needle going over the top and the bobbin below and turning the wheel towards the backside of the fabric.  This is done after the part is embroidered and the bobbin is empty.  

The thread of the top is then pulled towards the backside along the side of the bobbin and the needle is let out with the thread.

In Conclusion

The craft of embroidery has existed for centuries, but modern technology has provided a means to embroider without the need for threads or needles using a regular sewing machine.

Regular sewing machines are designed to work with fabric, and embroidering involves going through special hoops to get the fabric to move through the machine in the way you want it to. If you have a regular sewing machine, you can still get great results with embroidery, but you’ll need to do a few things differently.

Kirsten Carter

Kirsten Carter

Kirsten Carter is a freelance content writer who specialises in writing about travel, technology and health. When she's not traveling between her home of Tanzania and England, she writes for her blog Rightminded Travelling and features on a variety of different travel and technology sites.View Author posts

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