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The History of Embroidery

History of embroidery

Embroidery is a craft that relies on needles, thread, and a variety of stitches to create designs on fabric. Embroidery may be a hobby, a source of income, or a necessity for bringing beauty and art into every area of the home. The skills of the crafter determine the quality of the final project, while the techniques and choice of materials make the difference between a realistic work of art and a merely functional piece. While the craft of embroidery may seem entirely new to some,the history of embroidery has led to the perfection of the craft and the improvement in tools used to create it.

Embroidery’s Primitive Roots

History of embroidery -  hides

Primitive man relied on animal hides to craft clothing. The tools used to sew the clothing were made from ivory or bone while fibers from plants or the fibrous tissue from the animal’s flesh to make thread. Over time, the sewing technique used to hold animal skins together was transformed into a method of embellishment that implemented stones, bones, and beads into the work to make their clothing more decorative.

Prehistoric Embroidery in China

Possibly, embroidery goes back further in history in China than any other place on the planet. The practice has been dated back in that country to 3500BC with a number of impressive pieces still available today from the era of 1045BC to 246BC. One of the distinctive features of Chinese embroidery is the use of fine strands of silk thread which result in a more realistic representation of the subject matter. The use of silk thread and the variety of stitches used in this embroidery has been passed down through the generations to preserve the artistry that is still performed today. It is also important to note that many cultures including the Babylonians, Ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, and Phoenicians have a long history and their own styles of embroidery.

Embroidery Through the Middle Ages and Beyond

History of embroidery - tapestry

During the middle ages, the practice of embroidery grew rapidly. Wealthy traders and merchants would pay high prices for embroidered clothing, considering it a luxury. During the Renaissance Period, embroidery was no longer used primarily for clothing but also to decorate tapestries, curtains, and other household linens.

The Age of Enlightenment

Following the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment brought with it a number of changes in how women dressed, particularly the focus on the color yellow. Clothing styles transformed from wide skirts and back pleats to neater, close robes with fitted pleats. Chinoiserie, the use of Chinese motifs and embroidery techniques, became popular and was used in the design of elaborate clothing. Men’s clothing remained in the previous styles of waistcoats and breeches, but with the addition of elaborately embroidered dress fabrics, specifically silks and velvets.

The Introduction of the Embroidery Machine

Jacob Schiess started the first commercial embroidery manufacturing business in America in 1848 soon after coming to this country from Switzerland. Unlike today’s industrial embroidery businesses which rely on high-tech computerized embroidery machines, the facility operated with fifteen women who stitched by hand to create intricate designs.

Machine embroidery was introduced to America in the 1800’s when Joshua Heilmann designed a hand embroidery machine that is credited more for revolutionizing the industry than for the sales it inspired. The invention was soon followed by more modern embroidery methods, such as chain stitch embroidery and the shuttle method.

During the late 1800s, Issac Groebli of Switzerland is credited with inventing the first Schiffli (German for “Little Boat”) embroidery machine. He based the design on the principals used in the new sewing machine, utilizing a continuously threaded needle with the shuttle which contained a bobbin. The name of the Schiffli came from the shuttle’s resemblance to the hull of a boat.

When Dr. Robert Reiner recognized the need for industrial embroidery machines in America in 1903, he secured a position as the American agent for Vogtlandishe Machine Works in Plauen, Germany. Reiner started importing embroidery machines to Hudson County, New Jersey which continued until 1938 when the company in Germany stopped production because of WWII. In 1953, Reiner introduced the first Schiffli machine made in America.

Modern Embroidery

Today, embroidery continues to be a popular craft that is sometimes collected for its beauty and uniqueness. Both hand embroidery and machine embroidery are popular, depending on the specific goals of the crafter. Many prefer the uniqueness of hand embroidery when the craft is done for pleasure whereas embroidery machines are the obvious choice for any degree of commercial use.

The diversity of cultures in America has brought an influx of embroidery techniques to the country that give embroiderers more option for attaining a broad range of results. High quality threads and needles facilitate the creation of beautiful works of art that compare to the beauty of those kept from centuries past.

Most of today’s embroidery machines are connected with a computer to download and digitize embroidery designs that the machine will then translate onto fabric. There are thousands of designs available online that can be edited and used repeatedly to produce identical or varying designs. The ease and diversity of use have resulted in a growing number of home and small businesses that offer embroidery of different types of items.

Embroidery has been a decorative method for nearly as long as people have made clothes to put it on. It has also been used to record history and to symbolize important events throughout the times. For many, it continues to be an artistic form of expression that is just as decorative and beautiful as it is functional.

Hand vs Machine Embroidery: What are the Differences?

You might imagine that the only difference between embroidery done by hand and that created by machine was the method used. There is also the notion that items embroidered by hand have a greater value and are more sentimental than those embroidered by machine. But when you get down to the details, there are numerous other differences as well. Here we will explain the differences between hand vs machine embroidery.

Hand Embroidery

Hand embroidery begins with a piece of fabric tightly stretched over a wood or plastic hoop. From the time the first stitch is made, the crafter will make decisions about the color of thread and the type of stitch used. As the work of art unfolds, they may change their mind about which choices will produce the best results.

Hand stitching results in a unique piece of work every time it is created. Even if the exact pattern and thread colors are replicated, there will be subtle differences in the way the stitches are made and the area where colors and shading are used.

The type of thread used for hand embroidery differs from that used in embroidery machines too. Hand embroidery thread is stranded and comes in silk, cotton, or wool. The strands may be separated to make some areas flatter or more delicate, or combined for bulkier areas. This process gives the embroidery more texture and distinction between various areas.

Machine Embroidery

Hand vs Machine embroidery

The process of machine embroidery is much more exact and uniform than that of hand embroidery. Although the crafter can choose from thousands of designs and determine the thread colors they want to use, there is no room for editing along the way. Pre-designed patterns are loaded into the machine and the exact same pattern is produced every time. Machine embroidery is like running papers through a copy machine; each piece is identical to the original.

The thread used in an embroidery machine is heavier than what is used for hand embroidery and it is typically made of polyester, metallics, or rayon. This thread is not stranded and cannot be separated to change the texture of any part of the embroidery. The same thickness will occur throughout the pattern, giving it a flatter appearance.

So Which Is Best?

Hand embroidery and machine embroidery are two very distinct methods of stitching and each has its purpose. It just depends on your end-goal.

A hand embroidered work is more artistic and personal, making it the ideal way to create a special heirloom or a source of pride for the embroiderer. The process requires an investment of time and heart to include the details that will make the embroidery stand out. Depending on the skills of the person with the needle, hand embroidery can result in a lifelike piece of art that will make a unique display to be enjoyed by all.

Machine embroidery, on the other hand, produces more professional looking work in a fraction of the time it takes to do something similar by hand. The broad selection of designs available today provides everything that is needed for personal use and for small businesses as well.

Some home embroidery businesses focus on monograms while others might embroider men’s caps. These are all uses that require the professional results of an embroidery machine.

The same is true for sewers who want the versatility that an embroidery machine brings to their craft. They may want to add decorative detailing to home items like placemats or curtains, or add cute animals or cartoon characters to their children’s clothes. Even the smallest embroidery detail adds interest and value to all types of everyday items.

If embroidery is a new area of interest for you, your lack of experience doesn’t mean that you are limited in your choices. Every person who has become an artist with a needle and thread had to start with their first piece.

If you prefer machine embroidery, no previous embroidery experience is required. Today’s embroidery machines are virtually decision-free! Once you decide what you want to embroider and in what colors, the machine will do the rest.

Singer EM200 Superb Embroidery Machine Review

Singer EM200 Superb Embroidery Machine

The Singer EM200 Superb is a dedicated embroidery machine that features a sleek new design inspired by iconic machines from the Singer brand. The embroidery machine includes a lot of features that make it easier to maneuver the hoops and the fabric while also providing exceptional visibility. The versatility of this machine and the user-friendly functions make it ideal for personal use or for home-based embroidery businesses.

Pros

Users like the extra-large embroidery area that gives them the room they need to create larger designs. Many of the automated features, like the thread sensor, thread cutter, and automatic thread tension make it easier to focus on the project at hand without worrying about the small details.

Cons

We found that the machine takes some trial-and-error to get the right combination of fabrics, needles, etc to get the best quality stitching. Although the numerous features and options can make it difficult for beginners, they make it the ideal choice for more advanced sewers who want to get professional quality results. We found that if followed the instructions in the guide found that it was fairly easy to resolve most of our issues.

Customer Reviews

Many customers who bought the EM200 Superb feel that the large embroidery area makes this machine a great value in comparison to more expensive machines with the same feature. Most agree that there is a learning curve for the machine but that it can be used efficiently when buyers take the time to learn about the operation in the manual. The touchscreen display, snap-on embroidery hoops, and easy design transfer using the provided USB stick are just some of the features that get this machine high ratings.

Even those users who give the EM200 the best reviews agree that the machine was not designed with the beginner in mind. Many suggest that the company make more video tutorials to make the machine easier to use. Buyers can find an assortment of YouTube tutorials here.

The EM200 comes with two embroidery hoops including the large 10-1/4” x 6” and the small 4” x 4” hoops for more versatility in embroidery options. The machine includes 200 built-in embroidery designs and six alphabet options and complimentary software can be downloaded to enhance creativity by providing even more embroidery options and ideas. The software is also updateable so that sewers can enhance the machine’s capabilities as technology continues to grow.

Price

The list price for the Singer embroidery machine is $1,400 but buyers can find the best prices at Amazon.

Singer EM200 Superb Features

Endless Design Options

The 200 built-in designs and 6 alphabet options make the EM200 an endless resource for embroidery and monogram designs.

LCD Touch Screen

The generous LCD touch screen makes it easy to select embroidery settings.

USB Stick Embroidery Design Transfer

Use the included memory stick to store and transfer designs from your computer to your machine.

Speedy Stitching

The Singer EM200 Superb features a 700 stitch-per-minute speed that means projects get finished faster.

Automatic Needle Threader

You never have to waste time trying to thread the needle again.

Automatic Thread Tension

Automatically balances stitches for more even sewing.

Thread Cutter

Just touch a button to cut the top and bottom thread.

Bobbin Winding During Embroidery

You don’t have to stop your project and then start over when the bobbin runs out. The machine winds the bobbin at the same time it embroiders.

Start/Stop Button

Lets you operate the machine without using the foot pedal.

Upper Thread Sensor

Signals you before the thread runs out.

Accessories

Other accessories include an embroidery foot, spool pin felt, needle plate screwdriver, thread spool net, screwdriver, seam ripper, thread spool caps, lint brush, auxiliary spool pin, USB embroidery stick, bobbins, and needles.

The 5 Best Books for Learning Embroidery

Embroiderers have the same goal at every level; to learn more about creating the perfect stitch and broaden their capabilities for making more designs. Even the most talented stitcher needs a reference to come up with new ideas and understand the combination of stitches, colors, needles, thread, and fabric that will produce the best results. Learning embroidery is an ongoing journey. Following is a list of five embroidery books that will help inspire both hand and machine embroiderers in every situation and at every level.

1. Embroidery by DK

The one-word title sums up what this book is all about. It includes 160 pages of instruction on techniques for sewing clothes, doing needlepoint, and making embroidery stitches. There are 200 stitches featured along with step-by-step instructions for users at all levels of difficulty and ideas for their use. The book includes lots of illustrations that make it easy for even beginners to follow and make the right choice in stitches for every project.

2. The Sewing Machine Embroiderer’s Bible by Liz Keegan

There are hundreds of embroidery designs available online in a variety of types and formats. The Sewing Machine Embroiderer’s Bible explains the differences between them and what you need to do to transfer them to your machine. It also contains tips on stabilizing material, selecting needles and threads, and making the most of each embroidery project. Owners of any type of embroidery sewing machine will benefit from this 128-page guide and help you use the features that would otherwise go unused. There is even an extensive section on editing and organizing designs so you can save them in your machine and have them ready to go the next time you want to use them.

3. The Embroidery Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden

This embroidery book is 256 pages of full-sized samples and fully described and illustrated stitches along with a list of uses for each stitch. This book really takes the confusion out of embroidery by giving alternative names and providing notes on the working method. There is a chapter on choosing appropriate materials and equipment for different techniques in addition to basic tips that apply to all styles and types of embroidery to achieve the specific effects that you want.

4. Colour Confidence in Embroidery (Milner Craft Series) by Trish Burr

This 256-page embroidery book focuses on the impact of color on embroidery. Color can be used to make embroidery designs pop, create a sense of softness, or to add dimension. The book acts as a guide to help crafters bring life to their designs through the best choice in colors to create contrast and shading needed to give definition that makes the details stand out. It includes over 200 stitched examples along with a number of color schemes and projects for crafters to try their skills on.

5. Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches by Mary Thomas

This 298-page book of embroidery has been around since its original publication date in 1934 and continues to provide valuable information to embroiderers of all levels. The version available today has been updated by Jan Eaton to include more than 400 embroidery stitches with pictures and includes their usage. The broad range of stitches, from basic outline and border stitches to those that are more complex, make it the ideal companion for any embroiderer looking to master their craft or expand their skills.

Making the best choice in an embroidery book will depend on the type of embroidery you do and your goals for expanding your capabilities. Any book that is designed for use by crafters at all levels is more likely to be easier to comprehend through the illustrations and instructions provided. Whether you are just getting started at hand embroidery or you are attempting to get the most from an embroidery sewing machine, the right embroidery companion will help you make the best choices in color selection, materials, and techniques to achieve the final project that you have in mind.

How to Set Up and Use an Embroidery Machine

Getting a new embroidery machine can be an exciting time for a crafter who is looking for ways to expand their sewing skills. What you may find once it is time to take the machine out of the box is that the job of setting it up and getting started is a lot more intimidating than you expected. This is the point where you have to start making decisions about embroidery designs, which thread to use, and what material is best. The process of embroidery is automated, but the choices you make prior to the actual embroidery process will determine how successful you are at your new craft.

Step #1: Get to Know Your Embroidery Machine

There are many brands and models of embroidery machines and each differs to some degree. If your machine is brand new and comes with a guide, this is a good place to start with setting it up. It will let you know which foot to use for the embroidery and how to go about loading designs to the machine. Not all designs are compatible with all machines and some won’t fit the embroidery hoops that are compatible with your machine.

There are many YouTube videos demonstrating the setup and use of a number of the most popular embroidery machines sold and used today. For many, seeing a visual demonstration makes it much easier to understand the different parts of the machine and how to use them. It’s also a good way to learn how to thread the machine; often one of the most complicated feats when using a new sewing machine of any kind!

Step #2: Select the Right Needle and Thread

Embroidery needles range in size from 60/8 to 120/19 with the numbers on the lower end being the finer, more flexible ones and those on the upper end of the range being heavy-duty. The higher number refers to the diameter of the shaft in millimeters and the lower number represents the number assignment according to the U.S. system.

The right needle for the job depends on the type of fabric and thread being used. The size and sharpness of the needle determine how the point goes through the fabric and how big the hole is that it makes. The idea is to choose a needle that will penetrate the fabric easily without doing any damage to the fabric or putting too much stress on the needle. The basic types of needles are:

· Universal – These needles usually work well with most fabrics including both wovens and knits. They have a ballpoint tip that is tapered so that it goes through the fabric easily. While these needles might be considered “standard”, there are some projects that require a different type of needle.

· Sharp – Sharp needles have a sharper point that makes them ideal for penetrating heavier knit and woven fabrics as well as embroidery for lace or cardstock. Some sewers prefer sharp needles for a broad spectrum of projects because it makes a smaller hole in the fabric and results in well-defined embroidery patterns.

· Ball Point – This type of needle has a rounded point like that of a ball point ink pen. The idea behind these needles is to slip between the weave of the fabric instead of penetrating it. Many embroiderers recommend using these needles for knits to prevent damaging the fabric with holes or runs.

The needle and thread work together to create embroidery and they should be compatible for each type of project. Embroidery threads come in different weights and are made of a variety of materials including rayon, cotton, polyester, silk, and metallics. One common misconception about thread is that the higher the weight, the heavier the thread. In fact, a higher weight means that the thread is finer than one of a lower weight. Rayon thread that is 40-weight is considered the standard for embroidery.

When using a heavier weight thread, you will want to use a thick thread needle that has a larger eye to accommodate the thickness of the thread. There is also a special embroidery needle for leather and suede that is designed with a wedge point that makes a smaller perforation. Other types of specialty embroidery needles include those for use with metallic threads, for quilting, and for topstitching.

Of course, the thread color is also important to the outcome of the design. Embroidery threads are numbered according to color and these numbers will be included in the designs. You can purchase thread individually or purchase sets that include a comprehensive color palette. Collections are usually more cost-effective but you should make sure that they are high quality threads. During the embroidery process, the machine will prompt you when it is ready to go to a new color and will provide you with a digital display of the number for the color of thread to put into the machine next.

Step #3: Use Stabilizer

Stabilizer is a thin sheet of material that goes underneath the embroidery fabric to help keep it in place during the embroidery movements and it prevents puckering or pulling of delicate or sheer fabrics. It also provides a surface for embroidering open-weave fabrics such as lace. There are four types of stabilizers for different uses including:

· Cutaway – Used as a permanent stabilizer

· Tearaway – Less permanent

· Water Soluble – Temporary, dissolves when placed in water

· Tacky – Allows you to move the stabilizer and reposition

Step #4: Start Small

Taking on too large of a project before you have mastered the machine can end with disappointment when things don’t turn out the way you expected. Start with a small, beginner-level project to practice on so you won’t be discouraged if it doesn’t turn out perfect. Think of your first project as a learning experience and an opportunity to troubleshoot problem areas.

Even if you have been doing hand embroidery for years, machine embroidery is different. Something as simple as failing to use the embroidery foot instead of the standard one could result in a poor quality piece of embroidery.

Step #5: Master the Software

Most of the embroidery machines on the market today come with a specified number of designs loaded into the machine. There are also thousands of designs you can access online. If you plan to use these designs, you will need a software program to get them to your machine. Embroidery software reads designs that are digitized for this purpose.

When you purchase one of the designs online, it will need to be downloaded into your computer. The embroidery software will let you open the design where you can see it. Once open, you can edit the design to suit your needs. Once the final design is ready, you will use the embroidery software to transfer the design from your computer to your machine. Depending on your machine, this may be done by using a USB memory stick, hooking the computer up directly to the machine, or, in older models especially, by reading a card. Once you have purchased a design, you can store it for later use and for any further editing you may require.

Also, become familiar with the different settings on the machine and learn what the digital displays mean. Otherwise, you may have many more options for manipulating the appearance of your designs than you realize.

Step #6: Learn to Hoop

The embroidery hoop is the part of your embroidery machine that stabilizes the pattern. The hoops come in a variety of sizes and most machines will list the different sizes that are compatible. You should always use the smallest embroidery hoop possible with any design to make it more secure.

The hoops should be placed with the text and markings right side up in the position where you can read them. A quick-release button will be in the corner, along with a screw that will allow you to loosen and tighten the hoops. Raised marks on the sides will mark both the vertical and horizontal center of the embroidery area and not necessarily the center of the hoops themselves. Putting a light finger crease in the fabric will allow you to line up the center of the fabric with the center of the embroidery hoop.

The fabric and stabilizer are placed between the inner and outer rings to create neutral tension. The fabric should not be stretched too tight and it should not be loose. If it is difficult to push the outer ring over the inner ring and the fabric, loosen the hoop. Once loaded, the hoop will go under the foot and snap into the hoop connector on the side of the machine. Make sure it snaps securely into place. Do not use your embroidery fabric the first time you hoop. You don’t want to find out too late that the hoop isn’t set right.

Once you have the hoops in place, turn the machine on. Depending on the machine, it may require calibration before it begins to embroider the pattern. If so, the digital display will guide you through the process.

You will have the option to edit your design at this point, such as making it smaller, larger, or off-center. Again, the options you have for altering your design will depend on your specific brand and model of machine.

Press the start button and the machine will continue with the embroidery design until it is complete or until you are prompted to change the color of thread. If the end result is not what you expected, go back through these steps and try to troubleshoot what might be wrong. A little trial and error with the machine needle and thread and material selection will probably have you embroidering like a professional in no time!

Top 5 Embroidery Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Even a single mistake can cause an embroidery project to go south. Failing to take the appropriate steps to prepare could end up costing you more time and frustration to undo embroidery mistakes than it would to do the job right in the first place. With the versatility of patterns and techniques that sewing machine embroidery has brought to crafters, it can be even easier to take the technology for granted. What many crafters fail to realize is that the only way to get their projects to turn out right is to use the right materials, techniques, and stitches for each project. Five of the most common mistakes are listed below:

1.     Failing to Check Needles Until They Break

There’s a reason that the needles in your sewing machine can be changed. The more you use your machine, the faster they are likely to wear, become dull, and bend until they finally break off. Some types of fabric can also speed up wear. The best approach is to keep extra needles on hand and determine how long you have used them without problem in the past. It is better to change them prematurely than to let the machine pick the time and place to fail.

2.     Cutting Corners on Thread

That isn’t to say that you should only buy the most expensive brand name thread. There are some good quality brands that cost a lot less that are still compatible with your machine. Look for those that are made of the same content, with the same weight and denier, and which color coordinate with the name brand threads recommended for your machine. Also, read reviews to find out what users have to say and you will be able to get the best embroidery thread at a price that gives you more options for creating a broad range of patterns.

3.     Neglecting the Bobbin

The bobbin thread is essential for securing stitches to the top of the fabric but it relies on having the right amount of tension to do its job flawlessly. Too often, sewers don’t really pay any attention to the bobbin case when they drop a newly loaded bobbin into place. Not only should you make sure the bobbin case is free of dust, lint, and spare pieces of thread, but you should check the tension regularly. If you get into the habit of checking the bobbin tension and cleaning out any extra matter every time you put a new bobbin in, you can prevent the loose or puckered stitches that come from too tight or too loose tension.

4.     Follow Recommendations for Materials

Many embroidery designs come with the recommendations for the type of fabric to use them on and which type and weight of thread to use. Failing to follow these recommendations and trying to put a heavily stitched pattern on a lightweight fabric will result in a failure of the fabric to support the embroidery stitches. If you are set on a certain fabric that is more likely to be prone to puckering or becoming distorted when embroidered, look for a similar design that doesn’t require as much thread.

5.     Failing to Properly Mount the Hoop

Start by reading the instructions for your specific sewing embroidery machine. If the hoop is not in place, the embroidery will be crooked too. Even if the hoop feels firmly in place, it may not be. If there is any “bounce” to the hoop while sewing, it definitely isn’t mounted properly. Most projects are meant to be embroidered with the material “straight and centered.” Those that are not should be left to the most experienced sewers. While sewing, you should also watch the item being embroidered to ensure it doesn’t get hung up on any part of the machine and interfere with hoop movement.

No sewer starts an embroidery project with the hope that it will turn out “okay.” You want to create a masterpiece with every project you put your time and effort into. Prevention can go a long way towards avoiding these top mistakes and others that could undermine your embroidery. Just slow down and take the time to make the right decisions about your materials and techniques, and create habits that will stop mistakes before they ever have a chance to happen.

What Is The Best Embroidery Thread For A Machine

Best Embroidery Thread for Machine

Today’s embroidery machines come with a wide range of capabilities for the home sewer and professional seamstress alike. Although the quality and features of the machine determine in large part the capabilities of the sewer, using the best embroidery thread will have an impact on the final results of every project. Color, weight, denier, and even texture of the thread matter and substituting a poor quality thread will end up producing poor results.

Both sewers who use their embroidering machine for personal use or for a home-based business rely on the quality of the thread and the intensity of color to create results that look professional. The problem for many is that the name brand embroidery thread is too expensive. Instead, they need a high quality thread that is compatible with their machine and doesn’t come with a high price tag.​


How to Choose

The most important features to look for in the embroidery thread you use in your machine are quality and value. The value in getting a larger number of colors depends on the types of projects you normally perform and the volume of embroidery you normally do. The idea of having the 260 colors to choose from in the Mega Kit might seem too exciting to pass up, especially when this is the best value. But left unused, thread can become degraded over time from the exposure to light and heat in your home causing it to break. If you don’t use a lot of thread, a 63-spool set might be the better value for you. You can use this as your base thread supply and then supplement it with individual spools that you use more of. You may also want to experiment with something new like multi-color thread or metallics.

On the other hand, if you are always starting new projects and you are doing more than monogramming the cheerleaders’ uniforms in the school’s famous blue and white emblem, the Mega Kit will be an amazing tool for you.

These thread sets require the user to either place the number sticker on the machine during use or to write the number inside the spool for identification. It is also necessary to use tape or another method to secure the tag end after being used. None of the thread sets come with a rack for storage but they can easily be organized in plastic containers. These are minor inconveniences that may not be necessary with the name brand threads but that most users feel are well worth the effort for the savings and the excellent results they get when using these embroidery threads.

Embroidery Machine Thread Comparison Chart

Simthread 63 Brother Colors Embroidery Machine Thread

Embroidex 63 Brother Thread

Embroidex Polyester Mega Kit 260 Spools Embroidery Thread

Thread Weight

40 Weight

40 Weight

40 Weight

Colors Included

63

63

260

Thread Material

Polyester

Polyester

Polyester

Length

550 yds.

550 yds.

550 yds.

Machine Thread Reviews


Simthread 63 Brother Colors Embroidery Machine Thread

The Simthread collection comes in 63 colors of polyester thread with a 120 denier, 2-ply and 40 weight that is made for use in Brother embroidery machines. These specifications are considered the standard for machine embroidery thread. The Simthread Company has been a dedicated Brother embroidery thread supplier for more than 35 years and they have a reputation for producing a superior quality product. The tri-lobal construction has a high luster and vivid color that closely matches those produced by Brother. Each spool contains 550 yards of thread.

The Simthread 63 embroidery thread collection is compatible with a variety of home computerized embroidery machines including those by top brands like Babylock, Bernina, Singer, and Janome. The collection includes a wide variety of colors and works in nearly any home computerized machine without breaking, shedding, or creating lint. The combination of popular colors and great value make this collection of embroidery thread a great value.

Embroidex 63 Brother Colors Embroidery Machine Thread

This collection of thread also comes in colors to match those of the Brother embroidery machine thread and it is 40-weight polyester with 550 yards on each spool. Users find the thread to be of high quality, performing thousands of stitches without breaking. The colors are vivid and can be marked with the stickers that identify them as the same color as those in the Brother collection.

The Embroidex 63 Brother Colors Embroidery machine thread makes it more affordable for those with a home embroidery machine to get the same colorful results you would with the brand name thread at a cost that is more affordable.

Embroidex Polyester Mega Kit 260 Spools Embroidery Machine Thread

The Mega Kit is the ultimate collection of embroidery thread for those who use their machine regularly and use a diversity of colors in their designs. The thread in this collection is the same 120 denier and 2-ply thread in the 63 collection and it produces the same high quality results. The large selection of colors gives sewers a greater outlet for their creativity by creating custom color combinations. Of the three collections, the Mega Kit 260 is the best value of all.

This review compares three sets of machine embroidery thread including the Simthread 63, Embroidex 63, and Embroidex Polyester Mega Kit 260 thread sets based on variety, quality, and value.

A Look at the Best in the Hoop Embroidery Machines

Today’s hoop embroidery machines let you take your level of creativity to an entirely new level and Brother is leading the way! One of the leading brands in standard sewing machines, Brother also offers a number of models of hoop embroidery machines with all the latest features.

Quick Recommendation

With robust features and a package on Amazon that includes a laptop computer (!), our choice for the best in the hoop embroidery machine is the Brother PE-770.

The sewing machine maker has combined the most advanced sewing technology with the same reliable construction that sewers have come to expect from the brand. Another great feature of Brother sewing machines is the free customer service online and on the phone for the life of your sewing machine. We will look at the best in the hoop embroidery machine that Brother has to offer. This includes the Brother PE540D, the PE525, and the PE770.

Brother PE540D

This dedicated embroidery machine is made with a 4 x 4 inch embroidery area that gives you room to create designs on an easily visible scale. It is all about the Disney characters featured on the front of the machine and in the 35 built-in Disney embroidery designs. Everyone loves Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and others. Now, you can easily create your own fun designs on all types of clothing and other sewing projects.

The Brother PE540D also has 70 decorating designs for many more options in creating beautiful embroidery. Add to that 5 embroidery lettering fonts and there are 120 frame pattern combinations to choose form. The touch screen LCD display gives you high visibility and easy selection of the embroidery designs you select.

The machine comes with a 4 x 4 inch embroider hoop, bobbins, bobbin thread, embroidery foot, needle set and a USB cable to connect to your computer. Search iBroidery.com and other websites to find more embroidery patterns to add to your collection in the machine’s built-in memory. The internet connection also allows you to update your sewing machine whenever new options are available.

This machine provides high quality results that you can rely on for years to come. If you want the best in the hoop embroidery machines without paying the price for a professional model, this is a good choice.

Brother PE525

This machine from Brother is made to be versatile and easy-to-learn. Like the previous model, this machine features a 4 x 4 inch embroidery area, making a generous embroidery area. Enjoy computer connectivity that allows you to easily access new embroidery designs and to keep your features up-to-date.

The LCD display provides touch screen access to the 70 built-in designs and there are 5 lettering fonts that allow you to embroider monograms or any special decorative messages you want to add to your creations. The low price and 25 year limited warranty are also reasons that this is a best in the hoop embroidery machine category.

Brother PE-770

The Brother PE-770 “I Want It All Package” includes a best in the hoop embroidery machine category along with everything you need to start embroidering on a professional level and more! This package even includes a laptop so you can find new designs online and import them to your machine via the USB port.

The PE-770 has 136 embroidery designs built-in along with 6 embroidery alphanumeric fonts. Adjustable machine speed lets you tackle the job as fast or slow as you are comfortable with working. There are also 10 built-in frame shapes along with 12 border styles to frame your work. To select the pattern you want to use, touch the backlit LCD screen.

The feature that really sets this machine apart from the rest of the hoop embroidery machines is its extra-large embroidery area. The machine has a maximum embroidery field of 5 inches by 7 inches with the option to expand to 12 inches by 5 inches with the use of an optional multi-position frame.

Embroidery Hoops

If you find it difficult to learn how to use an embroidery hoop on your new machine, look to YouTube for demonstration videos that are easy to follow. Even those that focus on a single project can help you understand how to get the most from your embroidery machine. The best in the hoop embroidery machine category is only as good as the accessories and your ability to maneuver them.

In addition to the embroidery hoop that is included with each machine, you also have the option to purchase additional embroidery hoops for more options in embroidery size. Make sure that those you purchase are compatible with your specific sewing machine.

 Brother PE 540DBrother PE525Brother PE770
Embroidery Hoop4" x 4"4" x 4"5" x 7" Expandable to 12" x 5"
Computer ConnectivityUSB CableUSB CableUSB Cable
Special FeaturesDisney Theme, 35 Disney Designs, Backlit LCD Touch Screen, Automatic Needle ThreaderBacklit LCD Touch Screen, Auto Needle Threader, Design EditingMemory Function, I Want It All Kit with Complete Stabilizer Kit, FREE Refurbished Dell Laptop, More!
Price$$$$$$$$$
Built-in Embroidery Designs7070136
Lettering Fonts556
Frame Pattern Combinations120120120
Average Review (out of 5 stars)4.54.55

What You Should Take Away from This Look at the Best in the Hoop Embroidery Machines

Many sewers fail to realize how affordable it is to get a quality embroidery machine that will let them create fun and unique designs on pillow cases, clothing, and more. The versatility of modern embroidery machines gives you so much more to choose from that almost any design is a possibility!

The hoop embroidery machines are among the best in the category, made with the quality construction that sewers have come to expect from the Brother name. They also offer a large variety of additional accessories that you can purchase separately to complement your machine.

Any hoop embroidery machine that includes computer connectivity increases your options to make new designs that are virtually unlimited. The machines listed here are the best in the hoop embroidery machine category of sewing machines for their versatility, durability, and flexibility to do more now and in the future.

2

What Is the Easiest Sewing Machine to Use?

Today’s sewing machines have evolved to include a selection of computerized monogramming, embroidering and quilting machines that allow sewers to expand their creative side. In fact, the market has grown to include all types, shapes and sizes of machines that include a diversity of functions.

Although the capabilities of these machines are impressive to almost any sewer, many people share the goal of finding the easiest sewing machine to use that will accomplish their needs. For this review, I chose the Brother PE770 embroidery machine, the Brother Designio monogramming machine, and the Singer Confidence Quilter as the easiest sewing machine to use for each specific sewing purpose.

Easiest Embroidery Machine to Use

Whether you will be using your machine to create clothing or crafts for you home and family or as an at-home embroidery business, you still want to find an easy to use embroidery machine that saves time. You don’t want to spend all of your time trying to figure out how to get the design you have on paper onto the fabric! The Brother PE770 5 x 7 inch Embroidery-Only machine fits the bill with a number of convenient features including a built-in memory.

PE-770

The PE770 has an expansive 5” x 7” field that makes it easy to work on large designs and lettering with less re-hooping. The fact that this is an easy to use embroidery machine doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a lot of features to offer.

  • It has 136 built-in embroidery designs
  • 6 lettering fonts
  • 10 frame shapes
  • 12 border styles to create

Additionally, you can use a flash drive to import more designs to the machine or insert your memory card into the built-in card slot. When you purchase or designs, just save them to memory until you want to use them again. There are also multiple editing features that allow you to alter designs to fit their destination.

The easiest sewing machine to use is always one that is easy to thread. The PE770 is easy to thread and it features an auto thread cutter that for stitching and trimming precision. Brother sewing machines are known for their quality, ease of use, and versatility.

Easiest Monogramming Machine to Use

Now that so many sewing machines are computerized, the line between embroidery and monogramming is much more blurred. If you want a machine that will primarily monogram, and you want to find the easiest monogramming machine to use, then simplicity is going to be key. One good choice is the Brother Designio Series DZ820E.

Designio Series DZ820E

The Designio is a designated embroidery with the following unique features:

  • Only machine that comes with two extra embroidery hoops
  • Starter kit
  • CD with 200 additional embroidery designs
  • It has 136 built-in embroidery designs
  • 6 lettering fonts
  • 120 frame pattern combinations
  • Built-in tutorials making it the easiest monogramming machine to use
  • Backlit LED touch screen

There are also numerous machines that incorporate embroidery and monogramming into regular sewing. In most cases, the easiest sewing machine to use is a dedicated sewing machine that doesn’t require you to change adjustments, thread, or CDs.

Easiest Quilting Machine to Use

Like embroidery, computerized machines are often used for quilting. Although the Singer 7469Q Confidence Quilter is a combination sewing and quilting machine, it is still the easiest quilting machine to use for sewers at all levels.

The Confidence Quilter

The Confidence Quilter has 98 stitches built in and includes fully automatic one-step buttonholes. A programmable needle makes it simple to switch to quilting mode. The machine comes with four bonus quilting feet in addition to the general purpose pressure foot and an extension table to manage your quilting projects.

A quick set-up makes this the easiest quilting machine to use for a variety of sewing projects. The electronic twin needle control and adjustable stitch width/length give you more option for customizing your sewing and quilting projects.

How Computerized Sewing Machines Work

Many sewers who have never tried them find computerized sewing machines intimidating. When their goal is to find the easiest sewing machine to use, the idea of manipulating a computer doesn’t sound like the easiest option. In reality, the computer moves the various components of the machine to produce more accurate stitches for professional results. Many computerized machines made for home use produce results that are just as professional looking as those made by commercial sewing machines.

Some machines come with built-in designs that are accessed on the LCD screen. You simple select the stitch you want and the machine makes it. Depending on the specific machine, you may also have the option to edit the stitch to create custom designs.

You will also be able to access other stitch or embroidery and decal designs online. These are found on many online sites where they may be obtained for free or sold. Those machines that have a USB port or memory card slot are the easiest sewing machine to use to transfer new designs from the computer to the sewing machine. There are also some computers that can hook up directly to the internet to download the patterns directly into the memory.

These machines come in a wide range of prices and complexity that should also go into your decision about which one is right for your needs. If you want the easiest to use embroidery machine for occasional personal use, you won’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good quality machine. Always consider the brand name in your decision and stick with those that have a good reputation for providing consistent results and being durable.

Ready to step up to the next level? Check out the best intermediate sewing machines here.

Nothing is more enjoyable to a seamstress that having the tools to create unique designs. All of the machines listed in this review are considered the easiest sewing machine to use of their kind and should add to the creativity of your craft!

What Is the Best Embroidery Machine?

Embroidery sewing machine feature

The best embroidery machine for you will depend on your skill level and what you plan to use the machine for. A beginner who is looking for a budget friendly home machine will vary greatly from someone who has an embroidery business.

Take a look at the guides below for a specialised look at each different use and the top machine for it:

Beginners

Just getting started with embroidery? Check out this article on the sorts of machines we recommend for those just starting out and what to look for.

Home business

If you own or are starting a home embroidery business, take a look at this article on the best machine for your unique needs with options for both commercial and home equipment.

In the hoop embroidery

Looking for the best "in the hoop" embroidery machines? We have a rundown of the best machines and their key features.

Home use

There are a lot of embroidery machines on the market for the home sewer, check out our table of the top machines available now. You can sort them by price, the embroidery area, rating and other important features you need to consider when making your choice.

Commercial/industrial/professional machines

If you're in business, you need a machine that can handle volume efficiently and precisely. Take a look at our table of currently available commercial machines that are all available online which means they can be shipped anywhere in the US.

Monogramming machines

If you want a machine specially for monogramming, whether for business or a hobby, essentially you need an embroidery machine but may like to look for more features specifically related to creating monograms. Take a look at our picks of the best one to suit your needs.

All of the sewing machines we recommend on Stitcher's Source are available to purchase online at Amazon.com. This is the top place we recommend to purchase a sewing machine online as they are a trusted e-commerce name which offers sewing machines at the best prices on both home/domestic and commercial equipment and ship all over the US.

Q&A with Alison

What Size Embroidery Machine Do I Need?

When it comes to the size of the embroidery machine, it’ll depend on what exactly you plan on embroidering with it. The main consideration will be the hoop size as that will determine how large your design will be able to be as you won’t be able to create a larger size. Hoop sizes start at about 4 by 4 inches and move up. If you’re planning on making very large designs, you’ll want to invest in a machine that offers a bigger hoop. The biggest hoops will be available on the more professional-grade machines.

What Machine Embroidery Thread is Best?

The key to finding the best machine embroidery thread is to focus on quality. Embroidery thread comes in metallic, cotton, polyester, rayon, and more. You can buy it in a variety of thicknesses and weights. The key is to find thread that is made well, and will not be as affected by age as lower quality materials. Good quality threads will not shred or break very much like lesser quality thread. Be sure to follow the directions on your machine and the design itself. Many designs will call for 40 weight thread. In the long run, bargain thread might not be as great a bargain if your design looks poorly quickly after being put into use.

Which Embroidery Machine has the Largest Hoop?

A professional-grade embroidery machine will offer the largest hoops available on the market. If you’re looking for a home machine that is more affordable than one of the professional-grade machines, Singer offers the XL400. This machine allows you to sew and create embroidery projects. The hoop on this machine will allow you to create designs that are 12 by 20 inches. Some machines, like the Berninas, allow for you to put in a larger hoop on the machine to customize it for larger designs.

What Embroidery Machine is Best for Hats?

If you’re looking to embroider hats, the best machines to consider for this type of project are single head, multi-needle machines. These offer a more open area to allow you to put your cap inside. Some even allow you to use a special accessory called a cap frame that will allow to embroider on baseball caps with minimum issue. If you’re looking to only embroider baseball hats and no other projects, it may be worthwhile to find a machine that offers the special cap frame.

What Embroidery Machine is Mac Compatible?

People love their Mac computers, but sometimes they find that they aren’t compatible with every program that they like to use. The same is true with a lot of the embroidery machines available on the market today. One place to look if you want to use your Mac for your designs is with Brother. Brother offers MacBroidery Software that will allow you to create your designs using your Mac computer. There are some other software types available that will allow you to use your Mac in addition to Brother’s software. Keep in mind, these often need to be purchased separately from your machine. There are some machines that doesn’t require to be hooked up to a computer as they can run independent of a computer, which could be useful for a Mac user.

What Brand of Embroidery Machine is the Best?

The majority of brand name embroidery machines are all top quality. Singer, Brother, Janome, and Bernina are all names that are well-known for producing great sewing and embroidery machines. Often, it comes down to personal preference for what machine is best. Consider the fact that these brands often have a wide variety of models to choose from in addition to competing with each other for who is best. Check out the user reviews for the particular models that offer the features you’re looking for to determine the best brand and model for you.

What Machine Embroidery Needle to Use?

When it comes to machine embroidery needles, the smaller the size, the more accurate the stitch. The best size is 70 to 80. The key to finding the right needle will also depend on the fabric that you’re using for the project. The perfect needle will go through the fabric without damaging it or the thread along with the needle not flexing too much. Also, be sure to change out your needles when they start to show any signs of wear and not just when they break. This will improve how well the needle will stitch your design.

How Much are Embroidery Machines?

The cost of embroidery machines are dependent on the type of machine that you’re looking to buy when it comes to the size and amount of embroidery that you’re planning on doing with it. You can find smaller embroidery machines for small home projects and crafts at just a couple hundred dollars. These machines aren’t going to offer the same quality designs as the more expensive machines, but are good enough if you’re looking to decorate a bib for a new arrival to your family or other smaller projects. The more quality and speed that you’re looking to get from your embroidery machine will up the cost of it. There are professional-grade embroidery machines available on the market for over 20,000 dollars that are more suitable if you’re looking to create an embroidery empire.