Custom Embroidery on a Home Sewing Machine

Embroider by Machine Without an Embroidery Sewing Machine

Sewing a monogram, name, simple logo, or picture is possible on a home machine. While costly embroidery machine sewing is faster, it’s limited in size and design options.

For the home sewer, spending a lot of money on an embroidery sewing machine or an embroidery service to produce the occasional embroidery isn’t very practical. It is possible to embroider unique customized designs on a home sewing machine. If you simply want to add a child’s name to a quilt, Christmas stocking, or article of clothing, the fonts in your word processing program offer great variety. Make them as fancy or simple as desired, embroidery on a home machine can be very pleasing.

The key to success is able to sew on the line of the design accurately. Once the outline of the letters or design is established, the kind and amount of stitching is a personal choice. It is possible to completely fill the shapes or letters with thread, such as the stars in the quilt pictured below. Click on the picture for a larger image. Fabric can be used as part of the design without as much stitching, for unlimited design and size options.

Sewing curved lines on a sewing machine can take some practice. Tight curves, such as in small letters take more time and effort than gentle curves. Tight curves can be mastered by using a very small straight stitch and guiding the needle for every stitch to stay on the line. Large letters are easier. Practice both to decide where your comfort zone is. It works best to do the embroidery before sewing it into the project. Hooping the embroidery is optional.

Suggested Projects to Add Home Sewing Machine Embroidery

  • Handbags and other bags
  • Quilts and wallhangings
  • Pillowcases
  • Towels
  • Clothing – including t-shirts, sweat shirts, collars, cuffs, jacket lapels, yokes and panels
    book and album covers

Materials Needed for Home Sewing Machine Embroidery

  • Printed design to embroider – this can be as large as desired. Larger designs and letters are easier to sew by machine than very small ones.
  • Non-fusible interfacing or stabilizer such as HTC Inc. Pattern-Ease, or Pellon Easy Pattern
  • Background Fabric larger than the desired finished size.
  • Fabric for the design, again larger than the finished size.
  • Thread
  • Fray Check or other product to prevent the edges from unraveling

How to Embroider the Chosen Design

  1. Trace the design onto the interfacing with a sharp pencil or waterproof pen. Check to be sure the lines are visible on the reverse side of the interfacing.
  2. Place the interfacing with the design face up on a table. Place the background fabric face up over the interfacing. Place the fabric for the design face up over the background fabric. Placement doesn’t need to be precise because of the extra fabric allowed. Pin all three layers together and flip them, so the interfacing is up.
  3. With bobbin thread to match the design fabric, sew along the lines of the design. Use a small straight stitch or a tiny zig-zag stitch. Here again, having extra fabric aids in easy handling.
  4. Apply Fray Check, or similar product around the stitching on the design fabric, and let dry.
  5. Cut the excess design fabric away. Applique scissors are highly recommended for easy cutting.
  6. On the right side, satin stitch over the cut edges and stitching.
  7. Tear away the excess interfacing on the back and cut the background fabric to the desired size.

Filling the Design Completely With Thread

Instead of using another fabric for the design, layer just the interfacing and background fabric. Using a heavier weight thread in the bobbin, sew rows of stitching side by side to fill the shape. It’s not necessary to use a hoop. The finished embroidery is the bobbin side. Heavier weight thread works best on the bobbin and reduces the amount of stitching needed.

Embroidery machine sewing is more practical for those who do a great deal of embroidery. For a lot less money and a lot more creativity, casual embroiderers can create alphabets and simple designs in fabric and thread on a home sewing machine. If your machine has some fancy stitches, they can be incorporated into the designs. Instead of feeling limited by not having an expensive machine to embroider alphabets and other designs, feel free to create unlimited unique designs.

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