Calling All CraftStylish Embroidery Machine Owners!!!

comments (14) February 3rd, 2009     

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JenniferStern Jennifer Stern, contributor
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Heres one of my original embroidery designs. Got embroidery software? For me, its the great equalizer for a creative girl with little drawing ability!

Here's one of my original embroidery designs. Got embroidery software? For me, it's the great equalizer for a creative girl with little drawing ability!

Photo: Jen Stern

Hi, let me reintroduce myself—my name is Jennifer Stern, and I blog about machine embroidery on CraftStylish. I want to know what you guys are up to—what kind of embroidery machines and software you have, the kinds of projects you want to see on CraftStylish, and the information and resources that would help you get your embroidery groove on! Lots of the crafting going on here can be partaken in without having special equipment or supplies. Let's face it, you can't machine-embroider without an embroidery if you've got it, let's flaunt it! If you don't got it, maybe you want it and you don't even know it! The first time someone asked me about machine embroidery, I thought they were talking about all those beautiful decorative stitches that are built in to a regular sewing blew my mind the first time I saw an embroidery machine stitching a design right in a hoop!

Machine embroidery is an amazing craft that's come a long way since it was first introduced more than 10 years ago. My first memories were of people I worked with at a little sewing store embroider anything and everything on sweatshirts. Lots of time was spent using a seam ripper to take out designs that either ended up in the wrong spot or suffered some sort of mechanical machine disaster. The first machines could embroider one design or word in the hoop—requiring you to rehoop every time you wanted to combine designs. Now you can embroider designs by the hoopful! As time went by, machines kept getting easier and easier to use. Embroidery designs themselves have also come a long way—the original designs were very simple and kinda boring. I remember spending lots of money for design cards that fit into the side of my Pfaff—usually I only liked one or two. Now you can poke around the Internet to find exactly what you're looking for—and lots of them are free or cost only a couple of bucks!

A number of years ago, I discovered embroidery software. When I realized that I could draw a picture, scan it into my computer, and create an original embroidery, it was all over! After a little practice, I started entering wearable art fashion shows—ending up at the Bernina Wearable Art Fashion Show. My competitive spirit inspired me to push the envelope and create unique designs and combine them with different techniques to get all sorts of amazing effects that would stand out in a field of incredibly talented designers. It was an exciting time for me, and I learned a lot about machine embroidery. Now I would like to share it with you.

Get your creative machine-stitching groove on at CraftStylish...shooting me an email at [email protected] with all your wants, needs, and desires. Whether you're a newbie and need tips for beginners, different ways to use stabilizers and threads, or you've been embroidering for years and you want a way-out-there technique to keep your machine running, I want to hear from you!


posted in: embroidery

Comments (14)

sophia101 writes: great work. very informative article, really enjoyed reading

3d embroidery digitizing
Posted: 12:08 am on September 22nd
lkmuth writes: I have the 4D embroidery extra. For some reason it stopped letting me transfer my designs to floppy disks. Its only allowing transfers to usb or reader writer. I can't figure out why this happened. Do you know how to fix this or Is there any way I can transfer designs from usb to flopy disks? You can emale me @ [email protected]
Posted: 6:37 pm on September 11th
Campergirl writes: Hi, I own a Viking Designer II and have been embroidering since 2003. I own several embroidery software packages 3d, Janome Digitizer Pro and Embird. Embird is my favorite. Embird has digital tutorials along with text tutorials. My dream is to attend a digitizing class as I'm sure I've only scratched the surface. I have created place mats and napkins using a bride's monogram from her wedding invitation. I would really like to learn how to create my own machine cutwork patterns. If you haven't tried cutwork it's really easy. The older Viking machines may require a software upgrade available form Viking.
Posted: 8:34 am on May 15th
strugglingtosew writes: I have never embrodier in my life and I woud like to buy an embrodiery machine only in my near future. What embrodiery machine would you recommend?
Posted: 10:30 am on September 19th
seLvege writes: I am just learning to use my 4D software. Can you be very specific as to how to download designs from the web and then get it into my software? Most instructions say to download to a file easily acessible but I need more detail. The design I downloaded came in a zip file. Exactly what file do I send it to?
Posted: 2:41 pm on August 17th
seLvege writes: I am learning to use my Viking embroidery software and need help downloading designs from the web. Instructions always say..."save to a file easily accessed". Can you be more specific and give an example? I just downloaded a design and got it as a zip file. How do I get it into my 4D Extra program? (I really need specific details)
Posted: 1:23 pm on August 17th
jonipi writes: Hi Jennifer, I have had my singer emb/sew machine over a year. I have never embroidered. I really do want to do it because a project can be so special and beautiful. I am sooo INTIMIDATED to get started. It is a Singer Quantum Futura. I read the directions, watch the tutorial but still I don't attack it. I realize that I probably am too detail oriented. I have a need to know the exact details of the machine and what the parts (and I) are supposed to do. If I can't get that into my head, I am at a standstill. I don't understand digitizing. The machine is connected to the computer so that I can download but then I can't find the file. I do have autopunch (?).

Posted: 9:42 am on April 18th
JenniferStern writes: Hi Sewongirl,

I worked in a sewing store for 10 years, and I'm pretty familiar with all the brands. While almost all of the embroidery-only machines are pretty good, the most user-friendly brands are Brother, Babylock and Janome. Embroidery-only machines can be more reliable for embroidery because the needle just does one thing--it goes up and down. It's easier to get the tension set right because you're not trying to balance decorative and zig-zag stitches.

The important feature you want to look for is how easy it is to get additional designs into the machine. Some of the embroidery-only machines that are super inexpensive (or older models) require special software to get new designs into the machine. This software can cost more than the machine!

Janome -
Brother -
Babylock -

If I had to buy just one, I would probably get the Janome Memory Craft 350E. You can get designs back and forth from the machine to your computer with a compact flash PC Card (and credit-card size adaptor)-- You don't need any special software to get .jef format designs from the computer to the machine. (.jef is the format that Janome embroidery machines recognize)

Just one more note--While you can embroider lots of designs without worrying about copy right issues when you are selling them, Disney designs and any other trade marked designs can not be embroidered and sold. Take a minute and check the copyright rules for any designs that you want to use to make things to sell.
Posted: 4:02 pm on February 21st
sewongirl writes: Hi Jennifer _ I have a question for you. I would like to purchase an embroidery only machine but there is so so many out there that I am even more confused now than I was before I begin looking into different brands. Is there any particular brand that you could recommned or what to look for in each machine? I already have a Brother sewing machine. I borrowed a friends Disney Embroidery machine and I think I would like to do this as extra income from my home. Any info you have would be great. Thanks, Missie
Posted: 6:17 pm on February 20th
lovequilter writes: Hi Jennifer, I have been quilting and sewing for a long time and I have wanted a machine embroidery machine for a while. I ran across a deal that I could not turn down. It is a six thread SWF computerized machine. I had only intended to use a embroidery machine to make the labels for my quilts, but this one will do anything! So I am having so much fun exploring the possibilities with my new toy. Hopefully this will add a new deminison to my products and will inhance my online business. (I really don't want to find another real job) Keep the information comming, we really do read it.Linda
Posted: 3:22 am on February 16th
Sweet_Pea writes: Okay Jennifer, you got me now! I have been machine embroiderying for about 4 years now and was hooked from the moment I saw and embroidery machine demo. I have a Viking Designer I and 4D Embroidery Extra software. I love both of them. I would like to upgrade my software to the Pro package, but money does not allow that right now. I embroidery just about everything: clothes, pillows, placemats, napkins, tablecloths, fleece, purses, etc. But, my favor project is my embroidered rubber waffle placemats. Pics can be seen in my gallery.

I would love to see more embroidery project ideas. I'm always looking for the next fun thing to do. I don't know exactly what I'm looking for, but when I see it, I know it! Some new, fun and different. Surprise me!!!
Posted: 8:42 pm on February 5th
sofun2sew writes: I had a Singer embroidery machine for a few years, and like you I felt restricted by the "cards" and had to use an Amazing Box. When the box quit working, I went to a Janome demo and was hooked! I am computer impaired, so I have a lot of problems trying to put designs on CD's, etc., but I have good help from the store I purchased the machine from (not so with the Singer...he only did repairs)although the store is 40 mi. away. My original idea was to do my own designs until I found out how much the software costs. If I was better with computers I would try to work towards that goal, but I can't even figure out how to transfer my old XXX designs onto a disk in the JEF format! Lame, huh? I watch PBS shows on Saturday with embroidery techniques and try everything. I now have a Janome 11000 and love it. There are features on the Singer that I liked, so I still have the machine. It has great built-in designs. I would sell the Singer, but am still nervous about using e-bay! Anyone want it? $800!!!
Posted: 2:44 pm on February 5th
JenniferStern writes: Hi Carol,

Do you mean the Pfaff or Viking 3D software?...I own and love that software! I know exactly what you mean about seeing what you digitize stitch out in the hoop--it's exciting to watch. What kind of projects and info would you like to see on Craftstylish?
Posted: 6:07 pm on February 4th
Carol_Brrmidji writes: Question 1.Machine is a Babylock Ellageo. Question 2. 4D software Pro. I am making my own designs and loving it. I like to see what I design on the computer stitch out. I'm still kinda new I have done t-shirts for the family and I like to make tote bags from scratch. I've been digitizing for friends and family. Seems to be becoming a business kind of quickly.

Posted: 5:32 pm on February 4th
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