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How To Use An Embroidery Machine

If you are a newbie and recently got into embroidering then the first question that arises in your mind is how to use an embroidery machine. When I first started to embroider, I never sought any advice or tutorial on how to use it and therefore I ended up impairing my machine. 

Thankfully, I got my machine repaired through my warranty card. However, it took me many days to learn how to use it as it can be a daunting task to learn embroidering especially if you don’t know anything about it. 

So, I really know what you are going through! This is why I have decided to write a tutorial for you. In this tutorial, I will guide you step by step on how to use an embroidery machine. You will be enlightened about everything regarding the embroidery machines from start to finish.

How To Use An Embroidery Machine

Step 1: Ready Everything

Ready Everything

The first step is to make sure that you have everything– supplies and accessories– right in front of you before you get started. It will save your time and energy. Here is the list of tools that you need to have before starting.

Embroidery Hoop

Some might argue that embroidery hoops are not necessary but let me assure you they are imperative for perfectly embroidering the pattern. There are different types and shapes of hoops. Some hoops have square sizes while others have circular shapes. Plus, the sizes vary as per the machine and design requirements. Nonetheless, hoops are used for holding your garment while you stitch the design.


The backing is an essential part of embroidering. It helps you smoothly transfer the pattern on the fabric. There are three types of stabilizers– Cutaway stabilizer, Tear away stabilizer, and Washable stabilizer–  All these three stabilizers have different weights and purposes and are used according to the type of fabric.


You’ll need to have a pair of sharp scissors for cleaning the untidy work when you are finished. You’ll use them when the strands of the small threads hang out after you are done with the project. 

Use a NoteBook

A notebook will be used for recording the data and settings which you’ll use on the embroidery machine. It helps you to analyze where you have made mistakes. Make notes of the type of fabric, stabilizer, and threads you use. 

A Marker And Tracing Paper 

A marker will be used for tracing the design on the tracing paper. Use a micron art pen, it will help you avoid little marks here and there. You don’t need to trace the full design. You can just trace the complex and directional lines that give an idea of how the design will unfold. 

The Design

Before starting out, you need to have a design that you’ll use on the fabric. You can use pre-existing designs of the embroidery machines or you can create your own design either by drawing the pattern on paper or by using the software. Here is our guide on how to create patterns using paper and software. 

Access to the Embroidery Software

Apart from all the above tools, you need to have access to the embroidery software. Most of the machines have pre-installed embroidery software but some embroidery and sewing machines don’t have this privilege. So, you can purchase it from the internet. Here is our guide on how to use different stabilizers.  

Also, make sure that your machine is not turned on before you begin your process and that it is not plugged into the circuit because it might hinder the designing method.

Step 2: Choosing the Right Set of Needle

Choosing the Right Set of Needle

It is important to use a needle that’s embroidery-specific. Using an embroidery-focused needle reduces the chances of thread breakage while embroidering. You can also use a regular sewing machine but it won’t be able to showcase worthwhile results. Moreover, if you are using sewing needles then you should know that sewing needles are different from embroidery needles. Embroidery needles have a wider groove and long needle eye which helps you prevent shredding while you embroider.

The needle size should vary as per the fabric’s weight. If you are working on thick, heavyweight fabrics then it is better to use a larger needle. On the other hand, if you are embroidering on thin, delicate fabrics, you should use small needles.

If you are working on a commercial embroidery machine, you should use round needles. However, I believe that you are a beginner and therefore you will be sewing on a machine that’s beginner focused. So, I suggest to you that you should use shank needles that are flat-sided. 

Plus there are numbers assigned to a type of needle. A higher number means a larger needle with a big needle eye and lower number points towards a small needle but with more precision. 

Step 3: Set Up the Machine

Set Up the Machine

Most of the machines have the same process of setting up. As mentioned before, your machine should not be plugged in before everything is ready. Now is the time to plug the switch into the circuit and turn on the machine. You can also connect to your personal computer if there is a USB port and cable. 

Step 4: Choosing the Perfect set of Threads

Choosing the Perfect set of Threads

Choosing the right type of thread is essential for getting a high-quality embroidering design on fabric. You need to choose a top-notch and right type of thread or you’ll come across sudden breakages of threads as these embroidery machines stitch so fast that there are high chances of thread breakage. You can also use sewing threads but they are different from embroidery threads as they won’t last for long because they are not designed for embroidering.

Generally, there are two major types of threads One is rayon and another is polyester. You can use any type of thread depending upon your preference. Each has its pros and cons. Both are colorfast and bleach-resistant. I personally believe that rayon is slightly better than polyester but it is more expensive. Moreover, it is more durable and has better luster and sheen.

There are some other types but they aren’t considered as major types such as cotton embroidery threads variegated, and glow-in-the-dark thread. However, they have subtle differences which make them difficult to choose.

Plus, the embroidery threads vary in weight also. The ideal and standardized is a 40 wt thread. However, you can also use 60 wt thread but won’t recommend it until you become a master in embroidering. Moreover, most embroidery designs are digitized for 40wt thread. If you want to know more about threads, here is our guide to embroidery threads.

Difference Between Embroidery Threads and Bobbin Threads

Embroidering threads are much thinner than bobbin threads and are used on the front side of the embroidery design. On the other hand, bobbin threads are slightly heavier and thick and are used on the back of the design. Plus, embroidery threads are more durable than the latter.

Step 5: Time to Thread the Bobbin 

Time to Thread the Bobbin

Threading the bobbin varies from machine to machine. However, if you are using an advanced level embroidery machine it is quite easy to thread the bobbin. You can use the manual to see how to thread the bobbins on your machine. You can also watch Youtube videos to learn this art.

Step 6: Set up your Fabric

Set up your Fabric

It is time to set up your fabric. First, you should attach the stabilizer to the fabric and then put your fabric on the smaller-sized hoop. Place the top or bigger hoop over the fabric and lock both the hoops and tighten them. You can also use a screwdriver to tighten the hoops. Moreover,  pull up the fabric so that it is safe, secure and smoothly placed between the hoops. Now, check whether your bobbin is fully loaded. 

You will have to match the bobbin thread to the embroidery thread color. Select the embroidery design and choose the colors as per your threads.

Step 7: Put the Fabric tightened hoops on the Machine 

Put the Fabric tightened hoops on the Machine

Put the hoops on the machine so that you can embroider. The fabric should be under the tip of the needle. Now start embroidering.

Step 8: Start Embroidering Slowly

Start Embroidering Slowly

Now start embroidering slowly. If you are a beginner don’t start stitching fast. Use a moderate speed and then increase the speed as you get more familiar with the machine. Hold the fabric tightly so that you can easily embroider during the initial phase.

Step 9: Don’t leave any Line and avoid any Uneven Filling

Don't leave any Line and avoid any Uneven Filling

Sometimes when you are a beginner you tend to leave a line or two. Therefore, always check out the design after embroidering and check whether there is any line left to embroider. And also avoid uneven filling 

Step 10: Complete the Project 

Complete the Project

Once the work is finished. remove the hoops and tear or cut away the stabilizer if you need to. Plus use the pair of fine and sharp scissors to get rid of extra threads. 

Related Article: Embroidery Machine vs. Sewing Machine


I hope that you like this article. If you have any queries you can always comment, I am always here to reply to you.

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