10 Commandments – Thou Shalt Test Stitch

Hello, and welcome to the 5th commandment, in the series – 10 commandments of machine embroidery.

When I first began machine embroidery – back in 2001, it was common practice, when you purchased a collection of designs, to test sew at least one of the designs, before beginning a project.

I have found over the last 10 years or so, that many of us don’t like to “waste time” doing this.

I personally believe that test stitching at least one design in the collection is a MUST before you begin a project, and I am going to share why you can learn so much by doing this.

Let me start by saying I am a nerd.  I love seeing how things are put together, I taught myself to digitise by watching other digitisers designs stitch out, and I get real pleasure in the soothing sounds the machine makes as it stitches.  Creating a test design allows me to get an insight into the mind of the digitiser.

However I do realise that not all stitchers feel that way.  But taking the time to test stitch even a single design from a collection before you begin a project may save you a lot of time in the long run.

Every digitiser is different.  I have 5 different machines (of different brands), in my work room.  However I constantly go back to my favourite for the majority of my stitching.  When I test sew my designs, I test each design on a different machine, making sure they work along the entire range.  However not all digitisers have the ability to do this, and I certainly don’t have the ability to test every embroidery machine made.

I always test sew on 100% cotton fabric, with embroiders felt behind the design, and my fabric and stabiliser hooped together.  If the project you are going to stitch out is on satin, or denim, or cannot be hooped for some reason, then you would want to test the design to see how your conditions affect the design.

The four main areas I am looking to test when I do a test sew are:-

Colour Choices
Thread Quality

And therefore, my tips for test sewing are…

  1. Use a small piece of the fabric you are going to stitch on, as well as the stabiliser you are going to use, to ensure the tension is correct for the design you are creating.
  2. Test out the treads you wish to use in your project, so that you can see how they will work together. (I have threads that I was trying to “use up” on a project, and because this particular thread was the satin stitch, it was a huge issue from start to finish).

Once you have tested a design, and you are comfortable with the results, begin your project, happy in the knowledge that your stitching will succeed.

The test stitches you may create during a year will make a wonderful and quick charity quilt.

I hope you have enjoyed this post, and will join us for the rest of the designs in the series.

Until next time, have a Stitchin’ Day.  Julie.

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