10 Commandments of Machine Embroidery – Thou Shalt Plan!

10 commandments of Machine Embroidery – Thou Shalt Plan!

Hello, and welcome to my 10 week series on the 10 commandments of machine embroidery.

I really wanted to go over some of the basics of machine embroidery, and look at the rules that we should all be looking at to make the most of our stitching time.

Today we are looking at Commandment 7 – which should be a simple one.  Plan your embroidery.

So many of us are stitching in a hurry, whether it be for a quick gift, or just that we don’t have enough time, and we fail to plan out our stitching to get the best results.

I have come to realise that planning is just as important as any other step, and if I don’t plan, I can generally expect something to stuff me up along the way.

The planning that I attempt to do before I stitch a design out is….

What is the goal?

Are you stitching a block in a quilt, where you need to look at the overall look of the design?  Do you need extra fabric around the design to trim down later.  Are you stitching for a t-shirt, pillowcase, or lace project, all of which would need different stabilisers.

Read the instructions

If the project you are beginning includes instructions, take the time to read these, and see how they are going to work on your machine, with your fabrics.  Take extra note of all of the “notions and extras” you will need to complete the project.

Plan your colours

This one I am good at.  I always print out my colour guides, and lay out all of the thread colours that I need, in order of stitching.  Doing this allows you to immediately see if any of the colours stand out in a bad way.  Remember colour guides are only a suggestion, and they are not meant to inhibit your own style.

colour therapy1

Plan your colours to make sure they work on the fabrics that you have chosen.  Remember a colour guide is only a suggestion!

Plan your fabrics and stabilisers

What fabrics are you going to use?  Does the fabric require specific forms of stabiliser, and if so, do you need to purchase this?  Look at the number of stitches, and decide if you need an extra layer of stabiliser on your design (generally 25-30K stitches requires an extra sheet of stabiliser, however this amount changes with larger hoops – if it is a dense design, use a second layer)

Plan your time

This one sounds basic, however I am a demon at this.  I trust that the machine is telling the truth when it gives me the stitching time, and I don’t account for the time between stitching (whilst I am changing colours), or just the setting up time.  Don’t be like me and constantly running late because you just had to get to the last stitch.  Plan your time so that you can enjoy the process.

If you keep the above in mind when you are beginning a new project, the project should be stress free, and a wonderful stitching experience.

Thankyou for allowing me to share another of my commandments of machine embroidery, until next time, have a Stitchin’ Day.


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