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How To Free-Motion Embroider On Your Sewing Machine

Do you know that you can create embroidery patterns on your sewing machine even if it does not have this function? This technique has been popular among quilters for a long time but if you do not quilt, it can come in handy for you too.

Mastering machine embroidery is a fun way to add unique embellishment to your sewing project and here I will show you how:

Find All The Right Equipment

This is not the most challenging sewing technique in the world but you still need some necessary tools to make the job easier. Of course, you should have already had the basics like fabric, thread, a new needle, and a competent sewing machine. There is a lot of machine with embroidery function but for this specific technique, all you need is a best sewing machine for beginners that allows you to change the stitch setting.

Free-motion embroidery in action

Other than these tools, here is what you need:

A Darning Foot

Have you ever in the situation in which the fabric gets pulled up with the needle when you sew? This issue can be solved with a darning foot. This small tool is often rounded and looks a bit different for different brands. Visit your sewing machine’s brand official website to find out which foot to use on yours.

An Embroidery Hoop

You do not really need to conduct a search for a hoop that goes best with your sewing machine. The key here is something you can use back to front in comparison with hand embroidery. When you fit the hoop to the machine, it should keep the fabric lay flat.

Feel free to opt for anything you see fit but the rule of thumb here is the smaller the hoop the more control you have. This is of great importance if you have to follow an intricate design because it allows you to push the hoop in any way you want with ease.

My favorite is a hoop of 6” to 8”. These hoops work on all kinds of design I have ever tried.

Embroidery Scissors

To fix mistakes that may happen here and there, you need either a pair of sharp embroidery scissors or a seam reaper. I usually have both by my side whenever I embroider on my machine.

Pencil Or Trick Marker

These are to draw out the design you need to embroider. Trick markers lines will wash out or disappear after some time. They can be found in a local store or online. This is beneficial in so many ways but the advantage I appreciate the most is that I do not have to sew right on the lines to hide them. I can go a little off the lines and wash them out later.

If you cannot find a trick marker, a pencil will do but its lines will not disappear the way those of trick markers do.

Set Up Your Machine

When you have gathered all the needed tools, now it is the time to prepare your sewing machine.

The following steps will be less time consuming if you have a user-friendly machine. If you want to know which they are, read this article on Which Is The Most Easy To Use Sewing Machine For Beginners On The Market to find out.

First, switch your universal presser foot on your machine to a darning foot. If this is your first time, see the manual for instruction on how to do this job. If the user manual is nowhere to be found, check the manufacturer’s website for that information.

The next step is to adjust the tension. Embroidery is something you want other people to see it is important to create smooth stitches. Having the right tension setting is a determining the factor to ensure that the thread and the fabric cooperate. For the regular project, the setting is probably at 4 or 5. For embroidery, you want to reduce the top one to 1 or 2.

When you are done with the tension, now you need to get the feed dog out of the way. Some machines allow you to lower it, some do not. If yours belongs to the latter category, there is a tool I really love called the Supreme Slider. You put it on the feed dog and sew right on its top. It has a slippery surface so your project will slide on it easily.

The reason here is that the feed dog is that mechanism that directs the fabric through the machine. When you embroider, you want to have full control with nothing stands in between.

The stitch length should be set to the lowest (usually 0) so that you have more accuracy.

Start Stitching

Now when you have all the tools you need by your side, the machine is set up properly, it is time to start embroidering.

The hoop should hold your fabric tightly. For beginners, sometimes the lines will pucker but do not worry too much, this happens to every newbie. You will get used to controlling it if you practice.

Make sure the hoop keeps the fabric flat

Testing is necessary whenever you reset your machine. This will ensure everything goes fine when you sew on your main piece of fabric.

When you practice, start with something easy like free lines and then venture to curves, round shape, or zigzag. The more shapes you can do, the more chances that you can embroider intricate designs.

However, remember to do your own experiment with fabric and thread too. Machine embroidery is more of a trial-and-error endeavor. Do not limit yourself to one kind of design or one specific type of fabric, play around and you may find out your strong point or your favorite style.

When you are confident with your skills, try to make a bigger design for a chance. You can always break it into smaller sections and use the hoop to tackle each one of them.

This technique does not require much when it comes to tools and sewing machine so feel free to be creative on your best basic sewing machine, and if you are in need of assistance to find one, visit our website for more sewing machine reviews and buying guides.