What I Wish I Knew Before Starting Machine Embroidery

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Are you brand-new to machine embroidery, or have you been stitching for years?

In a recent episode of  Machine Embroidery With Kimberbell,  Kim and Deanna (shown above!) asked the Kimberbell Team AND our wonderful community of Kimberbellas (and Fellas, Too!) what they wish they would've known before they  started their machine embroidery journey. 

Here's what they had to say!

#1: Stabilizer

To no one's surprise, stabilizer was the topic that came up over...and over...and over again.  As Lisa, one of our followers said: "What I wish I knew when starting was that the type of stabilizer mattered."

And it does. Stabilizer is not just "white stuff" that all works the same. You can't throw a coffee filter under your design to stabilize it and hope for great results! The right stabilizer is absolutely crucial for the job.


Kimberbell instructions will tell you exactly which stabilizers you need for your specific project. These recommendations are all based on our thorough testing process! With our color-coded system, it's easy to find exactly what Kimberbell Stabilizer you need.

Angie from Facebook had a great idea:

"The biggest aha is to first test stitch a design. Use similar fabrics, stabilizer, and thread that you would want to use for your final product. (Take it from one who didn't do that but wish she had!)"


Here's another great tip from Maxine:

"In the beginning, I wish I had known about applying Fusible Backing to the background before embroidering it. It makes a big difference in the embroidery quality."


Yep, it really does. Fusible Backing goes a long way in stabilizing fabric AND preventing puckering.

Kimberbell fan Melissa gives another good tip:

"Create a cheat sheet for stabilizers, thread, and needles so you don't have to constantly look things up. If you make something that comes out perfect, write everything down that you used because you will not remember."

To learn more, please see my Stabilizer Spotlight series. 😊

#2: Machine Maintenance

Much like a car, the better we take care of our machines, the better they'll run.  If you've invested in an embroidery machine, do what you can to keep it running well!

Your quilt shop can keep your machine in tip-top shape, so we encourage you to take that baby into your shop for regular maintenance. 


Also, remember to clean your machine often (and get those little fuzzies out of there)! Rachel from Kimberbell's Product Development Team has this to say:

"Keep your machine clean and change your needle a lot. A sharp needle makes a big difference! Make sure your machine is in a good place and you're taking the time to clean it so it's working well."

At Kimberbell, we change needles every 7-8 hours at least. If you're having any trouble with your embroidery, try changing the needle first. 😊 

As Tina from our Facebook group says, "Changing needles is way cheaper than messing up a project because you didn't." For more information about needles, click HERE! 

#3 Use Whatever Color You Want

It's easy to think that you have to use whatever thread colors are shown in a design photo. But you can use whatever color you want. YOU are the artist. The fabric is your canvas. And thread is your paint! Be creative! 

"The most important thing is to have fun and not stress about things!" says Olivia from Facebook. "You can use whatever color of thread you want!" 

So...why not make those scissors (shown below) red or blue? 😊 Anything goes! Choose the colors you like and Experience the Joy of Creativity® to the fullest! 

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#4 Be Patient With Yourself

"Mistakes are opportunities to learn," says Vicki, a new tester on our Product Development team.

And she's right...you're going to learn while you go. So be patient with yourself! Expect that you'll make mistakes! You'll learn more and get better with practice.

#5 Easier Than you Think

Don't fall into the "You can't teach old dogs new tricks!" mentality.  Anyone can do machine embroidery! Kimberbell's step-by-step directions will walk you through every project, and as you gain experience you'll be able to troubleshoot whatever comes your way.

We even have a FREE Resource Guide (Click HERE!) to teach you what you need to know. Enjoy!


Sharon, another Kimberbell fan, had this to say:

"I wish I would've known how easy it really is. You really could teach a seven-year-old to be successful at this if you just take the time to center things correctly, prepare your fabric correctly, and use the proper stabilizer."

She's right. Machine embroidery isn't rocket science, it's a hobby anyone can learn to do! So don't be afraid of the learning curve. Jump in, make mistakes, enjoy your success, and feel the thrill of creating something you've never created before. 

So...what are some of the things YOU wish YOU'D known before starting machine embroidery? Drop a comment below to share your ideas!

Happy stitching!




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