If you’re one of those sewing/crafting individuals who have been tossing around the idea of buying an embroidery machine for years, here are some points to help you finally decide. There are both pros and cons to owning an embroidery machine. If you’re not sure exactly what such a machine will or will not do, it’s time to find out.
Maybe you’re hoping to make your investment into a business venture. Once again, there are a lot of preliminary questions to answer before diving in. How much time are you willing to spend on embroidery work? Is there a market for applique or embroidery work in your area? How many other similar established businesses will you be competing with.
A business plan is essential for success in any small business enterprise. You will also need adequate space for your machine, plus thread, fabric, and other accessories. But don’t be discouraged. With patience, machine embroidery work can be an excellent source of income.
Embroidery machines offer a myriad of decorative options for clothing, home decor, and gifts. Monograms or a favorite motif will add sentimental value and beauty for enduring pleasure. Hours of enjoyment can be derived from designing and creating unique embroidered art.
Easy craft ideas:
Small craft items can be wholly completed in a machine embroidery hoop. Christmas ornaments or similar items become quick and easy with a downloaded pattern.
Many embroidery machines can also be used for quilting, saving hours of hand-quilting or stitching with a regular sewing machine. Quilting patterns can be stitched through multiple layers and repeated with complete accuracy.
Create custom appliques to add to garments, hats, or pillows–or to sell at a local craft fair.
This is the main sticking point for many sewers and crafters. A quality, durable embroidery machine with decent options will start at around $1000 and go up to at least $5000. This investment can quickly become a waste if you don’t regularly use the machine. If you don’t embroider or quilt as a frequent hobby, it might not be worth the hit to your budget.
May not sew
Not all embroidery machines will perform regular sewing. This means you will need extra space for two machines or spend the money on a machine that can accomplish both tasks. Setting up and taking apart a single machine to change between sewing or embroidering can also be another time-consuming hassle.
Along with the machine itself, there are specific accessories you’ll need to help your embroidery or quilting operations run smoothly. These accessories must also be considered as part of your investment. Some necessary accouterments include:
- Machine embroidery thread
- Machine embroidery needles
- Embroidery bobbin thread
- Embroidery nippers
- Fabric stabilizers
- Thread stand or stands
- Stitch eraser
- Applique scissors
- Brushes for cleaning out the machine
If you’re still considering the purchase, here are some features to look for while shopping for an embroidery machine that will meet your particular needs.
Embroidery field size
The three basic sizes are 4” X 4”, 5” X 7”, and 8” X 14”. It’s a good idea to begin with at least a 5” X 7” unless your goal is for designs no larger than a monogram or tiny accents.
The easiest way to download new patterns is via flash drive. Embroidery machines come with a limited number of internal design options. Don’t pay extra for more internal choices. You’ll probably quickly want to move outside those limits, and tons of free patterns are available online.
Some used machines may also offer pattern cards or floppy disc options. That technology is obsolete, and the manufacturers will generally no longer support it. One flash drive can hold multiple free patterns and requires very little space. So investing in newer technology is far wiser, no matter how good the deal may seem.
Original design options
If you anticipate creating your own designs, you’ll need to purchase software compatible with your machine. This option is essential if you’re contemplating a business venture.
If you plan to use your embroidery machine for quilting, you’ll want to make sure it has adequate throat width, which is the distance between the needle and the machine platform below it. You’ll need as much space as possible for quilting.
The larger the machine’s screen, the easier it is to set up and make adjustments to your design. It also enables you to see what the finished design will look like.
Check to see what accessories come with the machine you’re considering. At least one hoop should be included. The more items come with the original purchase, the fewer expenses will come up later.
Research reviews on any machine you’re considering. Buying a poorly manufactured machine will lead to frustration and has caused more than one hopeful crafter to give up. Expect to spend a minimum of $1000-$1500, even on a used machine, and you’ll have a better chance of obtaining a reliable embroiderer.