What Is Machine Embroidery?

What Is Machine Embroidery?

For those who are unfamiliar, machine embroidery is actually what the name implies—embroidery that is done by a machine.

The process of machine embroidery starts with the machine. Today’s embroidery machines are computer controlled and can have one head, which means they have one sewing field and can sew one item at a time, or it may have multiple heads, where each sewing field can sew the same design on separate items concurrently. Some single-head embroidery machines can be linked together to form a multi-head machine. 

Sewing heads on computerized embroidery machines are outfitted with needles. The number of needles dictates how many colors you can sew in your design in one setup without having to change the thread color. The number of needles varies with the machine, but generally the maximum is 16 needles on one machine.

The design files for the images to be embroidered are specially digitized for embroidery and can be either purchased or created with embroidery digitizing software. Once the design file is loaded into the machine, the item to be embroidered is placed in a holder or hoop to stabilize it, and the hoop is positioned under the needles on the machine. The design file then dictates how the item and the needles are moved to properly reproduce the artwork. 

Another piece to understand about machine embroidery is the relationship between digitizing and the success of the finished product. Digitizing is the process by which designs are created for machine embroidery. A properly digitized design is key to producing a saleable finished product. An improperly digitized design can cause hours of headache and result in a product that is unacceptable. Many embroiderers will choose to have their designs digitized by professionals, as digitizing does require an understanding of how the thread, fabric and machine work best together. 



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