Friday, July 15, 2016

Achieving a Hand-Embroidered Look on a Commercial Machine, Or, How to Give the Impression You Spent Days on a Single Design

     Call me old fashioned, but when it comes to a special effect, that effect does not have to shine, sparkle, glow, beep or move in any way. In fact, for me, a special effect can be as simple as creating a hand-embroidered look on a commercial embroidery machine. In the July issue of Printwear magazine, on page 54 (, there is an article that describes and illustrates using many of Madeira’s thicker weight threads in order to achieve a hand embroidered look. One of the illustrations is of a design with three flowers, loopy petals, and you’d swear some doting grandma hand stitched it onto their darling’s overalls. The thread used is a heavy 12 weight wool blend thread that sews like a dream and looks like a million – hand stitches!

     Remember that the process of creating a hand embroidered look by machine begins at the digitizing stage. If you don’t do your own, make sure you mention the fact to your digitizer that you are going to use a 12 weight thread. Another thread that gives a very family-friendly look is a cotton blend called BurmilanaCo, which was used to create an angel fish that is just swimming with personality. For a more sophisticated application, there are floral designs and borders that can be sewn onto curtains, bed or table linens for a look that will impress even the {most exacting} pickiest family member.

     Now for the faint of heart, you are going to have to change your needle! These thicker, 12 weight threads require a larger eye #100/16 needle in order to perform properly. The stitches you choose should be based on their resemblance to hand stitches: satin, running, cross-hatching. A chain stitch, as illustrated in the Printwear article by the snowboard badge, is also a very good choice. Without looking at the neat appearance of the reverse side of these designs, I defy any expert to tell whether a very accomplished home seamstress – or a racing machine that can hit 1500 SPM – produced these designs. And as an added benefit, you’ll use far fewer stitches than with #40 weight thread.
So click on over to and see what I’m writing about. Master the use of thicker threads, and consider them one more arrow in your creative quiver of ideas.

No comments:

Post a Comment