Embroidery Machine Beginner Tips

I recently got my Brother SE600 in August of last year.

I wanted a sewing machine and when I found out about sewing/embroidery machine combos I decided it was worth the extra couple hundred dollars

Recommended Post: Brother SE600: Sewing and Embroidery Machine Combo

Using an embroidery machine for the first time is really intimidating and I wanted to share some tips for anyone wanting to start.

How it Works

Before you even buy an embroidery machine there are some things you may be curious about.

Embroidery Design

The one thing I had no idea about until I got my embroidery machine was how to find and use designs.

Basically, you can’t just upload an image file and embroider it. You have to buy embroidery designs in particular formats that are compatible with your machine.

Etsy is one of the best places to find designs.

Here are some of my favorites:

Now fonts get a little more tricky. You can buy the fonts on Esty as well, but make sure you have the right font type.

I use the free version of Embrilliance Express and upload font files to create words for embroidery. If you are using Embrilliance you need the font to be in a .bx format.

With the free version you can’t do designs and fonts at the same time, so I usually just center them and split them up into two files and manually layer them, like below.

Setting Up the Machine

The most time consuming part of the embroidery process is setting up the machine.

How to Find Center

The best way to find the center of something or to make it straight is to press the fabric.

For example if you want something in the top center of a sweat shirt, fold the sweatshirt horizontally right where you want the design to fall and press with an iron. Then fold that in half and press again.

You should have two lines that intersect and form a center point. From there you can line the fabric in the hoop so that the arrows on the hoop align with the ironed lines. This is the easiest way to get an accurate and straight design.

Embroidery on Stretchy Fabrics

Fabrics with a little bit of a stretch to them may need extra reinforcement, which means stabilizer. There is tearaway stabilizer and cutaway stabilizer. Tearaway is easier, but cutaway is more reliable. I’ve been using this cutaway stabilizer and love it.

To keep the stabilizer in place I use an adhesive spray and it works great.


Another thing that I had to do some trial and error on was what kind of thread to use.

I ordered an embroidery thread set from Amazon and it did not work at all. It got tangled in my machine and was always getting stuck.

After a while I realized that actually you can just use regular, all purpose thread. Super cheap at Walmart! Sometimes I buy it from Joann Fabric if I need a specific color or if they are having a sale.

Also, the thread in the bobbin does not have to match the top thread. So you don’t have to thread a bobbin for every project. Sometimes it is best to keep light thread with light thread and dark with dark because it may show through a little bit.

Those are my best tips for embroidery!

Of course there is a lot more I could say, but I wanted to start off by addressing some of the questions I had when I started as well as what I learned through trial and error.

If you have other questions let me know and I’ll do a follow up post!

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