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Home » What is Machine Embroidery? A Beginner’s Guide to Machine Embroidery (2022)

What is Machine Embroidery? A Beginner’s Guide to Machine Embroidery (2022)

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Introduction: What is Machine Embroidery Really?

Machine embroidery is a process of using a sewing or embroidery machine to create patterns onto different types of textiles for many different purposes. That’s a very broad definition of machine embroidery but let’s go into more depth of what can you as a beginner expect from your newly interest in machine embroidery.

Machine Embroidery Uses and Benefits

Let’s start off by saying that Machine Embroidery is FUN. If you are crafty and love to make things “with your own hands” then machine embroidery will definitely become your passion. 

It’s important to note that there are 2 categories in machine embroidery. One is commercial machine embroidery, where big, serious, multi-needle machines embroider massive amounts of products, whether for fashion industry or product branding and second one, the one we refer to in this post, that is home/small business machine embroidery. That means that you will probably start with a single-needle machine where you will upload the design of your choice and embroider it to different products such as t-shirts, baby onesies, tea towels, aprons etc. Projects you can make with embroidery machine are endless and such a joy to do (hence are name Joy Of Embroidery).


“What do you mean Upload the Design? Upload it where?”


Good question!

Embroidery Machines have a little computer inside that reads the file that guides the needle where to embroider. Each machine brand, like Brother Embroidery Machines, Janome Embroidery Machines etc use specific file format that their machine can recognize. For example, Brother Embroidery Machines use .PES and .PEC format, while Janome Embroidery Machines use .JEF format, Tajima machines use DST and so on. So if you ever get confused seeing DST, JEF, PES, PEC, VP3, XXX and other, know that it only means supported machine file formats.

It’s important to check when buying the design that it supports file format of your machine otherwise the design will not be recognized. If you would happen to upload to your Brother machine DST file format design, it will not work on your machine.


After you have picked the design you like and downloaded it on your computer, it will be in a .zip folder (most probably). You will need to unzip that folder to access your files. Now every shop is a bit different but we organize our folder with all stated machine formats, and usually in 3 different sizes. Look for the folder that your machine supports, for example PES, find the size that you need that fits your hoop size (we’ll talk about hoop sizes later) and copy and paste that file onto your USB stick. Safely remove your USB stick from your computer and stick it to USB port on your embroidery machine. Follow the directions from your embroidery machine manual how to locate your USB files. Success! Fun part can start now!

How To choose the Right Embroidery Machine for Beginners?


If you are on the market to choose your first embroidery machine you might feel overwhelmed. And rightfully so. There is plenty of options on the market with different bells and whistles but one rule of thumb when looking into different models is

Smaller hoop – cheaper machine

Bigger hoop – more expensive machine

So, now you ask, what are the hoops? Embroidery machine Hoop is a working surface of your embroidery machine. Entry model embroidery machines will have 4x4inch hoop (100x100mm). That is the maximum embroidery surface you can use. They progress into 5x7inc hoops, 6×10, 8×8 and so on. Price difference can be quite noticeable too.

Our advice is always to start small, to see if you really enjoy machine embroidery. It’s always easy to scale up and splurge on something more advanced later on your machine embroidery path.


We talk about 3 Top Embroidery Machines for Beginners in separate post. Check it out to find out more.

Must Have Supplies for Embroidery Machines


In addition to embroidery machine there are number of other components that are necessary for you to successfully start your machine embroidery journey.


  • Embroidery Thread – you will need special embroidery machine thread, often is many different colours
  • Machine Embroidery Needles – they usually come in the package with your embroidery machine but you should stock up extra
  • Embroidery Machine Stabilizer – used as backing layer that you place underneath your fabric so it supports the fabric during the stitching process to keep puckering or stretching from occurring.
  • Temporary Adhesive – it helps with holding your backing or additional fabric in place
  • Embroidery Scissors – small, sharp embroidery scissors are a must to cut away all those little threads


While these are just the basic must haves, while you become more and more experienced embroiderer you will find out many optional gadgets that are nice to have but certainly you can live without, as thread and bobbin clips, washable marking pens, applique scissors, roller cutter, thread stand etc.



We’ll say again – Machine Embroidery is FUN. It gives great pleasure to make your own themed napkins, birthday t-shirts for your family members or cute kitchen towels, the ideas are endless. If this is something you would like to do and explore more, then definitely, we welcome you to start your machine embroidery journey.


Share with us your story, do you plan to start machine embroidery or you already have your brand new machine at home?

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