5 Common Mistakes New Embroiderers Make
Starting anything new can be overwhelming, and we are all bound to make mistakes. So, sit down and take three deep breaths. Are you feeling better? Good. To save you some time, we want to share five common mistakes embroiderers make when starting their embroidery journey. These mistakes have happened to most embroiderers at one time or another, but avoiding these five mistakes are essential to starting off on the right foot.
1. Not Knowing Your Fabric Limitations
As an embroiderer, it is crucial to know the limitations of your fabric and the best way to embroider it. First, the thinner and stretchier your fabric, the fewer stitches and less dense your design should be. Puckering is more likely if the design is too heavy (dense) for the fabric. If your fabric is a heavier, thicker material, the more dense your design can be. These fabrics need stabilizers for the hooping and embroidery process only.
Another critical point is ensuring you have the correct backing. There are different kinds of backing that you should use depending on the fabric that you’re working on. Cut-away backing is typically used for stretchy knits and light woven fabrics. Tear-away backing is for heavier woven fabrics such as twill, denim, and canvas. Heat-away backing is another alternative to traditional backing for lace, organza, and sheer fabric. This type of backing doesn’t leave any backing residue on the reverse side and can be removed with a household iron. Lastly, specialty backing, such as washaway backing, can be used for projects using applique or freestanding lace.
2. Not Checking Your Tension Settings
Poorly set thread tensions result in unsightly bobbin thread showing on top of the embroidery, top stitch looping, and thread breaks. Top thread tension settings range by thread type. Fabric type and individual machines should be taken into account as well. The best practice is to run tension test designs with the different thread types you use to determine where your particular machine's optimal tensions fall. Adjusting the bobbin tension before setting your top thread tensions is essential. This is because a multi-needle commercial machine has a single bobbin and bobbin case that works with each needle.
Also, you want to be sure to check the tension on your bobbin thread each time you replace your bobbin. Bobbin case tensions should fall between 25 gf and 35 gf. You can use our digital bobbin tension gauge to get accurate readings for both top and bottom thread tensions. This handy thread tension chart shows how to set tensions properly and what they should look like.
3. Not Changing Your Embroidery Needles for Different Projects
Did you know that eight hours of running time is the optimal lifespan of an embroidery needle? Worn needles can result in thread breaks, skipped stitches, and shredded threads. The look of your embroidery can be instantly improved by replacing worn needles with fresh ones. Also, it’s vital to remember that needle sizes and point types must be considered for each thread and project. Ballpoint needles are for stretchy knit fabrics like t-shirts, performance wear, polos, and light wovens. Sharp points are for tightly woven garments that are heavy and dense, such as twill, denim, ball caps, backpacks, leather, and vinyl. It is also important to note that the thicker your thread is, the bigger the needle you will need in order to accommodate the thickness of the thread through the eye of the needle as well as to open an appropriate-sized penetration hole in the fabric.
4. Not Being Careful with Embroidery Design Placement
Proper design placement will come with practice. It is important to measure your garments and mark with a fabric pencil where the design would look best.
An accurate way to measure design placement is by using the All-In-1 Hooper to align your design. The All-In-1 Hooper is a valuable piece of equipment that makes fast and accurate work of proper placement on garments of all sizes.
For embroiderers who mainly do shirts, this is a great tool. Holding off on splurging for a substantial piece of hooping equipment? Never fear.
There are placement charts you can find online.
5. Not Prioritizing Machine Maintenance
Your embroidery machine should run seamlessly (no pun intended), so you must maintain it daily. Here are our suggestions:
- First, it is important to keep your station clean and tidy. This reduces any accidents like oil spills, excess lint and soiling that may occur.
- Lubrication is a MUST, preventing parts from wearing down too quickly. We recommend referring to your machine manual recommendations. Hook Wash can help with quick and easy cleaning and surface lubrication.
- Clean your rotary hook area using compressed air
- Remove the needle plate and clean often; Compressed air and a round brush can help with this.
- Check the thread path regularly to ensure there is no lint build-up or burrs on the needle.
- Clean your metal bobbin case and clean underneath the metal tension flap.