Tips & Tricks For Machine Embroidery

I don’t want to get into the how to’s of machine embroidery at this time, but I’d like to show you some tips and tricks I’ve learned and used along the way.

Jump stitches are important to cut. Leaving them in can have the thread underneath getting attached to your feed dogs, and then holding the stabilizer and fabric into place, so you end up having a bunch of fabric and stabilizer in the darning foot and most likely a broken needle. You do not always have to cut jumps, but it’s a good habit to get into. It’s something you just learn when to do it and when not to do it along the way.


stbs-2014-t&tfmemb-315Learning when to cut your jumps especially on the back is important to your process, taking the hoop off the embroidery arm to much to just cut the jumps can cause conflicts with your fabric your stitching on. Not so much with my designs because your mainly stitching on stabilizer, but it will affect the alignment on stitchouts, so it’s important to remove the hoop as little as possible, but to also keep in mind that cutting the jumps on the top can help when you finish your design also to cut the jumps on the back.

stbs-2014-t&tfmemb-316When you have short stitches or something like the eyelashes you see in the picture, it is sometimes better to just leave the jump stitch in place. If your other stitches are going to cover it, their is no need to cut the stitches, and the good thing about this is that you get a bit of additional security that holds those stitches in place longer than if you cut the jumps. This is for both front and back of the hoop.

Even when your stitching on light colored threads, it’s easy to think the thread will show thru, but if the stitching that covers the jump stitch is a “fill” type stitch, or a satin fill, it’s going to cover the jump stitch without allowing the thread color to come thru and be seen.

Keep in mind that if you don’t have a lot of stitching to do on a shape, hold off cutting the back of your hoop jump stitches until your completely done with the total stitch out.

Cutting Small Areas

When you have small sections such as eyebrows, cutting them can be difficult.  You need a fine point pair of scissors to get in between the cut area or in my case I use a seam ripper. Only cut jumps that can be seen tho, do not bother with jumps that can’t be seen. Just because a jump stitch is there, doesn’t mean you really need to cut it, not all jump stitches have to be cut. As you do more and more embroidery you’ll come to realize this. My designs are different in the respect that your going to have a lot of jumps, their is no way for me to lesson the jumps as your going from applique shape to applique shape

Tips & Tricks For Machine EmbI will cut the one side, then use very fine point scissors to cut the other side. When the shapes are this fine tho, on the back, I do not cut them.

While these are not necessarily scissors, these are very nice, a bit pricey, but still really nice.

Havel’s Ulti-Mates Angled Machine Embroidery Scissors

Bobbin Thread

With machine embroidery, you need alot of bobbin thread. Get in the habit of filling alot of bobbins all at the same time.

Yes, you can purchase pre-filled bobbins, but you need to know the size your machine takes for these.

I love pre-filled bobbins, but at the same time, I prefer to just do my own. With all my sewing machines, I have about 100 bobbins for each of them, so I use them instead of buying pre-filled bobbins.

I do not mind filling bobbins up.

Tips & Tricks For Machine EmbI make sure my bobbin is on correctly. This is important with any machine brand you own. A badly wound bobbin can cause more problems than one can possibly image. Learn how to wind bobbins correctly.

Tips & Tricks For Machine EmbI have one of these bobbin storage cases for each of my machines. I also have an extra for other colors.

My Viking machine uses a green bobbin, my Ult uses a plastic bobbin with no color and my bernina bobbins are metal, so it’s quite easy to distinguish them all apart.

I don’t like the idea of storing my bobbins with the thread. The reason being, I could potentially run out of bobbins doing this, so I choose to store them all together.

My Bernina machine does not have the ability to tell me it’s running out of thread in the bobbin. I don’t mind that really, yes it’s frustrating to run out while stitching, but because I always pre-wind a bunch of bobbins all at once, I just pop another one in and go.

However, my Ult and my Viking machines both have low bobbin warnings. I usually ignore them, but watch. With my D1 it’s not so important, because I do not do embroidery on this machine at all.

However, when you are machine embroidering, it is more important to watch. Like I said, I ignore it if I’m stitching along because you always have thread still left in the bobbin. So I am always hopeful their is enough to get to the next color stop. I will then switch it. What happens tho is that I might still have enough left on the bobbin to use. It can be frustrating, but I do like to empty my bobbins, so I will end up putting them up on the top and threading them thru the needle, thus I can use them up. You can do this in machine embroidery as well, especially in the case where your just stitching out placement lines.

Tips & Tricks For Machine Emb

Rolled Stabilizers

It is quite common to buy stabilizer on the roll. I know some people like precut sheets, but I prefer the roll.

With the roll tho, you cut off a piece to use and you have that rolling thing going on kind of like wrapping paper.

Tips & Tricks For Machine EmbSo I flatten mine.

I am not using a book and waiting 24 hours to do it, I use an iron.

Tips & Tricks For Machine EmbWhether I cut one piece of stabilizer or 20, I will take a few sheets at a time (I’ve done up to 5 at a time), and lay it down so the rolling area is on the bottom. I then put my iron on Low heat, and press it.

I do both ends of the stabilizer, and I turn it around and do the other.

It works, it flattens it out easily and when I’m placing it in the hoop it goes much better than having the ends rolling around on me.

Tips & Tricks For Machine EmbFlattened

Tips & Tricks For Machine EmbI tend to use 12-inch wide stabilizer in my 6-inch wide hoop. I do this because I hoop my stabilizer. Not everyone likes to hoop there stabilizer, but in the technique on my site for doing the outlines, you don’t have a choice, you must hoop the stabilizer.

I use wider stabilizer because it’s easier to hoop and if I need to “tug” a bit to get it taut then I have room to do so.

After I am sure it’s taut, I then cut around it

Tips & Tricks For Machine EmbThat way I can see easily in my hoop, cut jumps, add additional fabrics or shapes and the stabilizer is in not danger of getting stitched into the hoop.

I know I have other tips I haven’t thought to place here yet and as I do, I’ll update this page.

Just a note, I probably waste a bit more stabilizer than others do, but I firmly believe in getting enough stabilizer in the hoop so I can get it taut and tight, if you have just a little to grab on those sides it makes it more difficult. With my designs in particular, you can easily use a tear away stabilizer that is the cheaper version on the market. You do not need heavy stabilizers or water solubles for my designs because your going to lift the shape off the stabilizer in the first place and you don’t want that stabilizer following you to your background.

Here are some other sites that give Machine Embroidery Tips:

Embroidery Library

Flying Needle

ABC Embroidery

This is one of the best “How To Hoop” lessons I have seen on Youtube.


Note: Using the print options for this page will not load the video itself into the pdf or the print file, but will give you the links that you can visit to view the videos.

Page Updated December 27, 2017





3 thoughts on “Tips & Tricks For Machine Embroidery

  1. Re: cutting jump threads. Does this mean to remove the hoop each jump to get to the bobbin threads also? Thank you so much for this tutorial. It is of great help.

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