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Newbie to embroidering

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Initial post: May 29, 2012 2:00:51 PM PDT
Honulii says:
I am interested in buying an embroidering machine. I am a novice sewer, I've done a lot of baby blankets & hemming, but it's been a decade and a half since I've sewn any clothing.

I don't know anything really about embroidering, but I'm interested in making patches, labeling towels, blankets, etc for my little one and for kids' gifts. So basically names and characters (like Elmo, Hello Kitty, etc).

I'm currently looking at the Brother PE-500 as it's inexpensive and advertised as easy to use for beginners. I'm wondering how complicated it would be to do multiple colored characters (like Hello Kitty) because I have a feeling if it's a pain, I probably won't be using my embroiderer very much....

Any suggestions, pointers, assistance would be appreciated!

Posted on May 29, 2012 2:04:21 PM PDT
Honulii says:
I would also like to know if I get a machine that can only do 4x4, if I could also do lettering across a bath towel - say 3" letters if I did the letters one by one?

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 5:32:20 PM PDT
Julee says:
Get the PE 780D. You'll love it!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 3, 2012 1:27:51 AM PDT
Hi Honulii-You should be able to do monogramming one letter at a time on a towel, but you may find it gets a bit thick re-hooping when the previously stitched letter falls in the hoop but you should be able to do it. I would take the time to very carefully lay out markings for the letters as well as consider basting your stabilizer in place. I will try anything once! Also, if you find you don't like the end result, ripping embroidery out is much easier than you might anticipate. Get one of the rippers that looks like a scalpel with a screw that holds the blade in place. It will enable you to rip out the embroidery stitches while leaving the fabric intact. And rip from the right side, not the back, if you find you need to do this.

That's the best information I have to offer since my machine will take up to a 15 x 15 inch hoop. Let us know how towels work out for you. I would like to hear about that.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 3, 2012 11:53:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 3, 2012 11:57:16 AM PDT
Honulii says:
Thanks so much! I'm now leaning towards a Singer with a 5x7 hoop. I read a lot of images online are 5x7, but the Singer has software that can turn any image into one that can be embroidered (ie. photos, clip art), but a lot more pricey than the Brother I was looking at!

I also heard that getting the lettering to space perfectly when moving the hoop is really hard to do - but that was good to know about the lettering hitting the hoop... very good info, thanks!

Posted on Jun 4, 2012 10:26:43 AM PDT
I just purchased the Innov-is 950D. The directions are pictoral and text. Within the first hour of sitting down with it, i had a design finished using 6 colors. The bobbin stays the same. you change the top thread when the machine tells you it is ready for the next step. Really was quite simple although i had been intimidated. One limitation, The machine is limited to a 4x4 hoop. However, I made a central design, framed it and added Happy Birthday in script with very little trouble. I am very happy with this machine!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 7:41:52 AM PDT
I would not suggest hooping a thick fabric like a towel, hoop the stabilizer and then use 505 spray and fiz which is a temporary fabric adhesive. I almost never hoop the fabric and udually use the 505. it works great.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 10:33:01 AM PDT
Bev- I tend to forget about that spray because I hate the mess it leaves, but you are absolutely right on using it for heavy things! I have admittedly avoided monogramming towels thus far, preferring instead to make lace for neckline insertions. I hoop organza only for that, no stabilizer, and use a piece of felt around the hoop about 2 inches wide to help hold the organza. Use this instead of a product called "Hoop Ease" I think it is called. Learned this trick from my dealer and it works great. I love making lace on organza. You can do the lace on tulle, but tulle stretches waaaaaaay too easily for my tastes and can ruin a piece of lace that you have spent 2+ hours stitching out when it comes out of the hoop and shrinks! It only took one time of doing that for me to swear off tulle ever again. I'm typically using a 360 x 200 or larger hoop, so can attest to how well using organza works. Yes, I have a machine that takes a wide array of hoop sizes and it's not a commercial machine. I just like the hoop sizes that the machine would take and love my machine. I don't have, but want a 200x200 hoop, but will have to wait for Santa to bring that to me! LOL! Happy Stitching Everyone!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2012 3:37:26 PM PDT
Honulii says:
Hi Julee, what's the price range of the PE780D? After doing more research, looks like there's other software (although a few hundred) out there that I could convert clip art to PES for the Brother or XXX files for the Singer. The Singer seems to require the computer hooked up to it to work on images, whereas the Brother you can just plug in a USB drive with the image on it.

Also found out that the PE770 & 780 you can get a larger hoop for 5x12 so I could still do towels if I wanted to. Now leaning more towards a Brother....

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2012 11:10:23 AM PDT
Helen L says:
Dear Honulii, I purchased the Brother PE770 about 2 years ago and have been very happy with it. I think any machine that can only accomodate 4x4 will leave you wanting. Wish you lived near me as I am selling my PE770 because I enjoyed it so much that I just purchased the Brother Quattro2.

I can't tell you anything about the Singer embroidery machines, but it seems like Brother is a little more popular for embroidery than Singer. I am very much a novice to embroidery still, so I can't give any technical advice. I just know that 4x4 hoops will really limit you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2012 10:27:28 PM PDT
Also on towels make sure you use a topper to make your stitches pop, otherwise they will sink into the pile. Good luck!

Posted on Jun 14, 2012 8:19:06 AM PDT
Honulii says:
Thanks all for all your advice! Keep it coming!!

I am now the proud owner of the Brother PE-780! Got a good deal from the local shop with the PE-Design Lite software, with only a couple hundred dollar difference from what I would have spent on Amazon. And now I have free store support! Was all ready to play with my new toy last night and realized I didn't have any stabilizer (damn!) so will be working on my first embroidery tonight!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 5:29:46 PM PDT
Helen L says:
Congratulations and I think you made a wise decision especially with the software. I'm still learning what stabilizer with what fabric and design. After a while it starts to make sense. Hope you have a lot of fun. I purchased the multiple hoops that Eclipse had to offer on Amazon. It was a great deal and the 5x7 hoop was much better than the one that came with my machine. Snapped on much easier. Worth getting because it has the 12" hoop too.
Good luck!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2012 4:08:20 AM PDT
Ann K says:
Great choice . . . I have the Brother Innovis 950D and just bought the Brother PE 770 to have the ability to make the 5 x 7 designs. You'll love the USB Flash Drive capabilities. Try for the most amazing designs. They have weekly and weekend sales, too. I purchased a CD from eBay with thousands of designs that all work beautifully on the machines. Remember that the 780 can only stitch designs up to 5 x 7 . . . it won't recognize larger designs. I've found sites with free designs but they aren't worth the effort compared to Embroidery Library. You purchase, download to computer, and transfer to the flashdrive. I've put designs into folders on the computer; and then via the flashdrive, the sewing machine recognizes each folder. When you open folder, you see picture of the designs. They are somewhat hard to see on the sewing machine but by using a "viewer" with the designs on the computer, you can open designs and print a list for each folder or even print the color change sheet. Your computer will not open a PES file without a "viewer." Do you need a viewer? They are free software and I got mine with an eBay design CD purchase.

Try the ELS Embroidery Software by Brother sold for $88 on Amazon. It gives you the ability to add lettering that's way beyond the built-in lettering on the machine. You can merge an existing design with lettering, too; so you will not have to rehoop and line up everything to add your wording. Working can be multi-line, curved, etc.; as long as the merged design is not larger than 5 x 7. It's amazing and also have built-in monogramming or you can design your own monogramming since you can shrink and move any of the letters you put into a design envelope.

I've seen some of the posts and I don't hoop any fabric but use spray adhesive to the stabilitizer and somtimes the water soluable on top. I find the best adhesive spray to be the Sulky 2000. It leaves less residue on your machine, hoop, and machine needle. I bought some at Joanne Fabrics and some from Amazon. For adhesive removal, try DK50. It works great.

I embroider everything from t-shirts to towels with use the spray adhesive on the stabilizer. For towels use a water soluable topping like Sulky's Water Soluble.

I also recommend the #90 bobbin thread for the PE 780D.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2012 7:55:54 AM PDT
Helen L says:
Hi Ann: I always learn something from these posts. When I bought my PE770 I thought I had to buy PED basic in order to open the .pes designs. Are you saying that I could have just downloaded a viewer? And, I am ashamed to say, that I haven't studied the manual that came with PED Basic about how to use the usb stick. Can I transfer a design directly to the usb stick without using the PED card reader? Can't believe I haven't fooled around with all these methods, but I'm not the most learned person with regard to navigating around my computer. I don't know why I thought I actually needed to plug in the PED card reader to my laptop in order to actually view the designs. One more ?. Does the sticky stabilizer build up on your needle? I have limited myself on this stabilizer and try using the 5x7 magna hoop (which FYI doesn't work that great on towels). Actually, last ?: was the ELS Embroidery Software difficult to learn?

I only download designs from EmbroideryLibrary. With all they have to offer and great prices, there is no need to experiment with other sites. You can trust their site and they are loaded with projects, etc. and tutorials.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2012 8:12:27 AM PDT
Ann K says:
I don't have PED Basic, so I don't know what that is. I got the viewer (and it's freeware) from a CD I purchased on eBay filled with designs.

I would print a color chart from Embroidery Library, save the PES design on your computer and just transfer PES design onto a USB and plug into sewing machine. When you save design, rename it with the number of the design from EL and the size for information.

In order to see what it looks like, you could either get a "viewer" to open the picture or go back to EL and search the design number.

If I knew you, I could actually send you the "viewer" but it takes some learning to be able to maneuver around the viewer to open up the designs.

I don't have any trouble using the 5 x 7 hoop with towels but I'm not HOOPING . . . I'm using the fabric adhesive Sulky 2000 directly on the stabilizer that is hooped and then putting hoop into the machine (PE 770 or the INNOIS 950D) and adding on the towel on top. Topping to the towel is the sulky water soluable stabilizer so stitching doesn't get lost in fabric. I've made many hand towels and dishtowels.

Yes . . . Embroidery Library is amazing. I jsut made their Coral Reef design on a beach towel and it's gorgeous. They do tell you to hoop . . . I don't!

I don't think the needle gets build up but you can wipe needle with DK50 to remove build-up or just put in a new needs.

I LOVE embroidering!

Posted on Jun 21, 2012 8:44:16 AM PDT
Helen L says:
Anne: Thanks for the quick reply. I haven't heard of DK50. I have used alcohol wipes to clean my needle after using sticky stabilizer or the Sulky. Seems to work, but I mostly hoop. Do you think the DK50 is similar to alcohol?

The PED Basic works fine, its just that I didn't know you could get a viewer. My eyes are opening up to how much I don't know about machine embroidery. I have a lot to learn.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2012 10:36:41 AM PDT
Hi Everyone-

My dealer told me of another way to remove sticky residue from hoops and that is to use some William's Lectric Shave-yes, the one men use as a pre-shave conditioner. It's inexpensive and comes in a 7 ounce bottle for about $4, or at least I think that was the price when I bought it. I've had it for quite awhile and it lasts a long time. It's also good for cleaning the bottom of your iron or steam press, but of course when you use it for an iron or a steam press, you will use it on a warm iron and just rub with some fabric. I've used scraps of Warm & Natual Batting for this and it does a good job.

Posted on Jun 21, 2012 12:58:15 PM PDT
Ann K says:
Always more info that works!

Sorry for confusion but product I was talking about is DK5 (not 50).

It's by manufacturer of DK505 that I find too sticky.

Hope this helps anyone trying to find it. V

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2012 2:16:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 25, 2012 2:17:01 PM PDT
Calla says:
Check out Embird on

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 5:35:13 PM PDT
Maggie says:
I also use only They have amazing designs. I've never had any problem hooping towels and always use the soluble stabilizer on top of the towel. Never thought of just hooping the under stabilizer then laying the towel on top of that. Great info and will try it. I'm still somewhat of a newbie and decided I really need to go into the local shop I bought my Brother PE780D from and take the free lessons. Having some thread problems right now and need to get that taken care of. I'm trying to get some Christmas projects finished early. I have to have knee replacement next month and probably won't feel like embroidery till recovered. I've never heard of the ELS Embroidery Software. I need to look that one up right away. Anything new and interesting will only teach us more I'm hoping.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 30, 2012 7:25:00 AM PDT
78th Street says:
Be very cautious about buying software that will "convert clipart to embroidery". There is really no such thing that will do a good job of it; if you want to make your own designs from clipart you will have to learn to digitize, or you will not be happy with the results. Digitizing is not that difficult, there is just a pretty steep learning curve when you start out. I use Embird to digitize, it's got a lot of features and very good support, and is not nearly as expensive as other digitizing software. Enjoy your new machine! Soon you will be longing for more needles!

Posted on Aug 5, 2012 1:57:49 PM PDT
J. Croatt says:
I just bought the Brother 770 and was wondering how I can add new fonts? I purchased a CD that has a ton of pictures and fonts in the .pes format and can get the pictures/designs loaded onto the machine, but not the fonts. Is it possible to add a font?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2012 9:19:14 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 5, 2012 9:22:46 PM PDT
Honulii says:
@78th Street: Yeah, I figured that out a little too late. Realized that converting images doesn't come out that great and you can't alter the image. Shucks.

@J.Croatt: I'm not sure about adding a font to the machine itself, but if you have a memory card that you can save it to and stick it into your machine, that may work too.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2012 5:47:19 PM PDT
J. Croatt says:
@Honulii, I saved the font to a memory stick. At first we couldn't find it so messed around with it and were finally able to see each individual letter, but can't figure out how to get the lettering together to form a word without the machine thinking of each letter like a picture. (i hope that made sense.) Do you think I should try a memory card instead?

Also, that brings up another question. Can I embroider a name and picture at the same time? Thanks ahead for all of your answers! : )
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Discussion in:  Sewing forum
Participants:  15
Total posts:  46
Initial post:  May 29, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 3, 2012

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