Machine Embroidery: How I Got Started

Embroidered Boot Cuff Tutorial// TrashN2Tees
Have you ever considered investing in an embroidery machine? I'm excited to share some of my personal insights into the world of machine embroidery because quite honestly it's not an aspect of sewing I thought I would love so much. The past few months have had me exploring and expanding my horizons for TrashN2Tees design, creative outlets, and getting to know the full process from concept to design and digitizing.

First the juicy details- I'm currently sewing on a BERNINA B580 which is suiting my needs wonderfully- because I already had a love affair with my 350PE the user interface is really is easy to use and the command icons are universally recognizable. No matter your budget or initial desire of embroidery capabilities- I urge you to read on.

I certainly have had a preconception that embroidery designs are stuffy and dare I say old fashioned. When people ask me about my work and I mention applique... they assume satin stitched froo froo designs. I automatically take offense to that. I appreciate the craftsmanship, effort, time, design- but it's not my forte. Not my style.

What changed? Last summer I was invited to BU where I taught the Washi Tape Fabric / Mixed Media Sewing Journal class on an entry level dual sewing/embroidery machine. I tinkered around with the module stitching out a few of my favorite Urban Threads designs. Pictured here is free standing lace (also known as FSL embroidery if you want to google that) bat- did you read that... you can make lace! It's stitched out on a water soluble product, when it's done you submerge the water in lukewarm water and what's left behind is a lace bat.

Cutwork Tool Demo // Sewapalooza Event-NJ 
But.. then, I had also learned about cut work. Sounds cool right? Well it is! It's essentially a cutting blade that you put in place of your sewing needle on the machine and it will cut out fabric/wood/thin metal etc based on BERNINA designs you upload on your machine. Check out this great video for an overview and see how easy it is-

Next on my list of things of personal challenges- is/was to take on cross stitching. Yep, you can do that too with machine embroidery. Who knew? 
Cross Stitch Embroidery via TrashN2Tees 
I know I still have so much to learn about machine embroidery but it excites me to think about the possibilities for design layering and unique elements that are now available for me to add to my TrashN2Tees. You'll find me experimenting with techniques and mediums around the web- here with tutorials on the blog or over at WeAllSew. I'm lucky to have mentors like Lisa Archer of Pickled Pie Designs and Sarah Vedeler  (plus many more!) who are there to help me along in the process-  If you're looking for specific tips or tutorials related to machine embroidery or buying a machine please let me know, I'm always happy to help you find the answers you need. 


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