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Video: Manuel’s Free-Motion Embroidery Technique

Gary Junken

with Manuel
An Online Extra to Threads #103

Manuel, the master of Western costume, eschews digitized, you-watch/it-sews embroidery machines, but he can. He has a 25-year partnership with Pancho Martinez, who performs free-motion machine embroidery “like a hurricane.” This video won’t teach you how to master the art, but you can peek in Manuel’s Nashville shop and watch as Pancho sews a four-colored poppy bouquet in less than 10 minutes.

For a complete profile on this fashion legend, read “Meet Manuel, King of the Cowboy’s Closet,” in the October/November 2002 issue of Threads (#103).

For another glimpse into Manuel’s shop watch the video Manuel’s Piped Pockets.


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  1. Novical | | #1

    That was incredible! I've recently discovered the joys of embroidery and this video intrigued me! Love it!

  2. Pattiann42 | | #2

    So breathtaking. I first read about Manuel and his shop in Threads a few years ago. I visit, and have recommended, this video many times since it first appeared in Threads.

  3. Silph | | #3

    I would like to learn more about the machine used for this technique. I see that it is a Juki. Does anyone have any more info?

  4. Kyla | | #4

    I would love learn how to embroidery like that.

  5. Kyla | | #5

    I would love to learn to embroidery like that, i know how to a little you are really good.

  6. textilejewels | | #6

    I've never used an industrial machine but I really like the facility for controlling the stitch width with his knee as it leaves both hands free for controlling the fabric.

  7. nina21 | | #7

    i'm very happy to discover Threads today.i love to sew thank you.

  8. accandela | | #8

    What, no eye protection??? Don't tell OSHA.

  9. boostergold1 | | #9

    This guy has some great machine embroidery patterns. Well done sir, but next time use eye protection.

  10. Reggirl | | #10

    Hi, I was sent this link & had to join just to say.... THANK YOU!! I finally have a name for what I have been doing for 27yrs. I actually learned to be the artist making the stencils for an embroidery place that all the embroiderers did work like this, on old & newer machines. I was taught to do script writing when I was there in my spare time not drawing or making stencils. I left this place & bought a second-hand machine (Singer), though it does the same as the Juki. Mine is actually a lot older and a bit slower, but still does the same things, eg. the knee press,no eye protection, no finger protection... talking of which, when I was learning I accidentally had the needle go through my nail & finger & the needle didn't break!! I was told when you do this, you are one of the crowd...lol. I have never done it since...lol.
    I have taught myself from that time on & have made some very hard designs... some would take about 6hrs on a computerised machine, mine it took 3hrs & I could come back to it whenever I wanted... no computers to let me down.
    I do now have a computerized machine (which I love) but if that machine misses or something goes wrong... I go back to my old machine to fix the problems.
    I live in Australia, & I know of 1 other person still doing it & she works for Singer.
    Thank you again for the video... I CAN do it too!!!!

  11. chicagoquilts | | #11

    Thanks a bunch for sharing. I think I may have caught a glimpse of something that would help me. That sure is a fancy machine. Would love to see him demonstrate again, it was best video on embroidery I ever watched.

  12. Nancy232 | | #12

    I enjoy "thread painting" and would love to have his machine, and be able to do THAT!...first things first, I couldn't tell what machine he had, soooo, I googled, got his number and CALLED HIM!!! He answered the phone himself!!!! He was so nice to take the time, go to the next room and get the machine number. For those interested, here it is: JUKI L271. YEA!!!!! Now I'm shoppin'

  13. fshehnaz | | #13

    I was trying to find this machine(JUKI L271) online, but couldn't. Does anybody had any idea where to find it.

  14. LizJK120 | | #14

    I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes! Amazing!!! I would never have believed that was done without the use of an embroidery machine! Wow!

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