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Beginning machine embroidery

zuwena | Posted in Machine Embroidery on

Help! I’m about to embark on learning to do simple machine embroidery so I would appreciate any advice to make this undertaking painless or at any rate productive. I understand there are some free download sites but that one has to be careful. Can anyone recommend some sites. Also, what exactly does “unzipping” involve. I downloaded a design from America Quilts Creatively but it was “compressed” so I could not get it to open. Thanks in advance. Z


  1. zuwena | | #1

    Thank you so much for responding. I will wait and hope that a few others will also respond as I am open to and welcome all advice. Even though I am just returning to sewing after a long absence I read the comments regularly and find that I always learn something that expands my knowledge or enhances the experience."Simple" just means I don't intend anything very complicated since this is a new venture for me. I suspect that I will use simple designs and lettering for clothes. I have a friend who loves cats so I will look for designs that I can incorporate into something for her; and I have a young grandniece who I expect I will begin to sew for once I really get into this again.I shall check the sites you've mentioned and if I run across anything else I will post it for you and others.I have a friend in Adelaide who I hope to visit one of these days when I think I can handle the travel time from NY. If I do I shall plan to stop in at Sydney. Thanks again. Z

  2. denise | | #2

    Hi zuwena

    I suggest you go to the website of your machine company.

    that is what i did and i have learnt so much.

    You should of got a manual with your machine.   I found it very daunting but now i am on top of it.  I noticed in threads that one of the companies is having a training weekend in the U.S.

    Of course there is a lot more to learn and i would like to know how to draw my own designs. So hopefully this year will see me do a class with the maker of my machine.

    Ask your supplier of your machine for reliable machine embroidery companies.


    In australia for my machine we have a soft ware instructor who rings you after you email your problem

  3. zuwena | | #3

    I've checked the "secretsof" site and it has several interesting cats so that will be a good place once I get started. Now, I will concentrate on learning and trying out the unzipping portion of this process.Thanks again. Z

    1. georgiagg | | #4

      Unzipping was a road block to me but with son's help figured it out.  The design that you want to unzip has to be closed.  Find it in your directory, right click and "extract all".  You will be asked where you want to extract it to....windows asks the right questions...just have to figure out what the answer it.  When you are done you will stillhave the zipped file and then the unzipped one.  I hope this helps you a bit.

      1. zuwena | | #5

        Thank you, this is helpful. Being rather unsophisticated with the computer and totally new to machine embroidery, this zipfile, unzipping is an unknown concept to me. I am beginning to get the picture now. Not knowing what to do before, I downloaded a few things and threw them away when they did not open up with the usual "click". Now I understand that I must purchase and install an unzipping application. Any ideas on what the better application might be for embroidery files and the cost of these things?

        1. georgiagg | | #6

          to tell you the truth I could not answer that question.  Using an old computer of my DH and there were things I did not know what they were and deleted them, one of which was the zip thing.  My cousin helped me figure out why I could not unzip and DH went on the net and reinstalled it.  Maybe if you search unzipping files some will pop up.  Just put in "unzip files" in the search and came up with a few.  Think we have the WinZip and not sure if there is a cost to it.

          Edited 1/22/2007 9:32 pm ET by georgiagg

          1. zuwena | | #7

            Thank you. Just found out that computer discussions, even if related to embroidery sewing are inappropriate for the gatherings forum. My apologies to the group for raising the issue. Z

          2. spicegirl | | #9

            You are asking great questions and getting good advice.  I started four years ago, with an inexpensive model purchased at a big box store - you're on your own when you do this, but I kept at it through trial and error - did a few things then gave up for a while.  Recently, my son got interested in digitizing photos he had taken.  He did the research and I did the purchasing - that's what moms do - now we do our own designs,  I have a better machine, more bells and whistles and am loving it.    It is a shame there aren't any good TV programs that address this craft.  It seems to be geared toward the dealer providing the education.  I am fortunate to have a dealer who uses the same software program as I do and he has been a great help.  Good luck, and best wishes you are going to have lots to enjoy.  

          3. zuwena | | #10

            Thank you. I am making slow but steady progress on unraveling this and getting a bit excited (as much as an old lady can) about the possibilities within my limitations. Z

          4. Michika | | #11

            Dear Zuwena, 

            There are many free embroidery design you can download from annthegran.  I just put annthegran in the search engine and up it comes.  Hope you will find them of interest.  I also have a tip about adhesive spray you might find handy - you can find it in the machine embroidery area of gatherings.  Have lots of fun   Marika

          5. zuwena | | #12

            Thank you very much. I have bookmarked the page and will look forward to searching the files. I have finally learned how to download and unzip. Next step is to save it to a file on my machine so that I can actually use it. Until I get to that point I will continue looking for nice, simple designs that I can someday use. Your follow up is much appreciated as I thought my query was off the radar at this point. Z

            Edited 2/9/2007 12:23 am ET by zuwena

    2. DeeOh | | #13

      I'm trying to follow this thread but when you mentioned cherrypops suggestion of a tips web site you lost me.  What is it and where is it?  DeeOh

      1. Cherrypops | | #14

        Hi from Cherrypops,

        I have just noticed from reading your post that my messages containing the websites have been deleted.

        I do not know why this has happened.

        I do remember giving zuwena this:


        :) CherryP


        1. Cherrypops | | #15

          http://www.annthegran.com/ has a lot of info and free designs

          :) CherryP

          1. Cherrypops | | #16

            http://www.adorableideas.com/index.php has very beautiful designs.

          2. Cherrypops | | #17

            http://www.hoopitall.com/ information regarding hoops for embroidery machines.


          3. Cherrypops | | #18

            http://www.kennykreations.com/tipsnhints.php australian site. tips hints and lots more.

          4. Cherrypops | | #20

            http://www.sadiasews.com/ kept me busy for hours. a lot of designs and photos.

          5. Cherrypops | | #19
          6. fabricholic | | #27

            Hi Anna Maree,I noticed on the Threads site that they are selling their embroidery designs that were featured in the magazine. Maybe it is conflict of interest. What do you think? I do see the websites you have posted.Marcy

          7. Cherrypops | | #28

            Good Morning Marcy,

            Yes, I have viewed their embroidery designs. I liked some and not others. I have quite a collection so I won't need to purchase for a while.

            AmberE asked the question if there is any interest in machine embroidery in the Gather For A Chat Thread in my post "I love to sew". (post #16). A few replies came in.

            Amber also informed me threads do the occasional article in the 'embellishment column'.  iAnd their will be an upcoming article next issue.

            As the Machine Embroidery Thread has been around for quite some time, first post was in 1999, I jumped in intially to see if any current members are doing this work. A few have spoken up which is why I added the websites. 

            I will be concentrating on embroidering garments.

            There are a few ladies here interested in Heirloom Sewing, Martha Pullen is  recommended. I have looked but with so much else to do this will need to wait.

            There is also a lot of chatting about free motion and bobbin work. Again I have not tried, but my sewing machine can do it.

            There is a lot of information on the internet and specific embroidery magazines. I understand Threads will provide articles on and off as the need arises but i doubt the magazine will lean towards this style as it is in a league of its own.


          8. user-217847 | | #29

            Hi Anna-maree,

            you'll be delighted with the Stitches magazine, they frequently cover machine embroidered clothing and apparel most of the major machine manufactures are represnted by their sewing experts and at the end of the article they tell you where to get hold  of the embroidery. I have been subscribing for some years now I am seldom disappointed with this magazine. Another magazine you might want to check out is Machine Embroidery & Textile Art another Australian Mag. I do enjoy the Threads mag. a lot and looking forward to the Sewstylish mag. arriving. Keep checking Australian sites for embroidery we are blessed with wonderful designers of our own.








          9. Cherrypops | | #35

            Thanks Wombat. I will keep looking each month at the content of Aust Stitches. My mother-in-law gets the Machine Emb+Textile mag. So when I go visit I read them and scan the pages of interest. I have just subscribed to the UK's Designs In Mach. Emb. There webiste is good also.



          10. Cherrypops | | #39

            Wombat you suggested "Stitches" magazine. Did I mistake that for Australian Stitches? Are they different?

            I just did googled "stitches" and found the embroidery magazine. So yes, I answered my own question. Stitches and Australian Stitches are two very different magazines.

            Thanks for letting me know about Stitches. I'll keep in thought.

            Edited 2/18/2007 4:53 am by Cherrypops

          11. Cherrypops | | #43


            Designs In Machine Embroidery is located in Dallas Tx, sorry I made a typo. uk instead of us.


            My first magazine was shipped out last week. I will let you know how it is.

            I signed up to the free newsletter and registered free for the Free Designs and to read past issues of the newsletter.

            The newsletters give project ideas. step by step instructions and photos.

            I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

            The UK site I like:

            http://www.isew.co.uk/sewing_techniques/machine_embroidery_4_-_digitising-c-00234.htm   This is a handy site for digitising. Have some nice sewing projects.

            http://www.flairmagazine.co.uk/ is the English Machine Embroidery Magazine.






            Edited 2/19/2007 6:08 pm by Cherrypops

          12. Cherrypops | | #44

            Here is a link to an Australian site. Lots of free designs. The project photos have given me a few new ideas.


          13. Cherrypops | | #45

            http://www.skeldalehouse.com/  just gorgeous. free standing lace designs.

          14. Cherrypops | | #46

            http://www.bizzibsembroidery.com/ freebies and samples to download within the design sets

          15. fabricholic | | #47

            Looks like good prices.Marcy

          16. zuwena | | #48

            Thanks for this site.  I see several things that I like very much.  I'm not clear, however, what currency is used for the pricing.   Do you know?  Z

          17. Cherrypops | | #49

            Because the designer is in Zululand South Africa and there is a link on the website for South Africans to convert prices to South African RAND, then I would presume $ amounts are American Dollars.

            Contact them by email and they should confirm.


          18. zuwena | | #50

            Thanks, you are right.  I did contact B. Arthur and she did confirm.  thanks again.Z

          19. Cherrypops | | #51

            wonderful! thanks for letting me know. Happy embroidering. Cp

          20. MaryinColorado | | #52

            thanks for the site re digitizing and sewing world mag!   Very interesting, it describle the bitmap vs vector in a way that I can now discuss with dh.  Mary

          21. Cherrypops | | #53

            Bitmap vs Vector i will go and re-read and let my ma-in-law know too.

            I just received my first issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery Feb/Mar and I love it.

            Jan-Feb issue had an article on bobbin work and a little pictorial on adjusting bobbin settings. I found that at my newsagents.

            That bobbin work for me is way down the track.

            I've had many websites stashed away for ages, time to dust off the cobwebs.



          22. MaryinColorado | | #54

            Oh, do be careful!  I don't adjust the standard black bobbin case on my machine.  I bought a seperate one and hold it in a baggie so I don't lose the screw.  I was tickled to discover that Viking has a white bobbin case just for this purpose!  So I don't have to worry about mixing them up.

            They can be difficult to reset for regular sewing.  Sometimes I just bypass the tension slot if it is really thick thread or something that will fray easily. 

          23. Cherrypops | | #55

            Yes i will be careful.

            I told my dh he needs to buy me another machine just for this!  One thing at a time he says, emb.only machine first. how sweet is that.

            I did tell him afterwards just need to buy a separate case and that settled his wallet!

          24. MaryinColorado | | #56

            He's a keeper!  We just got out of the hottub, it is a starry night and the moon is so bright...finally warmed up here but still have snow on the ground.  Tomorrow I really need to get busy, I feel the need to finish one of my projects asap.  Mary

          25. Cherrypops | | #57

            yes he is that!

            we have to many street lights to see a full starry night, we need to go on a bush holiday.

            talk soon


          26. fabricholic | | #30

            Hi Anna Maree,Mary In Colorado did a lot of bobbin work. Has anyone heard from her, lately?Marcy

          27. MaryinColorado | | #31

            Hello!  I am still here.  I just don't write much because my computer is broken, sniff...sniff....I am using DH's laptop and it is very difficult for me to type with.  I heard Viking is coming out with new software!  I can't wait to check it out as I still just have the Customizing and have been wanting to get really good digitizing software so I can draw my own designs to embroider. 

            Arthur-itus is slowing me down, and a moderate back injury....pt is great!  I am making my adult son a St. Patrick's Day shirt, slow but hopefully will be ready in time.  Take care,  Mary

            "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind"  Dr. Seuss

          28. fabricholic | | #32

            Hey Woman,I've been missing you. You will have to tell me all about the software. I am going to pick up my machine. It is fixed. Yea!!!! I know how Arthur is, it hurts. Take care and don't be a stranger. We need you.Marcy

          29. MaryinColorado | | #33

            What was the prob?  Was it the Des or serger?  My DIL told me about the software, it sounds like what I have been waiting for....will let you know what I discover.  I was so tempted to buy the Corell DraWings, it is less expensive  and I love Correl's graphics programs and it seems easy to learn.  No hurry to spend money anyway... lol!  Usually the snow melts the day after it falls here, but this year is bizaar, constant snow and ice and lots of potholes!  I am spoiled and not used to the cold weather anymore.  My relatives in Ill and Wisc think it is funny as thier weather has been milder than normal!  ha ha on me, maybe I should go home for a visit.  HOpe to move to warm climate in the near future.....oh to walk on a beach and feel warm damp sand under my toes.....summer dreamin......

          30. fabricholic | | #34

            It was my Designer SE. I took it to another dealer, mine is out of business. Anyway, when I first took it she said it looked like the pendulum timing was off. Viking said this, also. Her husband said he would take it apart and go through with a fine tooth comb. It wasn't the timing, it was a photo sensor that tells the needle when to swing across. Anyway, it is working now. She didn't update it. Said there is supposed to be a new update in March. I will update then. I hope this is the end of my problem. They were very nice and apparently, very smart when it comes to fixing problems.
            I heard about all the blizzards. I have a friend that just moved there and my pastor is from Colorado and his parents still live there. Where are you moving? Why not move to Florida. It's very warm. Alabama is just hot. We do have beaches, but not as much as Florida. They said we might have snow flurries. Every time it rains, the temperature goes up, so we don't see many flurries.
            Is this software more than what you use for the drawing on the little pad? Marcy

          31. Cherrypops | | #37

            Hey MaryinC,

            Nice to see you...These darn laptops do take a while to get used to. Hubby bought me one for my b'day so I could give my 5yr old the desktop for his kindergarten cd-rom games. (he has computer lessons at school).

            My mother in law has just bought herself a Designer 1. I would love an SE but can't afford it. And for the basic small items I want to do I am leaning towards a Janome 350E. I'm happy with my sewer and overlocker.

            I enjoy your posts.



          32. MaryinColorado | | #40

            I love myD1, DH bought it for me when I had to give up my nursing career due to medical condition.  It cheered me up and helped me get through a rough time.  I hope your MIL will enjoy!  

             I starrted out with the Husq viking Rose sewing and embroidery machine and still love it too.  It is still going strong after many years and the grandkids have learned to sew and emb on it too.  It is now my grand daughter's machine though it will remain in my sewing room till she is older and has a place to work with it. 

            Take your time deciding on the best machine for you.  You pick up alot of little tidbits of knowledge as you test drive, enjoy the ride!  Mary

          33. Cherrypops | | #36

            I like her posts I do hope she is Ok.

          34. Cherrypops | | #38

            Just kept reading furher down. Mary in C is alive and well.

            thank god!

          35. MaryinColorado | | #41

            Yes I yam!

          36. MaryinColorado | | #42

            Bless your heart!  Thanks for caring.  Back to the Shamrocks shirt......."talk" to you later.............

        2. HeartFire2 | | #21

          >>>>I have just noticed from reading your post that my messages containing the websites have been deleted.<<<<Are we being censored on this site???

          1. Cherrypops | | #22

            Gosh I hope not. Maybe it is just me?

            I really do not know what happened to my earlier posts which is why I have started more today.

            :) CherryP

          2. HeartFire2 | | #23

            I've noticed quite a few posts in different threads lately that have been removed

          3. Cherrypops | | #24

            Really? I have stayed within a few specific discussions of late so haven't noticed.


        3. DeeOh | | #25

          Thank you Cherrypops. This information should keep me busy for HOURS. DeeOh

          1. Cherrypops | | #26

            You are welcome! Keep reading further, I have added more websites? I have had these sites in my 'favourites' list for a long time. Now I have found this discussion I will keep sharing.

  4. ctirish | | #8

    Anna-maree,Did you start a list somewhere of embroidery design sites? I thought I saw one and now I can't find it. If it still exists please let me know, the name of the posting or the message number. Thanks

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