Technique

A piece of background fabric is placed in the hoop and onto the machine. The design will stitch an outline of the appliqué shape(s).
You then place the appliqué fabric over this outline shape.
The outline stitching is repeated, attaching the fabric to the base.
The excess appliqué fabric outside the stitch line is cut away manually with scissors.
The machine then stitches a “tack-down” line of zig-zag stitching around the shape, followed by a decorative stitching line.
Embroidered appliqué is very precise and can include additional accent stitches to create unique and beautiful designs.

Freestanding lace is an embroidery technique that is achievable on all modern domestic embroidery machines. It consists of many passes of stitches of various types, ensuring the design interlocks thoroughly in many places. Always worked onto a wash-away or heat-away stabiliser using the same thread in the bobbin as used in the needle. The stitches remain together when the stabiliser has been removed, creating a beautiful design that does not fall apart. Freestanding lace pieces are often joined together to create a 3D project.

Yes. Any modern embroidery machine can sew out a cutwork design. Firstly an outline of cut areas is stitched out. The fabric inside these areas is cut away, either manually or with a specialist cutting tool that replaces the sewing needle in the machine. Traditionally created in white to create fabrics such as Broderie Anglaise, there are some beautiful modern designs available from many sources, including OESD.

Product

The simple answer is; any fabric can be embroidered, from the most delicate chiffon to the coarsest hessian. Not all embroideries are suitable to transpose from one material to another. It all depends on how the designer created the original design and initially intended it to be stitched out.

Rayon and polyester give the “traditional” finish of stitches with a high sheen, looking silk-like, but this “shiny” look is not always required. There are many other thread and fibre types available, and each has its specific uses where it can excel.
For a matte finish, you can use a cotton thread or polyester sewing thread. On a woollen sweater, you may prefer to use a wool/acrylic mix thread. The choice is yours, but the way the designer digitised the design needs to be part of your consideration.
Metallic threads have the reputation of being “difficult” in machine embroidery, probably somewhat unfairly these days, as there are excellent metallic threads available. We recommend any of the brands we sell. They will save you time and angst, avoiding a lot of trouble and can give a beautiful finish.

For most projects, we recommend using a specialist needle for digitised embroidery. These needles have a larger eye, a wider groove in the front, a deeper scarf on the reverse and a ballpoint. The rounder needle tip pushes the stitches aside rather than piercing and cutting threads as it penetrates the work.

Embroidery makes many, many more stitches in the fabric than sewing seams. This can cause the background fabric to bunch up and pucker, as it cannot support the heavy stitching.
A stabiliser under the fabric gives the additional support needed to hold the stitches and to prevent puckering whilst being worked, giving an even, flat and smooth result.
We have a link to OESD who have an article to help you select the correct stabiliser. Click Here. We stock the full range of OESD stabilisers. Click Here.

Bobbin threads are a specialist thread for embroidery stitch-outs. Often, but not exclusively, they are black or white. Just like all threads, they come in various fibres, weights and qualities. A finer bobbin thread will create less bulk on the back of your work, which makes more room for the top thread and the needle to position stitches accurately.
Bobbin thread needs to run at a tighter tension to pull the embroidery thread to the back of the work, creating a shorter length of thread on the back of the stitch. No bobbin thread should appear on the surface of the embroidery, and your machine will probably have a setting or a 'higher tension' bobbin case specifically for digitised embroidery.

Troubleshooting

Possibly the most commonly asked question of all!

Puckering of your fabric is not one single problem, please read though the other questions here, hopefully one will help with the issues you are having.

The thread is coming under tension or abrasion at some point of the stitch formation. Firstly change your needle for the correct size and type for the thread, fabric and design. Next, rethread your machine carefully with the presser foot up and the needle in the up position. All machines are the same basic principle; your machine manual will provide the details specific to your machine. We have a video here that may help. Click Here.
Be aware a new net can be too tight on the spool and catch or stop the thread from travelling freely, making the issue even more frustrating.
Having checked that there are no obstructions or reasons the thread is being held back and breakage still happens, a thread net may help. If this does not resolve your problems, try a new (recently purchased) thread. Some threads can deteriorate over time if exposed to sunlight, extreme temperature, or humidity.

Make sure that the thread path is unimpeded from the spool to the needle. When you program an automatic cut, enough thread is usually left in the needle to start the following sequence in the embroidery. Suppose something holds back the thread so that it cannot keep enough thread behind the needle, when the needle raises before the hoop moves to the new position. In that case, the shorter thread pulls out of the needle eye. This is especially noticeable with stacked spools on the vertical. They can not always quickly take enough thread from the spool.

We do not recommend increasing or decreasing a design size more than 10-15% larger or smaller.
Some machines can recalculate the number of stitches, but You will compromise the integrity of the design. Other machines will squeeze the stitches closer together or further apart, which may spoil the design altogether. Sometimes you can adjust the fabrics and the threads you choose to help compensate, but the 15% rule is worth sticking to.

Hooping is always an essential part of a successful stitch out. Click Here for a video on hooping.

If you have difficulty tightening the screw on the outer hoop enough, we do have a little gadget that is very helpful. Click Here

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