The Basics for Successful Embroidery
The Basics for
Keys to Success
Proper Hooping Technique
Appropriate Design Selection
What is Stabilizer?
Every project needs a solid foundation to be successful.
Stabilizer provides support for the fabric being embroidered and
prevents it from puckering or stretching during the embroidery
Projects that have not been properly stabilized often have misaligned
outlines and the project does not hold up over time.
Protect the time invested in creating your embroidered projects by
providing a stable foundation from the very beginning.
There are three major types of stabilizer. They are classified by how
they are removed from the back after the garment is completed.
• Tear Away
• Wash Away
When can you use a tear-away?
If the fabric is firmly woven
If you want to get rid of most
of the excess stabilizer
• Designs that have a low stitch
count or to support decorative
• Keep in mind that as you
embroider on a tear away
product, it will become less
stabile as it is being perforated
through out the embroidery
LIGHT WEIGHT TEAR AWAY
• 8,000 or less stitches in design.
• Easier to pick out than medium weight
• Good for paper piecing.
• More than one layer can be used if desired
ULTRA CLEAN & TEAR
MEDIUM WERIGHT BLACK
• 8,000 to 25,000 or more stitches in design
• If you are unsure – Use two layers.
• Area behind stitches is very soft with Ultra
Clean & Tear.
• MediumWeight Tear Away is available only
FUSIBLE TEAR AWAY
• Supports about same number of stitches as
a medium weight stabilizer – but is lighter
• Temporarily (lightly) fuse to the back side of
the fabric and very easy to remove!
HEAVY WEIGHT TEAR AWAY
• 25,000 or more stitches in design.
• It has a very firm stiff texture, but it will
soften during washing and wearing.
• Easy to pick up with tweezers and remove.
When can you use a cut-away?
Cut-Aways are the most sturdy
of all types of stabilizers and
support the greatest number of
You should always use a cut
away on knits or stretch fabrics,
but they can also be used for
Stays in the design, to maintain
the integrity of the design with
washing and wearing
• Supports the most stitches (25,000 or more)
• Stitch out will look good
• Does not drape as well
• May see a line of demarcation
• Supports 8,000 to 12,000 or more stitches
• Flows with the body
• No visible line on the front
• Is too soft for some designs with lots of
satin stitches or long decorative stitches.
Polymesh comes in three colors: white, black, beige.
It would be considered a light weight cutaway and is
good for t-shirts, knits and lightweight woven fabrics
such as batiste.
Another great benefit of this stabilizer is that it does
not shadow through to the right side of the garment.
• Designs with lots of outlines or
• 8,000 to 12,000 or more stitches
Protects delicate skin
Covers bobbin stitches
Wash Away Stabilizer
• Best used for projects in
which it is important to
remove all stabilizer.
• Can be used for cutwork,
stand alone lace, and reverse
• Most common function of a
wash away toppings is to keep
the stitches from sinking to
• A MUST for napped fabrics
• Keeps stitches on top of fabric.
• Used as a topping ONLY.
• 8,000 to 12,000 or more stitches in design
• Can be used with tulle or organdy to create a lace
• Can do double duty as a topping
• 12,000 to 15,000 stitches
• A clear heavy water soluble stabilizer.
• It can be torn away from the stitching after the
design is completed
• Can be used as a backing when you want all traces
of stabilizer to be removed
• Easy to tear away excess. Any remaining bits will
be washed way with water
12,000 to 25,000 stitches
An opaque water soluble stabilizer.
It is a very stable product and is not
susceptible to premature perforation during
the sewing process.
• Can be used as a backing when you want all
traces of stabilizer to be removed
• Cut away majority of excess stabilizer. Any
remaining bits will be washed way with water
• 12,000 to 25,000 or more stitches in design
• Great for “hoopless” embroidery
• Perfect for lapels, collars, etc. where the back
will be seen
• Do NOT use when creating stand alone lace
Paper Backed Pressure Sensitive
Stabilizer that has a sticky surface
on one side with a protective paper
The stabilizer can be a cut away, a
tear away, or a wash away. You will
choose the type depending upon how
many stitches your design has, what
type of fabric you are using, and
how much of the stabilizer you want
to have removed on the back side
• A high quality polyester thread that is strong and will not
• You should always consider the project and the end use and
care when selecting the thread.
Facts about Isacord Polyester Thread
Isacord is color fast to detergent, chlorine and light.
Isacord has twice the strength of rayon thread.
Isacord has superior abrasion resistance both when dry and when wet, which keeps embroidery looking new.
Isacord is engineered from the finest raw materials. It has just the right amount of elasticity to embroider without
looping or puckering while virtually eliminating thread breaks.
Isacord thread colors are created using tiny increments of dye that are verified by computer to assure that the
dye lots are always true.
Isacord thread is never over-dyed. Over-dying means that a manufacturer will dye their “missed” colors to
black, which weakens the thread.
Isacord thread has more twists than other brands; it unreels smoothly and does not loop.
Isacord has a special finishing process that improves performance.
Isacord thread is specially certified and approved for embroidery by the apparel industry.
60wt polyester (Bottom Line)
Not necessary to match colors-white on light and black on dark. If
item may be seen on the back, you may want to make thread to the
• Not the same as your sewing needles. Embroidery needles
should not be used for regular sewing either.
• The eye in the needle is one size larger than it should be for
• Non organ embroidery needles should be changed every 1-2
hours of embroidery
• Standard Organ Embroidery Needles: Last about 8 hours
• Titanium Organ Embroidery Needles: These needles have a
high technology coating which extends the life up to five
times that of conventional needles. (approximately 40 hours)
• Great for longevity
• Good for heavy fabrics
• A MUST for sticky backed
Paper Backed Pressure
• Clean the needle
• In the world of embroidery, we work with the metric system.
Approximately 25 mm=1 inch
50 x 72
130 x 100 (scant 4” x generous 5”)
255 x 145
400 x 150
400 x 260 (15 ¾” x scant 10 ¼)
• Deco Hoops:
– Hoop A
– Hoop B
200 × 140mm (7.9” x 5.5”)
• Spray embroidery adhesive on stabilizer
• Use template for alignment
• Hoop all layers
Place the inner hoop with
template over the marked lines
Plastic template doesn’t fit?
If the arrows match, the
Loosen screw before hooping
Push inner hoop down ever so
Adjust center needle position
To Avoid Hoop Burn:
• Loosen Set Screws
• Don’t Force Fabric
A word on designs….
• Good Quality designs will result in good quality embroidery
• It is good practice to test stitch embroidery designs with the
same fabric, stabilizer and thread that will be used for the
• When evaluating the appropriateness of a design for the
fabric, a good rule of thumb is: if the stabilizer required for
the design selected will significantly change the hand of the
fabric, the design is too dense for the fabric.
Planning your time
• Round # of stitches up to the
next 1,000 and multiple by 2.
• 9 (# of 1000’s) x 2 = 18
How do I get more designs?
• How to get designs from a design usb stick and embroidery
• How to get designs from the internet
• How to get the designs from computer and cds
Rules of Good Embroidery
Keep the following points in mind when looking at embroidery designs, both your own and others:
Stitches are neat, smooth and even
Design looks good – shapes, colors, balance
Shapes are filled with correct fill and outline stitches
Stitches are angled to match shapes
Shapes are stitched correctly – no unwanted gaps
Details are clearly defined
Lettering is clear and easy to read.
The stitchout should also have the following characteristics:
• The design sews efficiently on the machine
• The fabric does not pucker around stitched areas
• The design is free of loose ends.
Good embroidery quality starts with good design. You then need a good quality machine to stitch
it out But even that is not enough if you do not use the correct fabric, threads, backings, tension,
and so on. Consult your machine manual for advice and get as much advice from other
embroiderers as you can.
Different embroidery machines understand different languages. Each has
its own control commands for the various machine functions.
Before you can stitch a design, it must be in a format which can be
interpreted by the machine. Stitch or ‘expanded’ designs are low-level
formats for direct use by embroidery machines. They contain only stitch
coordinates and machine functions. They are generally created ‘on the
fly’ when sending designs to machine. They can also be output to
embroidery disk or design card
The design extension that your machine reads is .exp
• When purchasing embroidery designs, you want to
purchase .ART files. By purchasing .ART files and
using Artlink or higher levels of Bernina software
you have full capabilities of editing the design.
• If .exp is the only format available, it will be fine,
just do not do any editing ±5% in scaling.
• To get the design converted to the format that your
machine will read (.exp) you open the .ART design
in software and then “write” it to the appropriate
More about .exp
• .exp is a stitch based file
• Stitch files do not contain object information such
as outlines or stitch types, but present the design
as a collection of ‘stitch blocks’. Stitch blocks are
created wherever colors change or trims are
detected in the design. Stitch designs are generally
not suited to modification because stitches are not
• You should not scale stitch designs by more than
±5% or some areas may be too thickly or too thinly
BERNINA embroidery software gives your creativity wings:
design, edit, and embroider motifs yourself, and discover a
whole new dimension to embroidery!
Art Link Embroidery Software
Allows you to:
• Open Designs
• Mirror Image
• Resize designs
• Design Transfer
• Print design templates
Printing Paper Templates
View > Artistic
Edit > Print Preview
Send design to
from the computer
to the machine
Select machine / method of transfer
Then click OK
If thread breaks immediately
• Double check threading path
If thread breaks immediately
Use an embroidery needle
Change the needle
Make sure it is properly inserted all the
way up in the machine
Use the proper size and type of needle for
the thread and fabric
Size is stamped on needle
Back the machine up after
Jumps on the back