This post is also available in: French
The first time I saw an embroidery machine in action I just could not believe it. It was at a needlework fair, I was amazed to see that such a machine was available for non-professionals. Then, I had the opportunity to use such a machine at my dressmaking course and I really enjoyed it! A few years later, at last, I was offered an embroidery machine! I was really happy, but also frustrated not to be able to embroider my own designs. So I started to learn how to transform sketches into digital patterns.
Since then I’ve been exploring all the creative ways to use the embroidery machine. But I feel like I’m only at the beginning of it!
On this blog I’d like to share with you my passion for this craft. For my first post, I give you the 10 reasons why I love digital embroidery so much.
1. Digital Embroidery Is Faster Than Manual Embroidery
The first reason is that – quite obviously – machine embroidery is faster than manual embroidery. Manual embroidery is a relaxing activity and many people enjoy it. But if you lack time to do all you want or have to do, machine embroidery is a good alternative.
As a computer engineer, I love to work for reusable results. I like to create a design, test it, tweak it and re-test it until it stitches perfectly. On the other hand, designing a digital pattern can take some time before you can really embroider it.
2. Designing Machine Embroidery Is A Complete Activity
Another reason why I enjoy designing digital embroidery, is that it combines many crafts and hobbies. Indeed, to create machine embroidery designs you have to draw, mix colors, vectorize and digitize your drawings. It helps you use and improve your creativity and manual skills.
3. It’s Art You Can Touch
I see embroidery as art you can touch and wear. I like when people see a piece of embroidery and want to touch it, to know how the texture feels. When they see an embellishment on a piece of cloth or an accessory, they are attracted by the color, the softness or the shiny appearance. I assume they want to understand what it is and how it was made. For me it’s a way to connect with people.
4. Simplify And Anticipate
Designing machine embroidery patterns forces me to simplify my drawing. I used to love to draw – as almost everyone – when I was a child. But I didn’t go on and it’s only when I turned 30 that I decided to learn how to draw. Or at least to practice drawing. Now I enjoy simplifying my designs. It makes me think about what is essential in a design to understand what it represents.
I need to anticipate how the pattern will be stitched. So, I need to lower the number of colors used in a creation. It’s necessary to arrange the design parts in order to minimize thread trims and changes.
These reflections are required for a smooth and quick machine embroidery.
Embroidery has always been a way to customize textile items.
I find it’s a great way to embellish simple outfits and accessories. With a small design you can personalize a standard t-shirt or jacket that you bought, received or sewed yourself. You can embroider directly on the outfit or create a patch, so you can wear your favorite embroidery everyday. I see customization as a way to replace over-consumption by creativity.
6. Upcycling And Mending
Nowadays we know that fashion industry is one of the biggest polluter industries. This is why I try to upcycle my clothes and textile goods as much as possible. Machine embroidery is a great way to re-purpose our old fabrics. For example, you can transform an old bed sheet into a nice gift pouch. And you can add an embroidery especially chosen for the person you offer it to.
I love the idea of recycling and upcycling. It reminds me of the things I sewed and customized when I was a child. I would always make them with repurposed cloth. At that time I didn’t even know fabric shops existed ! My husband certainly would like I never discovered it!
7. Continuing And Renewing A Very Long Tradition
With embroidery I have the impression to continue a very long tradition of textile embellishment. Did you know that embroidered textile from 3500 BC has been found ?
There are embroidery traditions everywhere in the world. I feel connected to this universal art. I enjoy that with current technologies embroidery models can be sent and stitched all around the world.
8. Machine Embroidery Combines Art And Technology
Machine embroidery is an interesting way to combine art and technology. At each period in History, art has been influenced by technology, embroidery is no exception.
Digitizing a design to transform it into an embroidery pattern is a great way to learn different technologies. It’s an opportunity to learn how to create vector graphics. It is also an interesting way to learn how to program and use a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine.
9. So Many Creative Possibilities
I love the diversity of techniques that we can implement with machine embroidery. From a very simple small redwork design, to a complex In The Hoop (ITH) project. You can also embroider free standing lace (FSL), applique (embroider a piece of cloth on a larger textile item), reverse applique, quilting, monograms, cutwork…
Once you begin to learn what is doable your creative ideas multiply!
10. Child Memories
From a personal perspective, embroidery is connected to childhood. I remember when my teacher transformed simple drawings from the pupils into embroidered wall pocket organizers. My parents hanged the pocket organizer with my embroidered drawings in the kitchen for a long time. I was happy to see one of my sketches added to a useful object.
Does embroidery bring back some memories to you ?
These were some thoughts I wanted to share about machine embroidery. And you, what do you like about this art/craft ?
To see digital embroidery patterns I designed, have a look at Filafaire Etsy Shop.