An embroidery machine can change a common department-store garment into a piece of clothing that no one else has. Monograms or designs that used to take hours by hand can now be stitched in minutes by embroidery machines. However, because of the high cost associated with these machines, choose a quality model that most closely fits your purpose.
Embroidery is traditionally known as stitch work that personalizes and beautifies clothing or other items. These machines embellish designs or monograms onto fabric and similar textiles. While most machines offer a variety of designs, embroidery machines are most useful because they reduce the time spent stitching the design.
Machines can be bought as combination sewing and embroidery machines or as embroidery machines only. One of the biggest differences between embroidery machines is whether or not they're computerized. Computerized machines have a digital screen; some even synchronize to a laptop computer and allow new designs to be downloaded from the Internet. Non-computerized machines usually provide a set amount of designs and fonts, each with a push button dedicated to that design or function.
An embroidery machine is an investment. They can cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars, and the prices of machines vary from store to store. As of May 2010, the Brother Innov-is Duetta 4500D, second highest ranked on Consumer Reports, sells for over $,5000, while the Singer Futura CE-150 Sewing and Embroidery Machine, which is one of the lowest rated machines among consumers, sells for about $400.
The cost of the machine is usually directly related to the purpose. If this is a hobby, a less expensive machine will work fine. Look for a machine that has a wide variety of fonts and designs, or a machine that will allow more to be added later. Most of these “hobby” machines can be purchased at department stores such as Wal-Mart or Target.
For commercial or business use, a larger, more expensive machine may be necessary. Commercial machines are designed for replication. These machines, such as the Brother Entrepreneur™ PR-650, must be purchased at especially authorized dealers.
Not all embroidery machines on the market are durable and high-quality. A low-quality machine can jam or tear fabric. Even worse, the machine may last a year or less depending on the frequency of use. Since these machines are pricey, buyers must research brands before purchasing an embroidery machine. According to Consumer Reports, Bernina, Brother and Singer are the highest rated brands for sewing and embroidery machines. Not only were these particular brands tested by Consumer Reports experts, but actual users have also listed their reasons of content with these brands from durability to ease of use.
Because of the cost, assembling and using the machine can be intimidating. Those with little experience are often afraid of breaking the machine, but most new models, especially digital models, include a DVD that demonstrates how to use the machine. The DVD includes videos and directions to ensure that owners can operate the machine and troubleshoot problems. Although the DVD won’t provide the newest trends and ideas, many resources exist to help in this area as well. Free patterns and ideas are available in Embroidery magazines such as Sew News. Some resources are free online, while others are available for purchase in craft stores.
Writing professionally since 2004, Elaine Morrow has published articles such as "Embroidery Machine Information" for eHow. She received her Bachelor of Arts in writing from the University of Central Arkansas.