…”but I have no desire to do machine embroidery…”

by Ramona on January 10, 2014

I’ve started working on an extensive series on machine embroidery for our ASG online video series. I recently posted a question on Facebook asking what folks would like to know, that they don’t know, about machine embroidery. One comment from a non-machine embroiderer was wonderful in that it reminded me that not everyone wants to do machine embroidery.

Though over 63% of our American Sewing Guild members do indeed have machines capable of machine embroidery, while working on the machine embroidery series, I don’t want to leave out those who don’t do it. So, I really began to think about this subject and realized something I’ve always done, but perhaps others have not given thought to.

Machine embroidery has given way to an incredibly extensive market of products. When I began almost 15 years ago now, I went to our local Bernina store (the only ones in the area) to see what all the hype was about. I was working at a uniform store and they wanted me to do names on shirts for the police officers, firefighters, some gas company employees, and the like. The manager asked that I investigate what the machines could do. One of the first questions I asked was about the warranty and was told that kind of production through a home machine would void the warranty. Long story short, that forced me to look at commercial embroidery machines, attend conferences, and learn a new craft all those years ago with new software education as well.

What does this have to do with those who do not have the capability–yet–or those who never wish to have machine embroidery with their machine? A LOT! All those wonderful products are NOT ONLY for machine embroiderers! All the beautiful decorative stitches on the machine can–and in many cases should–be used with the decorative threads and embroidery aids. For instance, have you ever used a lucious rayon embroidery thread as the topstitching thread on a luxurious wool jacket. It’s breathtaking!

Back in the early ’80’s I would use decorative threads with plain stock cards and do decorative stitching on the notes I would write to my friends (yes, long before email!) My friends who did not sew did not appreciate it, and my friends who did sew wanted to know what machine created such wonderful decorative work! Had I the foresight, I would have written a book, began scrapbooking using this idea…ah…but I digress.

Whether you have a machine you love with few or many decorative stitches, look at the embroidery section of your dealership and see what threads may be used with your machine. If you are a dealer or hold classes, think about incorporating embroidery products into your instruction.



Look at the aids that machine embroiderers use and see if they would be of benefit in your decorative stitching or applique work.

aids 2 aids


And take time to look at all the gift ideas for machine embroiderers! There are so many things for men, women, and children that when decorated, are appreciated gifts.

to emb


While doing the machine embroidery series, I’ll also be doing the compliment video for optional information for those who don’t desire to do machine embroidery. We won’t leave you out because what you can do is equally as wonderful and many times requires much more talent than I will ever possess!!! Some things will overlap like the information on threads, needles, products, and aids; other videos will be specific to each decorative type of stitch work.

Please, if you have an idea of what you’d like to learn, email me ramona@asg.org.

Sew ’til next time, enjoy the journey of sewing….



Linda Shumway January 10, 2014 at 9:31 pm

OK, I’m one of those non-machine embroidery owners, but as you know I love to quilt, so I will be sure to read ALL of your blogs!!!! Sounds like fun.

Martha Montgomery January 11, 2014 at 9:53 am

I was resistant to machine embroidery for a long time. I just couldn’t get into the look.
Now I have two embroidery machines, one that is a sewing machine with an embroidery module, and one that is a dedicated embroidery machine. As the world of machine embroidery opens up to me, I enjoy (and appreciate) it more and more. Looking forward to this series!

Carolyn Angelopoulos January 12, 2014 at 2:57 am

I presented a program to my neighborhood group, Sew Chicago, on Decorative Stitches and the use of embroidery thread for decorative work. I do have a sewing/emb combo machine but most of our NG do not. The majority are garment sewers and loved the options I presented for using decorative stitches in garments. Here’s a link to our blog post about the program: http://sewchicago.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/decorative-stitches-ribbons-trims-and-beautiful-buttons/

Linda lee January 19, 2014 at 4:05 pm

As the facilitator of our neighborhood embroidery group – me (we) appreciate anything that is our there on machine embroidery. I personally thank you and please keep anything you have to share coming.
Linda Lee

Michael Paquette-Delcollo January 27, 2014 at 2:09 am

Count me in if you are going to have Embroidery classes or workshops via the web. There is so much to learn and do. I appreciate all information available.


Ramona January 27, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Michael, I am currently working on a series to be released later this spring in the members only area of the ASG.org website. This will be exclusive to ASG members! I am so passionate about machine embroidery, so through the series I’ll be shortening the learning curve from my extensive experience in both the commercai/retail world of embroidery as well as having had countless folks in home machine embroidery classes throughout the years. Please watch for future posts on our Facebook page, and an email to come later this spring after everything is on the web. ~Ramona

Ramona January 27, 2014 at 3:31 pm

I’m so pleased to hear you have a specialty group of embroiderers! There are just so many techniques to be done in embroidery from stitching designs on quilting cotton to stitching on flashing found in the hardware store! In the upcoming embroidery series, to be released later this spring, I’ll be giving tips and tricks on metallic threads, proper hooping techniques, stabilizers, needles, and specialty embroidery with mylar, toilet paper, free standing designs and wood!!! I hope this entices you and will encourage you to try some new things with the guidance of the videos. Perhaps some time you’d like to have me come to your chapter and do an event on specialty machine embroidery. If you would, please contact me. ~Ramona

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