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What else can I do with an embroidery machine other than embroider clothes?

What else can I do with an embroidery machine other than embroider clothes?

"An embroidery machine is an investment, so what else can I use an embroidery only machine for" is something I get asked a lot

I have to admit that once my embroidery machine comes out, I never want to put it away, I find it addictive and before I know it I have been sat at it all day long.

 These are a few of the items I make on my Brother embroidery machine.




So I hope that by sharing some of the things I use it for will make you realise that they are a really good investment. There are so many ways to use it and even when you think you have tried everything you could purchase the software needed to make your own designs!





The first most obvious thing about them is that they do embroidery  There are plenty of designs built into your machine already so there is no need to purchase any more at first. This design is built into my machine and I embroidered it onto velvet with a metallic silver thread


There are a few online sites which offer free embroidery downloads, including Brother, so you need never be stuck for designs. Just ask me if you want more details.




Embroidery collections, already on a USB stick are available to purchase from Jaycotts Brother embroidery collections the collection shown above is one of many so do take a look.


The machine has a USB port making it simple to download and use the design you want.





You may be surprised to learn that it is easy to make free - standing lace, like these bookmarks on your embroidery machine.




But free standing lace has a lot of other applications too - like this motif which is one of a set made to embellish a garment.



Jaycotts have  a USB with plenty of lace designs similar to these

ready to be used, but you may find some online. Don't worry at this stage about how to input designs into your machine. Tuition is offered by Brother if you would like it. Meanwhile there are enough designs already pre-set to get you started.


Thelace collection, on USB Lace- Brother embroidery designs




I like to make gifts with my machine and the sunglasses applique which I used to make these sunglasses cases is already con my machine, so it was quick to access.






The napkins etc are also made from designs already downloaded onto my machine. Notice that I combined lettering with a picture which is extremely easy to do.






Another option, which I will discuss in more detail later in this post are "in the hoop" machine embroidery designs which I absolutely love making.This is a cushion which I keep in my bedroom.







Appliqué is a brilliant way to embellish just about anything, these again are built into my machine and wouldn't they look fabulous on children's garments, hand made cards, bags and so much more.

There are also frames and designs like the one on my velvet cushion above which can be used to make quilting blocks





This is a kitchen set which I made for myself from an "In the hoop" design  from Jaycotts by a company named  Sweet Pea Australia. This one is called Cutest Cupcakes You will find a blog post about these items and about Sweet pea on Jaycotts blog Sweet Pea blog post on Jaycotts blog




There are more designs too which are available from Jaycotts More Sweet pea In the Hoop designs

I have used both of these and recommend them . The top one is quilt blocks,the lower is a delightful bag with farm animals.





So, what basic equipment Do we need to get started?

The first thing is a stabiliser. This goes in the hoop along with your fabric (usually) and helps to keep the fabric taught whilst the machine does its work.

If you are just starting then Gunold is a good choice.  There are various types and widths to choose from. If in doubt give Jaycotts a call and they will help you Gunold stabiliser There are other types of stabilisers but this is a good one for normal purposes.


You need a good supply of embroidery needles. Your needle is working very hard and it will need to be changed very frequently, more than you would change your sewing machine needle in fact  Embroidery Needles


You will need to thread plenty of bobbins before you start embroidering as they run out quickly and nothing is more annoying than having to stop what you were doing just to wind bobbin thread. Ask Jaycotts for the correct bobbin for your machine if in doubt. You can also purchase pre-wound bobbins which I think a fabulous idea!  Brother Pre- wound bobbins


If you just need bobbin thread then this is the item you need.Various Bobbin Thread



If you are doing appliqué then these Duck Billed scissors are a great addition to your sewing equipment. They enable the top fabric to be trimmed back without damaging the fabric underneath. Totally invaluable I find.Duck billed applique scissors





A nice to have piece of equipment is this easy to use Brother multi purpose screwdriver it is useful for easily changing needles and everything else you use a machine screwdriver for but in addition it is fabulous for tightening the hoop screw easily. This is another product which I highly recommend. It replaces all your other screwdrivers



You are going to need embroidery thread and there are some beautiful ones to choose from.

I think that to start  with a box of assorted colours Embroidery Thread is a good option then you can add to it as needed with .variegated threads, metallic threads and much more. I think that my most favourite things in the world are rainbow coloured threads and fabrics.

A "nice to have" is a rotary cutter and cutting mat.Rotary cutters and accessories Once you have these two you can add various other items such as rulers as and when you need them.

You need batting if you are quilting or making in the hoop designs. I chose this one which has thermal properties as I am making table wear.

Compressed fleece


You will of course need fabric. And quilting fabric is best. If you are able to pop into Jaycotts then they sell quilting fabrics in-store. Quilting cottons normally come in collections with various designs which are designed to look good together. This type of cotton is remarkably easy to sew and is great for clothing too. It is always good to have a decent supply of plain and/or subtly printed colours too and I advise you to snap any up if you see them, for some reason plain quilting Fabrics are very hard to find.



I have loaded my sweet pea download into my machine, don't worry because each design comes with step by step instructions. My machine shows the design at the edit stage where I can make adjustments as necessary.



I am making a table runner and I need to work five panels on the embroidery machine and sew them together on my normal sewing machine. A lot of designs are worked totally in the embroidery machine




I am arranging my panels before stitching them together and adding a backing




The backing on this design folds over to form a binding , the instructions go into great detail and are easy to follow.



This is another design I am making, which is a set of table mats. The machine display shows exactly how long each stage needs,and the colour of thread needed - although you are free to choose your own colours.

If all this looks complicated it isn't.Within minutes of my machine being delivered I was embroidering a design, plus you will get help in-store any time.

If you can visit Jaycotts why not go and try a few out?




These two mug mats were made totally in the hoop ,they took an hour each to make and only needed a tiny bit of hand sewing to close the gap after turning right side out . These ,and other designs, make great gifts.


I hope that this has given you some fresh ideas about what an embroidery machine can be used for. They do incredibly beautiful embroidery it's true but they are capable of so much more, from making a quilt to children's toys and tote bags, anything is possible.

I am planning spring cushions and table items at the moment and I am enjoying sourcing fabrics. By the way, packs of Fat Quarters are perfect for applique.


If at all possible it is well worth a visit to Jaycotts to try a few machines and to discuss options To view the range , follow this link Embroidery Machine


Thank you for reading my post. I hope that my enthusiasm for my embroidery machine is obvious! 




Best wishes


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