Hoop Size


Ok so ive been watching youtube videos and i came across some that teach you how to make handmade totes, wallets, and coin purses. Im really starting to enjoy it. My husband is in the military and selling ACU bags is a huge hit here on base… I kinda wanna start doing that. Ive never used a sewing machine in my life non the less an embroider so my question is… What would be best for me? I dont want a professional machine since ive never used one and i dont even know if my "business" will even become successful, i just need if possible a machine that will do both sew and embroided because the ACU bags come with last names and would need to embroid that on them. Any suggestions would help! Thanks

Why not start with the Brother SE400. It is a combo, so if one craft does not suit you the other might. A combo can be used as a sewing machine or as an embroidery machine.

Brother is an excellant brand and the leader in home embroidery machines. This model sells for under $400. A professional model will cost several thousands.

Find out if someone will help you learn to sew. Embroidery is a little easier as you hoop the item and then the machine does it's thing.

Embroidery Library has several machine embroidery tutorials to help you learn.

Most embroidery machines will have a few designs and fonts built-in, but are usually not what you will want. But good for practice and learning. There are many Internet sources for downloads and some are free. You have to be sure the design will fit within the hoop size of the EM and in the correct format for the EM. Brother is .pes format.

You will need a basic machine embroidery software program for at least viewing your design files. Embird is the least expensive.

Do not download designs from foreign countries are they are forgeries of licensed designs and against the law in the US.

Follow the manual that comes with the machine very closely. Manual in hand in front of the machine with thread and fabric. Read and apply and you will soon have the basics mastered.

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I have been wanting to purchase my own monogramming (Embroidery) machine. I do not sew or use sewing machines, but I would love to own my own embroidery machine to make items for myself o for gifts. I do not plan on making items to sell or anything….just personal use (bags, bath towels, t-shirts, etc….). Does anyone know a good machine to recommend to me? (I'm pretty sure I will have to buy a sewing/embroidery machine). Thanks!!!! Also, is embroidery machines hard to use (for someone that doens't really have any experience with sewing machines).

Embroidery machines are easy to use. Start with small, simple projects to help you learn the machine and the different techniques.

This is long due to the explaination regarding how to download designs from the Internet.

The sewing/embroidery combos are usually more expensive. However, the Brother se400 sold at Walmart is a combo and a bargain at less than $500.

There will be several designs and fonts for monogramming built into the embroidery machine.

This model has USB connectivity, which means you do not have to purchase additional software to send downloads from the Internet to the machine for embroidering. And you will want to download as there are thousands of free downloads, plus many more for sale.

There is a cable that comes with the machine that you connect to the machine and your PC – all embroidery software programs are Windows supported, so Mac users have an added expense when using these programs.

To utilize the downloads, you create a folder on the hard drive of your PC. Give it a name you can easily find. Then as you find designs you want to down load (be sure they are .pes and within the hoop size of the embroidery machine) save them to the folder.

Many, if not all downloads are zipped files. You will have to unzip or extract before the embroidery machine can read the file. Mouse over the zipped file and a mini screen will come up. Select unzip or extract all. This will provide the file you need to keep. The zipped file can be deleted.

To send to the embroidery machine, hook-up the cable. A new drive letter will appear. Select the designs from the folder on the hard drive and send to the new drive letter. This will then allow you to access the designs from the embroidery machine.

Once the transfer to the embroidery machine has been made, the embroidery machine and PC no longer need to be connected.

Some of this will be addressed in the manual for the machine. There are also several forums you can join (free) and ask questions. http://www.sewforum.com is an excellant one.

A great one for tips and techniques (free videos and print-outs) is Embroidery Library. Take special note of the type of stabilizer and hooping techniques for the different types of fabrics that are to be embroidered. http://www.emblibrary.com/EL/elprojects/holder.aspx?page=techniques

PS: All embroidery machines have formats and pes is used by Brother and Babylock. The other brands of embroidery machines have different formats.

All formats, except Bernina's art format can be converted to that of the embroidery machine, meaning if you have an art formatted design, it will only work on a Bernina embroidery machine that has the art format – confusing, but that's Bernina!

Pulse Ambassador is a free software program that I have used for conversion of machine embroidery formats. Here is a tutorial for this software http://www.annthegran.com/cs/forums/t/4745.aspx

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I would say that I am an advanced sewer, however I have never done any embroidery on a sewing machine. I just got laid off this past June from my marketing job and have enjoyed just bouncing around not doing anything, however, I am now looking for a new creative job, something I could do with the skills I have an sell –perhaps on line, and the personalization of products seems really interesting. Your opinion would be gratefully received. TKS

Brother or Babylock are the most user friendly brands.

I have both and would buy none other.

Bernina for example makes a wonderful product, but they are very expensive and proprietary when it comes to software and accessories.

The other brands – I read too many problems – may be the machine and it may be the operator.

Stand alone models are less expensive than the combos.

Hoop size indicates how large a design you can stitch out without the aid of editing software. You want nothing smaller than 5 x7.

Connectivity. There will be designs and fonts already built into the embroidery machine. However, there are thousand on the Internet to download – some are free and some you will have to purchase.

To get those downloads to the embroidery machine you need an embroidery machine with USB ports for direct connect to the PC or to use a flash drive.

Supplies – medium weight cut away and medium weight tear away stabilizer.

Thread – rayon or polyester machine embroidery thread and machine embroidery bobbin thread.

Embroidery machine needles – a small supply comes with the machines.

You can get started for around $1,000. The models with the smaller hoop that uses a memory card is less money and with supplies about $700.

There is a series of books by Jeannine Twigg that are helpful when learning to use the embroidery machine. I started with this one – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0873419995/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_2?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=087349847X&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=13BBF9W6FA3WQB253K4T

Supplies, you can purchase when on sale.

Allbrands, Allstitch & ShoppersRule are a few of many, many sites that sell machine embroidery supplies.




Now that you are "loaded" with info – hit the sewing machine stores and let them show you what they have to offer.

Buy the machine you like best from the dealer you like best.

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The Brother 400SE at Walmart is a good bargain. You get a quality name brand machine that you can use as a sewing machine or an embroidery machine (EM).

There are designs and fonts for names and letters built into the EM.

You can select letter types, size and enter on the screen.

As long as the size is within the size of the hoop that comes with the EM, no additional software will be needed.

The hoop that come with the EM indicates the largest area that the EM is designed for.

In addition, this model has USB connectivity, which means you can connect to your PC and send designs that you have downloaded to your PC to the EM.

Create a folder on the hard drive of the PC and name it Emb Downloads.

Then search the Internet for free downloads and save them to the Emb Downloads folder.

Make sure they are .pes format and sized within the hoop size of the EM.

Then as you want to use one of the downloads, connect the cable that comes with the EM to the PC.

A new drive letter will appear on the screen of the PC.

You send the design from the folder to new drive letter and then to the EM.

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Trying to decide which machine to purchase as my beginner embroidery machine. Don't want to spend too much under $500 would be great. Not sure that I will like doing it so looking for a lesser model. Thanks for your time and expertise!!!

Brother is the leader in home embroidery machines. They are easy to use, software friendly and most designs that are available on the Internet (best and least expensive way to obtain machine embroidery designs) are in pes format, which is the one used by Brother.

For your price range, you may be limiting your embroidery area to 4 x 4, which many of us started with. And many designs come within this hoop size.

The price may also limited you to using memory cards for designs which are not built into the machine. Most of us started with a reader/writer unit and rewirttable memory card for machine embroidery – the unit has to be compatible with the brand and format.

You can purchase a unit – PED Basic, a Brother product with a rewitable memory card for around $119. See Source.

To use designs from the Internet, you need to have a PC. On the hard drive, create a folder and name it Emb Downloads. Choose the design you want from the many sites on the Internet and save to the folder. The design most likely will be zipped. Mouse over and choose extract or open. A new file will appear and this is what you will send to the memory card. The zipped file can be deleted.

Save the folder to a USB flash drive (if your PC has a USB port) or to a CD as backup – do this everytime you add or change a design file in the Emb Download folder.

Open the manual and lay it next to the embroidery machine. Read through and apply each feature of the machine.

Some basic supplies you will need are – stabilizer (tear away, cut away and water soluable); machine embroidery bobbin thread; machine embroidery thread – polyester will withstand chlorine bleach, but rayon is more readily available. Start with a few basic colors.

Add to your supply list as you find the items on sale.

Embroidery Library has great tutorials and tips – http://www.emblibrary.com/EL/elprojects/holder.aspx?page=techniques

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jef is the format you need.

If you find a design you like, but does not come in .jef format, there is a free conversion program that you can download and use. Pulse Ambassador is the software.

Designs that you download from the Internet will be zipped and you have to unzip or extract before they can be used. Windows is the support system for machine embroidery software and neither Windows, nor Mac can read a zipped file.

Another caveat, is the hoop size which normally indicates the limitation of the design that can be embroidered.

Create a folder on your hard drive for the downloads. As you find designs that you like, save to the folder, then unzip and use the new file.


I want to use some of Clotilde's embroidery patterns, and Jo-Anns is having a decent sale on Singer. But what about Brother? Help?

I prefer Brother or Babylock and I would suggest buying from a dealer if you have never used a sewing machine – the embroidery machine has some similarities.

If you do not buy from a sewing machine dealer, try the Singer – it should connect via cable to your PC and this is where you will store designs and then send to the embroidery machine.

You choose designs by the format of the embroidery machine and the the hoop size. Watch this when downloading.

An embroidery machine that has a maximum embroidery area of 4 x 4 will not stitch a design that is larger.

The least expensive method to obtain designs is downloading from the Internet to the computer, then send to the embroidery machine as you want to stitch out a design.

Methods for sending designs to an embroidery machine:

Memory card only (you will need a reader box and card compatible with the brand/model of the machine.
Memory card and USB cable (connects directly to the PC)
Memory card, USB cable and USB flash drive.

The more options, the more expensive the embroidery machine.

Clotilde does not sell machine embroidery designs.

Each of the two books listed in her catalog has a CD with free designs, which you upload to your PC. You cannot just stick these CDs into an embroidery machine and start stitching.

You have to have a method (reader box/card, cable or flash drive) of getting the designs from the PC to the embroidery machine.

The designs at Nancy's Notions are her choices, but they are Amazing Designs products.


There are many Internet sites that have free designs you can download to your PC.

Once you get an embroidery machine, you may find this site helpful – http://www.annaboveembroidery.com/embroidery-tips.html


Preferably pes. Thanks a lot.

There are many listed on the Internet and they all come in pes. http://search.aol.com/aol/search?invocationType=tb50-ie-aol-newtab-en-us&query=free+machine+embroidery+designs

Make sure that you download is within the hoop size your machine accepts.

If you should find a design that you really love, but is not pes, there is a free software download that you can use to convert the file to pes. Pulse Ambassador is the software. How to use PA – http://www.annthegran.com/cs/forums/p/4745/17969.aspx

The only exception would be Bernina's .art format which you may not be able converted.

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