Recently, a student asked me what features I enjoy most on an embroidery machine. She kinda stumped me because frankly, I’ve gotten pretty spoiled when it comes to machine features. I mean, I have two machines that have cameras viewing the needle! Which is a good thing because my eyes are aging faster than the rest of me – or so I think cause I can’t really see the rest of the damage all that well!
Anyway, back to machine features. I think the appropriate question should have been, ‘What’s my favorite feature on a specific machine?” That I could have answered easily because every machine has features that make it special, that simplify the embroidery process for the user.
There are some basic features that a machine would have to have for me to consider purchasing it.
- 360 degree rotation. I still struggle hooping my fabric square to the hoop. If the machine can rotate in one degree increments, then I can make sure my design will stitch as planned. I use templates and the Angle Finder to determine the rotation.
- Trace Feature. When I’m connecting embroidery designs or trying to fit a design in a defined space, the trace feature lets me see the outer dimension of the design. A Trace Feature that lets you select one point on the perimeter of the design is a great time-saver. But I can live with the auto-trace too.
- Thread cutter. I’m so used to thread cutters now that I run into trouble when I’m on a machine that doesn’t cut. The foot might get snap in a thread jump because I neglected to trim the thread. And it’s comical to watch me yank the fabric out of the hoop with trails of thread flowing off the bobbin and needle.
- 130 x 180 sewing field. I know, I know, many of you can not afford a machine that has a 130 x 180 sewing field. But once you make that jump, you can’t believe you ever restricted yourself to a 100 x 100 hoop.
And there are more – the machine manufacturers offer us many luxurious features such as needle cams, stadium lighting, humongous sewing fields, baste function, on-screen editing, auto-applique – the list goes on and on.
When I teach hand-on embroidery classes, I love showing the features on the machine. Many times, students are amazed at what their machine can do – even after owning it for a few years. I’ll be doing that next weekend in Aurora, CO at Above and Beyond Sewing. I think there’s still space if you’d like to join my Stitching Sister, Marie Zinno and I. Click here for more information.
Even if you can’t join us in Colorado, I’d love to know what features you cherish on your machine. Leave your comment here and get a chance to win a free roll of soft tear-away stabilizer. Soft tear-away is perfect for woven fabrics that require a medium-weight stabilizer. Its soft hand does not change the drape of most fabrics. It’s my preferred stabilizer for towels and napkins. But I’m sure you’ll find many uses for soft tear-away. Tell me what one feature (okay, or two) you can’t live without!
The winner of our Stipple! giveaway from last week is….
I have been playing with my stippling skills. I made my own stipple block in the Viking 4D Pro and I also have been using my Fab-U-motion that I finally took out of the box (after 1 year). I was afraid to try it but I am having so much fun with it now.