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Embroidery Tips Machine and Tool Maintenance

Give Your Embroidery Machine a Spa Treatment

I have a guest blogger here this week! Denise Holguin, Designs in Machine Embroidery Managing Editor, shares her experience on machine maintenance. Denise wears many hats here at Designs, including a new one of ‘embroiderer.’ Believe it or not, she’s resisted the urge to dapple into embroidery for almost 9 years. But this summer, she got bit by the Stipple! bug. And as many of you know, treading into the hobby of machine embroidery brings more than its share of challenges. – Eileen

Give Your Embroidery Machine a Spa Treatment

We all like to pamper ourselves — it rejuvenates, refreshes and makes us feel like a new person. But how many of us take the time to pamper our embroidery machines?

Your embroidery machine is an investment—whether you use it for a hobby or a business. It’s a good decision to take the machine for a periodic servicing about once a year.

Here’s proof:
As you can imagine, we use our embroidery machines daily at Designs in Machine Embroidery.

As I was stitching a new project using Stipple, the machine stopped stitching and sounded the alarm—the needle got unthreaded. I noticed the brown thread I was using was shredded. I also noticed some lime green thread stuck in the thread guide.

Hmm… how am I going to fish that out? I stared, wide-eyed at the lime green thread for a few moments—I need the jaws of life to get it out. I tried a pipe cleaner. No. I tried some tape—I figured if I could get the thread to stick to the tape—I could pull it out. No.

Thirty minutes into this ordeal I decided the lime green thread wasn’t worth the battle. I decided to take it to the experts down the street— Mr. Sewing Machine. Walter Castro and Antonio Orozco are our friendly machine service technicians on Harry Hines, in Dallas, TX.

I walked in, told them a hideous blob of lime green thread was stuck in the thread guide. Can they fish it out? As Walter expertly removed the cover from the machine—our eyes zeroed in on the culprit—which he easily removed.

It turns out the thread wasn’t quite as big a blob as I thought and perhaps I was foolish for bringing the machine in.

Then Walter said… it’s a good thing you brought the machine in. Take a look. He started to fish out something far worse than the small blob of lime green thread. He started unrolling/unweaving multiple strands of black thread—that were caught in the inner workings of the machine. Oh my. I had no idea. I wasn’t even stitching with black thread today.

The moral of the story—don’t assume that what you can’t see won’t affect the outcome of your projects or your machine. While I was concerned about the lime green thread that I could see—there were worse issues inside the machine that I could not see. It was a very educational afternoon at Mr. Sewing Machine and one that I hope our readers will also learn from.

So, take your machine in to your local dealer for some TLC on a regular basis. It will keep your machine running in tip top shape, you’ll have better success as you stitch your projects and you’ll enjoy the embroidery experience all the more.


I think that’s very wise advice from a novice embroiderer. Denise may be a beginner but her passion for embroidery is evident in her commitment to Cook’s Children’s Hospital. Denise is completely responsible for Designs Stitch-a-Bear Charity Campaign. The total is growing – click here to see how many children will receive a new, embroidered bear. 

Remember the pool table that hubby had to have but now just collects dust? Or the garage full of fitness equipment that collects dust? Wouldn’t it be great to test the waters before diving in to a new passion? Entry level embroidery machines are the perfect starting point for the budding artist/fashionista or the newly married couple that needs to decorate their home on the cheap. Who do you know in your life that would do cartwheels to have a machine? What would they make?

Share your response with us and win a $25.00 Designs in Machine Embroidery coupon!

Last week we asked what your favorite Designs in Machine Embroidery project was.  The winner of the  Mini-Perfect Placement Towel Kit is…April!

April  I loved the article on personalizing Market Totes. I made one for me and one for my daughter’s teacher, which we stuffed with all sorts of goodies at the end of the year to make sure she was stocked for the year ahead. Loved how easy they were to embroider!

Congratulations, April!




  • Susan Spiers

    My sister-in-law would luv to have an embroidery machine. She is a beginning sewer & embroiderer, and feels she needs a little more experience sewing before investing in one. She would make & embroider a girly-girl dress for her one & only granddaughter!

  • Martie Dutro

    My darling 9 year old granddaughter would turn cartwheels with her own machine that’s for sure. I taught her to sew on my Janome Gem when she was 4 years old. That year she made pillow cases for her family for Christmas. I am sure that she would make many wonderful new projects, but right now I think it would be fleece pajamas.
    Her mother does not sew and therefore has no machine so the little GD sews at my house. I’d love to give her one but you know……….

  • Enis

    Oh my word! My sister would love an entry level embroidery machine. She is a very crafty and artsy person and I know that her creativity would just soar even higher with machine embroidery. I bought her very first sewing machine for her a few years ago, and she went straight to making herself a new top! Wow! What courage. I could only image what she would do with an embroidery machine.

  • Vicky Morrow

    I’d give it to my sister. She has so many grandchildren and great-grandchildren that she has a hard time coming up with the extra cash to purchase birthday and Christmas presents for all of them. With an embroidery machine she could make presents instead of buying them.

  • Shirley R

    Turning cartwheels at her age might be a little difficult, but I can just see my youngest daughter jumping up and down, clapping her hands and giving a great big “Yaaaaaay” when she finally made her last layaway payment on a Babylock embroidery machine. She lives over the mountain from me, and her email to me was ecstatic! She will be coming to spend a week with me to work with her machine and together we will embroider some things she has on her “to do wish list”, which will probably be some baby items and small Christmas projects. We are both so looking forward to that week!

  • Peggy

    My sister Linda would love an entry level embroidery machine. I gifted her “Designs in Machine Embroidery” magazine, she loves it and is very motivated. She is making capes for the residents at a local Nursing Home. Imagine how she would be able to embelish the capes with embroidery!!!

  • Gail Beam

    My granddaughter would turn cartwheels over having her own sewing/and or embroidery machine. She lives in Texas and we live in IL. Whenever we get together I have to bring my machine for her to sew on, as her mother does not sew. Last month we met at my youngest daughter’s house in St. Louis, and yes I had to bring my sewing machine. Hannah had a new sewing project for us to master! She is weaving her own purses out of yarn on a homemade loom and had 5 made up that she wanted to make linings for. Using a paper pattern we had drawn out to fit her purses, I showed her how to make a pullout lining/ insert. This way she could interchange the purse inserts if she so desired. She had fun shopping at the fabric stores picking out the fabric she wanted and then turning that fabric into the linings/inserts to fit. She even did a little decorative machine embroidery on the inserts for some added embellishments. My daughters were never interested in sewing, so it is exciting to see my granddaughter taking an interest and learning how to make sewing projects of her own.

  • Patty Ojeda

    My daughter, who lives in Orlando, FL, would love to win this machine! I live in Texas, and I have been quilting and embroiderying for over 12 years, and she just recently expressed an interest in learning the craft. She loves the work that embroiders and quilters do, and wants to learn. I would love it to pass on the craft. She has a 9 year old daughter that really wants to learn too! Wouldn’t that be great? Both of them learning how to quilt and embroider!

  • Rose

    Hi Eileen,

    I have a friend, Peggy, who would be jumping up and down if she had an embroidery machine. She just went to a weekend seminar, by Brother, which she loved on embroidery machines. I have one and am always showing her my “designs”….anyway, I consider them my designs, even though I get them from your web site, but that’s our secret.
    Thanks for being there for us….

  • Nancy Drobniak

    My younger sister, Sara would treasure an embroidery machine. We both sew and have sewn since junior high school. I won’t mention how many years ago that has been. Sara is much more the sewer than I am and when we are together, we embroider using my machine. She finds such joy in making unique items for her grand children. She is a blessing in my life and embroidery is one more thing that we share.

  • Janice Murry

    My daughter has twin thirteen year old girls. She would be so excited to get an embroidery machine because she is very creative! She would be embelishing jeans and T-shirts for sure! The girls love all of the beautifully embelished jeans they see in the stores. As a single mother, she is not able to buy that kind of jeans. If I know her, she would have her whole house decorated before I could even get started. Wow! What a blessing that would be for her!

  • Danyl

    My daughters would love to have a machine so that they could make anything they wanted. Right now they have to share mine and are only allowed to use it with my supervision.

  • Catherine

    It is true. You should take your machine in once a year. I have about 20 machines now and all have had a good spa day.. It is worth it in the longrun.

  • Carla Chapman

    My granddaughter, age 8 and grandson age 9, have sewn for about three years. Since they have no machine they sew on my mother’s old machine when they visit me and have learned to sew on buttons by hand several ways. They sat on my lap as I stitched the machine embroidery design they each selected and even chose their own colors. Wouldn’t it be great to provide them with their own starter machine?!

  • Shari Thorley

    Bravo for telling this story.
    We sometimes take something for granted, when we think we are being foolish, but this proves it is better to spend a few bucks and be sure. Better than ruining the machine.
    My grandkids, 3 boys and 1 girl LOVE to sew and embroider, when they are with me. I started them at 3 years old. I stand over them and TELL them what to do next, but let them sew, or embroider themselves.
    When people comment on their project, they are ecstatic!!!!!!!!
    Something they will always remember, and with their own machine, would continue to do, when I am not there. I live 9 hours away.

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  • Lynnet Hardwick

    One of the mom’s I watch kids for would love to have an embroidery machine to create special and fun outfits for her daughter and nephew as well.

  • Irma Clements

    371 Adelaide park rd
    I love all your articles, each week I can’t wait for them to arrive.Would you be able to tell me if there is a product that helps with removing faulty embroidery stiching,I am getting on in years and find it hard. Thanks

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