If you’ve seen all of the cute monogrammed and appliquéd items floating around out there and keep saying to yourself “I need one of those machines- I could make this stuff,” then you’re not alone! And guess what? You very easily could make all that cute stuff you see. I have an embroidery machine myself and let me tell you, they’re not hard to use at all. However, the question is: should you?
I write this only because I have had countless friends and acquaintances message me about my embroidery machine, asking about how difficult is it to use, what you need to get started, the total cost involved, etc. I hate to see someone make the purchase along with the necessary accessories, only to use it a few times and then let the machine sit there or sell it for a fraction of what they paid. I mean, we’ve all done that with something, right? “Honey, I need this- I’m going to use it ALL the time,” said every woman in America. Yes, I’m definitely guilty of it too :/ haha.
So today I thought I’d talk a little bit about my embroidery machine and what you need to purchase along with it in case you, yourself, are interested in getting one. Oh, and if you ever want to see what I’m working on monogram-wise, you can check out my Facebook page, Sassy Momma Monograms.
I have a Brother PE-770 (which I bought from Amazon) and it’s an embroidery machine ONLY. Some machines do both sewing and embroidery but at the low end, your hoop sizes are limited if you go this route. Not to mention, I already had a sewing machine and this was the most cost effective embroidery machine that would do both a 4×4 and a 5×7 hoop. That’s important because you need the larger (5×7) hoop to do appliques and larger designs. The 4×4 just won’t cut it. And yes, you’ll find other Brother machines for half the cost, but they only use a 4×4 hoop and you’ll quickly realize you need something larger. So do yourself a favor and get a machine that does both sizes from the get-go.
As for other things you’ll need:
- A 4×4 hoop as your machine only comes with the 5×7. I bought this exact set and I love it!
- Embroidery thread (not regular sewing thread, there’s a difference). I prefer the Isacord brand and once you find which colors you use most often go ahead and buy the larger 5000m spools as they’re much better deals than the small ones. Also, a color chart is super helpful if you plan on ordering your thread online.
- I bought a package of pre- wound bobbins because I didn’t want to wind my own every time they ran out, especially when you’re in the midst of a project. Just pop a new one in and you’re good to go!
- You’ll also need stabilizer. There are so many kinds to choose from depending on what you’re embroidering but I generally use a medium weight cutaway in either precut (for 4×4 monograms) or from a regular roll (which I’ll cut to size) as well as sticky stabilizer.
- On occasion you’ll need something called a “topper”. One common brand is Sulky but I buy the Pellon brand from the fabric section of Joann. This goes on top of heavy embroidery items to keep the thread from sinking in. I use it on towels, anything fleece, and knit fabrics to keep the thread looking neat.
- Some other items- basting spray, so the stabilizer will stick to the item you’re embroidering
- Seam ripper
- Curved embroidery scissors– these Gingher 4 inch scissors are my fav
- Dual purpose marking pen
- And of course blanks to monogram on! You can find them all over the place so always keep your eye out!
- Finally, you’ll also need an embroidery program- I bought Sew What Pro (there’s a 30 day trial version) so you can digitize all of your designs on the computer, save it to a jump drive then plug it into your machine. You also have to buy all of the pretty designs- appliques and fonts (these can run anywhere from $.90 to $20+ just depending on what you’re buying) plus all of the fabric you’ll need.
In all, I spent close to $1,000. Consider how much you will use the machine and what you intend to use it for. If you want to monogram just a few things for your kids, then I’d say it’s probably worth it to just pay someone to monogram whatever items you had in mind. BUT, if you plan on monogramming your things, plus using your machine to make gifts, and want to sell a few things on the side then this is a great investment. My goal was to sell enough to pay for the initial cost (which I did) so now, anything I make is extra and I have an embroidery machine out of it. Mostly though, I use my machine to make gifts for others (burp cloths, bibs, and other items) as well as items for Harper.
When I embroider my next items, I’ll be sure to take pictures so I can post a very basic tutorial about how to use Sew What Pro and my Brother Pe 770. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment of send me a message!