My Top Three Mistakes That Make You Look Like a Newbie

If there is anything that all embroiderers have in common, it must be pride of workmanship.  Not one of us wants to give or display something that does not look like it was made professionally.  That is obvious – after all, how much have you invested financially, emotionally and artistically in your craft?

Well, there are so many ways that a beautifully conceived project can fail.  There are so many persons who are willing to encourage you to do certain things.  And, then, there is whatever works for you.  With all that going on, it is a wonder that anyone gets beyond one or two frustrating projects and/or training sessions.

I am just going to discuss a few of my favorites that you may find helpful as well. 

Puckering –

Puckering is the bane of an embroiderer’s existence.  It can happen to any of us if we are not paying attention to the stitch count and/or stabilizers.

I have seen puckering in national magazines both embroidery and non-embroidery publications.  Watch the next time you read your favorite guru or article with photos. 



I have been guilty of it myself.  In the above project, I had used two layers of heavy cutaway which is a lot of stabilizer.  However, I had not taken into consideration the number of stitches, 45,000 which made this project in need of three layers of heavy cutaway!  You can check out my previous blog on stabilizers.  That blog is not attempt to give an answer to every question but it does give many ideas to help you learn about your own projects and the requirements for stabilization.

I have said this before and it is a rule that I believe in – It is easy to under stabilize your project but difficult to over stabilize it.  That does not mean that your piece should be bullet proof (usually caused by too many stitches over a small area) but if you are experiencing some puckering, next time float another piece of stabilizer. 

Floating just means that the stabilizer is not attached to the fabric or the hoop, it is simply placed under the whole project as it is placed on your machine. 

Most stabilizers are not woven (some are) and if you are using a woven, turn the floating piece 90 degrees offset to the hoop for extra strength. 



While there are multiple places you can get information on placement of designs on different articles of clothing, nothing looks stranger than a misplaced design. 

I remember seeing one that was so crooked a non embroiderer would have noticed it. 

The human body is not flat, neither is the world so that may help you remember to give a little slant to your t-shirts, shirts, blouses and jackets for a more natural look. 

Because placement is so important to your success, I totally recommend – and use – In The Hoop Kit and Perfect Placement Kit.  The reason I use them is that they are accurate and simple to work with.  I have sufficient complexity to my life and these make my projects much better.  Additionally the Towel Placement (tricky!!!!!) is on sale!

There are places to find general information for these guidelines such as - or but I really prefer something that I can follow with photos and details.  I am always curious as to why someone would purchase an expensive embroidery machine and then fail to purchase the necessary tools with it.  I buy a car but to keep it entirely functioning, I purchase the best products available and that seems to be a good idea for both situations. 

Design Selection

AnnTheGran is probably one of the premiere places, on or off the Internet, to get excellent designs.  And, to top that off, AnnTheGran has terrific free designs as well as high quality vendor created designs. 

The very first thing that a newbie will do upon purchase of his/her machine is to go on the Net and find every freebie design they can get their hands on.  Well, there is good news and bad news on this issue.

First the bad news – Some of the designs you will find are done by newer digitizers.  That is not terrible, it is just that I had my pc worked on by a young man – fresh out of tech school – and I ended up having to buy a new pc.  It is not that he was careless or anything of the sort, it was just that experience trumps a fresh face every time.  There is a place for all here at AnnTheGran, but understand that when you want to raise your work to a new level, it is time for a little maturity.  I don’t remember where I got one freebie design but it actually said “I love you grandad.”   Really?

Now the good news – If you were to check into the background of – for instance – John Deer, a third generation digitizer, you will find that he has the knowledge and sells his quality designs here at AnnTheGran.  Sold under the name of Adorable Ideas you can get the really beautiful 3D Flowers Pack that are wonderful for putting on all sorts of things.  I have this pack and frankly, there is so much I love about it, not the least of which is the fact that every design is professionally digitized and they look it! 

Many of the other designers here at AnnTheGran are long time embroidery business persons as well.  One is Dakota Collectibles – who is more versed then they are?  I love the Alphabet Collection which has 5 different fonts, upper and lower case and in two sizes.  That comes to a total of over 500 letters for under $50. 

So, the bottom line is – quality is your best bet.  You were a newbie (even if it was since yesterday) it is time to step up to having excellence in your embroidery. 

Comments (3) -

franamazonia 12/24/2011 10:30:54 AM

Love the skull pattern in this article where could I purchase it?

Good information, doesn't hurt to be reminded of the basics!

Because I think it is not appropriate to give the link for another site here at AnnTheGran, and if you want the site where I got the above design, email me from my profile and I will give the name to you.

I know franamazonia is going to love what she finds at the site!

Pat, The Avid Embroiderer

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