10 Things New Machine Embroiderers Need

When you are starting out in machine embroidery, it’s hard to know what to buy. Here is a list of 10 basic items you need for your embroidery projects.


Good Lighting

Being able to see stitches clearly is a big benefit. Good lighting helps, whether it is a table-top lamp or add-on lighting for your embroidery machine.


Embroiderers Compass

This easy-to-use wheel guide shows you suggested stabilizers and needle types according to the fabric type you dial in. It gives you a great starting point when you are just starting out in machine embroidery.



Stabilizers are the basis for all machine embroidery projects. Many vendors sell sample packs with an assortment of stabilizers to try. At the very least, a light weight tear-away, a no-show mesh cutaway, and a medium cutaway will suffice to start out. Get a refresher here.



Temporary adhesive sprays or glue sticks help with keeping fabric in place. They help with hooping and are necessary when stitching applique designs.



Most brand-name thread will stitch perfectly fine. Polyester thread is probably more versatile since it doesn’t bleach or fade easily. It may be more economical to start with a thread kit of basic colors and then add to it as you go. Get a refresher here.



It seems as if they make as many different kinds and sizes of needles as they do threads. Many needle manufacturers offer sampler packs with a variety of sizes and kinds. Get a refresher here.



Good scissors make a big difference. Curved-tip scissors are ideal for clipping thread in the hoop. Many people also like the easy-cut snips. Otherwise, the need depends on the type of embroidery you will stitch. If you like applique, applique scissors are a must. Small, sharp scissors are perfect for cutwork.



I wouldn’t jump right into purchasing digitizing software but editing software like Embrilliance is extremely useful for basic tasks. At the very least, buy Thumbnailer. It allows you to see what your designs look like without having to open them.


Iron/Pressing Surface

Pressing fabric before embroidery means more accurate stitching and, when sewing them together, more accurate piecing and seams. Having a good steam iron and a wool pressing surface give the final product a professional touch.


A Notebook or Journal

Keep notes in a simple notebook or journal. Over time, this will help you learn what combinations of fabric, designs, stabilizers, and needles work best together. It is also a great way to document threads used and any alterations, tips, and


What would you recommend as a must-have item for new embroiderers?


Debbie SewBlest

Comments (1) -

As I moved from California to Arizona, things were packed away and finding exactly what I needed was a challenge.

I might add that a 'stash' of different types of fabrics does certainly come in handy. We here at AnnTheGran try to encourage all embroiderers to do a "sew out" aka "test sew" so that we can see, before your project begins. Finding issues is a worthy event, make time for it.

Pat, The Avid Embroiderer

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