Embroidery is a popular way to personalize clothing and make it unique. With old clothes, you can also add some embroidered details to refresh the look and even hide stains or holes.
If you have a T-shirt shop, offering custom embroidery on your T-shirts can also be a great way to make your creations stand out from the crowd and make your shirt truly one of a kind.
However, there is a large range of embroidery machine designs and features. If you have never worked with one before, it can be difficult to tell which one is the most suitable for embroidering shirts.
What are the best embroidery machines for shirts? You will want an embroidery machine with at least a 4″ x 4″ embroidery size to work with shirts but make sure there are connectivity options and a touch screen that allows you to customize and transfer your designs to the machine easily.
In this article, let’s take a look at what you will need to consider when buying embroidery machines for shirts and find the most suitable options for your needs.
Most modern embroidery machines can sell for around a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Depending on if you want a basic machine or a commercial machine with lots of features, the price will vary accordingly.
Let’s take a look at some factors you will need to consider when buying an embroidery machine.
Personal Vs. Commercial Embroidery
Personal embroidery projects don’t require a lot of built-in features or custom fonts and designs. On the other hand, commercial machines can come packed with a ton of features that allow custom embroidery shops to offer a wide range of designs.
Of course, more features mean a higher price tag, so if you’re just working on simple, small, and infrequent projects, there’s really no need to invest in an expensive machine.
That’s why before buying an embroidery machine, you should think about how you will be using it.
If you’re hoping to customize your shirts as a hobby, then a small machine with basic features will do. If you are looking to expand your business, then you can look for a fancier machine with more convenient features.
Similar to hand embroidery, machine embroidery also employs the use of hoops to keep your fabric taut and allow the machine to move across the embroidery area with ease.
Some embroidery machines come with their own set of hoops, while others require you to purchase additional embroidery hoops to work with the machine.
Although you can use several embroidery hoops of different sizes, the size of the embroidery hoop will correspond with the size of the embroidery. However, since the embroidery won’t be able to reach the edge of the hoop, the actual size of the embroidery area will be smaller than the hoop.
Each machine will also have a limit on the size that the machine can embroider, and this is usually the same as the width of the machine’s body. The most common sizes for embroidery using a machine are 4″ by 4″, 5″ x 7″, and 6″ x 10″.
If you’re adding decorative touches to T-shirts, you usually don’t need a very large embroidery size. Even a 4″ by 4″ is big enough to add small details and logos on the shirt.
All embroidery machines are designed to use stitches to transform your digital design into an embroidered one on your shirt. However, there are quite a few features that make customization much easier.
Let’s take a look at some key features below.
Embroidery machines are usually computerized now, which means you can use them just like how you use your phone or tablet to customize the size, the text, the font, and even combine designs together.
Of course, having a touch screen on your embroidery machine will make those options much easier and more intuitive to figure out. You can opt for a machine with a black and white touch screen or a color touch screen, with the color touch screen option being much more advanced.
Without the touch screen, there will be quite a few steps you will need to do to transfer the design to the machine. You’ll need to design using branded software and then connect your computer to the embroidery machine to work.
This may not be a problem if you’re only working small, infrequent jobs. However, if you’re running a shop that needs to be very flexible with your designs, then getting a machine with a touch screen will make customization much easier.
Speaking of connectivity, connecting your computerized embroidery machine and your computer can be a neat function to have.
Even if your embroidery machine is packed with built-in fonts and designs, sometimes you’ll see a pattern that you like or want to create your own embroidery design.
This is where having connectivity options like Wifi and Bluetooth will be quite convenient because you can design on your computer and easily transfer the design to the embroidery machine.
Wifi and Bluetooth are available in most newer models, and some older models have a USB port that allows you to manually transfer your designs as well.
Letters like company names or initials are the most popular thing that people choose to embroider when opting for customization. Having more built-in fonts will allow you to have more options when it comes to customizing letters.
That said, you can always create your design on your computer and transfer the design to the embroidery machine if the built-in fonts are not meeting your needs.
Many embroidery machines are two-in-one machines, meaning you can use them to sew as well as embroider. These machines are not necessarily more expensive, but they offer more flexibility.
If you want to sew your own clothes, then you can opt for a machine that is both a sewing and embroidery machine.
The stitching speed is the number of stitches per minute. It is usually measured in stitches per minute. Most embroidery machines run at speeds from 600-750 stitches per minute.
Fast stitching speeds allow for faster production, but they also have drawbacks. Fast stitching requires more force from the machine’s motor, which makes it difficult to control.
Slow stitching speeds allow for more control over placement and consistency in your embroidery designs.
Of course, the speed is also affected by the number of color changes that your design has, so if the design is more complicated, the machine will take a bit more time, and you’ll find that the speed is slower than the number indicated by the machine’s manufacturer.
Embroidery machines also have tons of convenient features that make embroidering much more convenient and pain-free. Here are just some features that you may want to consider.
- Lighting – LED lights over the working area help you see your work better so that you can work more efficiently. This makes it easier to see more details of the embroidery and make adjustments easily if needed.
- Automatic needle threader – The automatic needle threader makes threading your needle easier. All you have to do is press a button, and the thread goes through your needle for you. For those who have poor eyesight or just hate threading needles, this feature is a must-have.
- Automatic thread tension – Automatic thread tension allows for consistent stitching every time, even if you change the type of fabric or thread that you’re using. This helps you avoid looped threads or even tangles as you create your design.
- Automatic thread cutter – An automatic thread cutter makes cutting excess threads off after stitching faster and easier.
- Bobbin winder – The bobbin winder is a feature that allows you to manually wind bobbins without interrupting your work. It’s especially useful if you’re working on a large project and need many bobbins but don’t want to stop stitching in order to wind them.
- Adjustable bobbin winding speed – There are different types of threads that require different speeds for winding bobbins. This feature allows you to adjust the speed according to the type of thread you are using.
- Snap-on presser foot – Sometimes, you might need to change your presser foot while working on an embroidery project, especially if you’re working with a slippery fabric or a thick fabric. With this feature, you can easily snap on or off the presser foot depending on what kind of fabric you want to use next.
- Snap-on embroidery hoop – As mentioned before, you can switch embroidery hoops according to the size of your design. This feature makes things easier by providing an easy way to attach or detach your hoops with ease.
Best Embroidery Machines For Shirts
|1.||Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine||5" x 7"|
|2.||Brother PE550D Embroidery Machine||4" x 4"|
|3.||Brother Innov-ís NQ1600E Embroidery Machine||6” x 10”|
|4.||Brother Embroidery Machine, PE770||5” x 7”|
|5.||Janome Memory Craft 400E Embroidery Machine||7.9" x 7.9"|
|6.||SINGER | Superb EM200 Embroidery Machine||7 ⅞” (across)|
|7.||SINGER | Legacy SE300 Embroidery Machine||7 ⅞” (across)|
|8.||Bernette B70 6" x 10" Embroidery Machine||6” x 10”|
|9.||EverSewn Sparrow X2 Sewing & Embroidery Machine||4.75” x 7”|
1. Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine
Looking for a versatile embroidery machine that’s loaded with features to help get your creative juices flowing? The Brother PE-800 Embroidery Machine is the perfect choice for embroiderers who want to bring their ideas to life.
This machine offers 138 built-in embroidery designs and 11 built-in fonts, making it easy to create any project you can dream of. In addition, you can use the USB port to import your own designs into your machine.
The 3″ inch LCD color touchscreen on this machine makes it easy to select your desired design or font before beginning a project. The large touch screen also gives you access to all of the features on the PE-800 with ease.
This embroidery machine also has a 5″ X 7″ embroidery field that allows you to create small and large designs to customize your shirts. This allows you to create larger designs and custom designs that are relatively large on T-shirts as well as hoodies and sweatshirts.
2. Brother PE550D Embroidery Machine
The Brother PE550D Embroidery Machine is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an affordable, easy-to-use embroidery machine that offers a range of features.
This is an entry-level embroidery machine that has the ability to embroider up to a 4″ x 4″ area, which is big enough to add embroidered designs to your shirts and sleeves.
This machine also comes with 125 built-in designs, including 45 Disney designs, so the kids will love whatever you customize! There are 9 built-in fonts that you can use to personalize your creations. In addition, you can also add your own designs into the PE550D’s built-in memory through its USB port.
The embroidery has a 3.2 inch LCD color touchscreen display making it easy for anyone to use this machine regardless of their skill level with technology or embroidery machines in general. With its easy-to-use design, the PE550D is perfect for any beginner or advanced embroiderer!
3. Brother Innov-ís NQ1600E Embroidery Machine
Brother Innov-ís NQ1600E Embroidery Machine is the ultimate embroidery machine when it comes to versatility.
This machine is ready to go right out of the box with 198 built-in designs, 140 combinations of frames and patterns, and 11 embroidery lettering fonts.
All of these designs are fully customizable thanks to the 4.85-inch color LCD touch screen display that allows for on-screen editing that includes letter editing, enhanced zoom, resizing, rotating, repositioning, and combining designs!
The large 6 x 10-inch embroidery area allows you to create designs that span across the front or the back of the shirt in just one go, and you can take advantage of the customization options to create large designs for your shirt in just one go.
And because it has a built-in USB port to import designs from your memory stick, there’s nothing stopping you from putting your creative ideas into motion today!
4. Brother Embroidery Machine, PE770
The Brother PE770 embroidery machine is a beginner-friendly option for those who wants to create quality designs and text.
With 136 built-in embroidery designs, including delicate scrollwork, intricate florals, classic quilt patterns, and more, the PE770 offers a design for every style of embroidery you can imagine.
The large 1.4″ x 2.7″ LCD color touchscreen makes it simple to navigate through the menu and select your chosen design, as well as customize your design with 10 frame shapes, plus 12 border styles and 6 built-in fonts.
In addition, the USB port allows you to transfer your own embroidery designs to the machine for even more customization.
The 5″ x 7″ Embroidery Field is large enough for lots of detail and allows you to create all kinds of customizations on your shirts and other clothing items.
5. Janome Memory Craft 400E Embroidery Machine
The Memory Craft 400E machine is packed with powerful features to help you create beautiful embroidered designs on your shirts.
This Embroidery Machine comes with 160 built-in designs that come pre-installed on the machine. In addition, there are six fonts that can be used for all types of projects, including monograms, lettering, and more!
You can also import your own designs from your PC using the USB port on the side of the machine. This makes it easy to use any design you want without any additional software needed; just plug and play!
There are also a ton of other convenient features that embroidery beginners will appreciate, including a built-in needle threader, automatic needle threader, easy set bobbin system, bobbin winding plate, and a bobbin thread sensor which makes it easy to set up and use them right out of the box!
The 7.9″ x 7.9″ Embroidery Field is large enough to meet most needs, especially if you are mainly working with shirts and other clothing garments, and will allow you to create beautiful embroideries with ease.
6. SINGER | Superb EM200 Embroidery Machine
The SINGER EM200 embroidery machine has all the great features you need to create beautiful embroidery projects.
This is a computerized sewing machine with 200 built-in embroidery designs and 6 alphabet options that are fully customizable. The LCD touch screen makes it easy to navigate through your designs and access other convenient features.
It comes with needle position control, an automatic needle threader, an upper thread sensor, and LED lights to make it easier to see what you’re doing.
The machine includes an automatic bobbin winding feature while you’re working on your embroidery. A snap-on presser foot allows you to easily change presser feet when you’re ready to switch from one design to another.
The maximum running speed is 700 stitches per minute. In addition, this machine has a 7 7/8 inch work area that’s large enough for most projects, especially if you are working mostly with shirts and other clothing garments.
7. SINGER | Legacy SE300 Sewing And Embroidery Machine
The SINGER Legacy SE300 is a great, highly convenient machine that’s perfect for those who love both sewing and embroidery.
It features 250 built-in stitches for sewing and 200 embroidery designs, as well as 6 alphabet options. This means you can make your own shirt and then add customized decorative touches to the garment to make it your own!
The LCD Touch Screen makes navigating through the menus easy and intuitive. Simply touch the screen to scroll through your options. The LCD Touch Screen allows you to choose your design, adjust the settings, and sort out all the features just how you like them.
You can even transfer designs from your computer or tablet directly onto the machine using the USB port. The extra-large 7 7/8 inch embroidery area allows you to create large designs, which are accommodated by the two included snap-on embroidery hoops.
This sewing and embroidery machine is a great choice for quilters, crafters, and sewists who want the convenience of having one machine that can do it all!
8. Bernette B70 6″ x 10″ Embroidery Machine
The Bernette B70 is a versatile embroidery machine capable of creating beautiful embroidery.
This machine has a 5-inch LCD display screen that makes it easy to read and navigate through menus without having to refer back to instruction manuals every time you need help!
It also comes preloaded with over 208 designs created by professional artists, so you’ll be able to start using this machine right away without having to spend hours designing custom artwork yourself.
The Bernette B70 features USB stick transfer, so you can transfer your design from your computer directly to the machine with ease.
The 6″ x 10″ embroidery area is accommodated by the three included embroidery hoops, which allow you to create embroidery designs in various sizes. You can even use them in combination to create a design that spans across your shirt.
9. EverSewn Sparrow X2 Sewing & Embroidery Machine
The EverSewn Sparrow X2 is an easy-to-use, powerful sewing and embroidery machine.
With over 120 different stitches for sewing and over 100 embroidery designs to choose from, you can create anything you like with ease.
The Max embroidery area of 4.75×7 inches is just perfect for customizing your shirts, even with the most complicated designs.
The LCD screen provides easy customization. In addition, you can also install the App, which offers design modifications, easy placement, and monitoring features, so designing and embroidering your own design is even easier.
Because this is a sewing and embroidery machine, there are also many other advanced features that you may enjoy. The presser foot pressure adjustment allows for balanced stitching across all materials, from tule to leather, allowing you to use just about any material you can think of.
The advanced foot pressure adjustment adjusts independently for each foot, enabling balanced stitching on every type of fabric. And with its advanced auto threader, threading will never be a headache again!