If you’re looking to get a new machine to step up your craft game, you might want to get a better understanding of the different types of machines available and the differences between them.
At first glance, an embroidery machine and a sewing machine may not seem very different. There are a number of similarities between the two machines. However, they’re completely different machines designed for different purposes.
So what’s the difference between an embroidery machine and a sewing machine? An embroidery machine is used for artistic embroidery, a decorative art form that involves sewing intricate designs on a piece of fabric. A sewing machine is designed to join pieces of fabric together, such as tailoring or making articles of clothing.
Of course, there are other details that differentiate an embroidery machine from a sewing machine. Let’s learn more about both machines and their uses.
What is an Embroidery Machine?
Embroidery machines perform specialized embroidery stitches such as cross-stitch to create decorations on fabrics of varying density and texture. Embroidery machines can be used to create drawings, logos, and other designs.
Embroidery involves utilizing a repetitive stitching technique to create patterns on fabric. Embroidery machines can be programmed to carry out these stitching techniques quickly and uniformly to create a predesigned pattern.
Embroidery machines are commonly used in commercial settings, where a large number of embroidery designs have to be created in a short period of time.
How Does an Embroidery Machine Work?
Embroidery machines come with hoops, on which the fabric is placed. The process of stretching the fabric onto the hoop is called hooping. The fabric must be tightly attached to the hoop and stabilized while the embroidery takes place. Otherwise, the design will not line up correctly.
Embroidery machines make use of stabilizers which help to hold the fabric in place while the machine does the embroidering. These stabilizers are often stiff sheets placed either above or beneath the fabric to be embroidered on.
During embroidering, the hoop moves along a path predefined by the machine’s software.
The desired design is first loaded onto the machine. Then the right hoop is chosen and the required colored threads are filled in. Then, some buttons are pressed and the machine begins embroidering the pre-loaded design.
Digitizing refers to the art of converting an image or a pattern into machine language that the embroidery machine can read. A person who works with specialized computer software to create embroidery designs is called an embroidery digitizer.
Many modern embroidery machines, like this one on Amazon, feature a number of energy-saving adaptations.
Some of these include automatic threading, automatic thread trimming, and a sensor that detects breaking and termination of the thread.
These features facilitate your work and improve the quality of your embroidery.
The price of embroidery machines varies a lot depending on the functionality offered.
Some embroidery machines feature a single needle which will have to be rethreaded multiple times to create colorful designs. Others are multi-needle machines, and allow you to thread your machine before you begin embroidering without having to rethread multiple times.
How to Use an Embroidery Machine
Learning to use an embroidery machine properly for the first time can seem like a daunting challenge. In truth, though, most embroidery machines are designed to be user friendly and do not require you to be a tech expert to master them.
Before getting started, you’ll want to make sure that you have all the items you’ll need. These include:
- Embroidery fabric
Make sure to choose needles and threads that are specifically designed for embroidery.
Now, you need to set up your embroidery machine.
- The first step is to connect the machine to a power supply. Most modern embroidery machines come with pre-installed software, which you can use without any hassle.
- Next, thread the bobbin. To do this, follow the instructions you find in the operation manual. If you’ve done this properly, you should be able to see the bobbin thread only on one side of the fabric.
- The final step is to select the design you want to use for the embroidery. Your machine will likely come with some preloaded designs in the software. You should also have the option to import designs from your computer or from the internet.
Most modern embroidery machines feature touch screens that make it easy to select the design you want. Some machines even provide options to edit the designs.
With a bit of research and practice, you should be able to learn how to create beautiful designs with an embroidery machine in no time.
What is a Sewing Machine?
Sewing machines are used to join pieces of fabric together through stitching.
In other words, sewing machines are used to create functional pieces of clothing. Embroidery machines, on the other hand, are used to decorate fabrics or pieces of clothing that may have been put together with a sewing machine.
There are two major categories of sewing machines: industrial sewing machines and domestic sewing machines.
Domestic Sewing Machines
Domestic or home sewing machines are designed for household use. These machines can be used to sew a wide variety of fabrics.
The different types of domestic sewing machines are:
- Manual sewing machine
- Electronic sewing machine
- Computerized sewing machine
Manual Sewing Machine
Manual sewing machines are basic sewing machines that don’t require electric power to function. These machines have fewer features than other types of home sewing machines. They also require a good amount of physical work from the tailor.
Manual sewing machines have a foot pedal and a wheel in the side. The foot pedal is used to run the machine. While manual sewing machines can sew most materials, they’re better suited to medium and lightweight materials.
Manual sewing machines are very durable. This type of sewing machine can usually be found in the vintage category. They can be fitted with electric motors to make them more efficient and speedy.
Electronic Sewing Machine
Electronic sewing machines have an electric motor which supplies power to the needle. They also have an electronic foot pedal, which can be used to increase the speed of the machine.
Electronic sewing machines also have a dial in the side, which is used to control the type of stitch and the length and width of the stitches.
Some electronic sewing machines, like this one on Amazon, feature automatic thread cutting, automatic tension setting, and automatic one-step buttonhole stitch.
Computerized Sewing Machine
Computerized sewing machines are a more advanced type of sewing machine. They’re basically sewing machines with a built-in computer system. These sewing machines come with displays and touch screens that allow the user to control the machine.
Computerized sewing machines can memorize operations and tension, download patterns, and perform precise stitches. A lot of the work is performed automatically with little input from the user.
All this functionality, however, does come with a price tag. Computerized sewing machines are much more expensive than electronic and manual machines.
Industrial Sewing Machines
Industrial sewing machines are sewing machines that are designed for use by professionals in factories. They are often specialized to do long term tasks such as sewing shirt cuffs or placing the waistband in jeans trousers.
Industrial sewing machines are much larger than their domestic counterparts. They’re also much faster but a lot more expensive to purchase and run.
The four different types of industrial sewing machines are
- Flat Bed
- Post Bed
- Cylinder Bed
Industrial sewing machines are sometimes used to make accessories such as denim and leather bags. They can sew through thick fabrics with ease.
How Does a Sewing Machine Work?
The basic operation of a sewing machine involves a top thread and a bobbin thread interconnecting to form a continuous loop, thus stitching two layers of fabric together.
Most common sewing machines have an electric motor that runs the machine. You control the speed of the motor using the foot pedal. This leaves your hands free to manipulate the fabric as needed.
Increasing the amount of pressure applied to the foot pedal speeds up stitching. Reducing the pressure, on the other hand, slows down the stitching.
We hope you enjoyed learning about the differences between embroidery machines and sewing machines. Below are a couple of our most frequently asked questions that we thought you might want to know.
Can You Use an Embroidery Machine to Sew?
Embroidery machines are not designed for regular sewing purposes. This means that you cannot use an average embroidery machine to sew.
However, some machines offer both options in one package. Such machines are called sewing-embroidery machines.
Which Type of Machine Should I Get for Machine Embroidery?
If you need a machine for embroidery purposes, you should get an embroidery machine or a machine that does both embroidery and sewing. Some single needle embroidery machines can be used for both purposes.
If you’re planning to run a small embroidery business, however, you’ll be better off with a multi-needle embroidery machine. This kind of embroidery machine will save you a lot of time and hassle as you won’t have to rethread the machine every time a new color of thread is required.