Welcome to Machine Embroidery!, here you will find information to help you understand this wonderful hobby.

– What is Machine Embroidery ?

-Machine embroidery is an embroidery process whereby a sewing machine or embroidery machine is used to create patterns on textiles. It is used commercially in product branding, corporate advertising, and uniform adornment. Hobbyists also machine embroider for personal sewing and craft projects.

Most modern embroidery machines are computer controlled and specifically engineered for embroidery. Industrial and commercial embroidery machines and combination sewing-embroidery machines have a hooping or framing system that holds the framed area of fabric taut under the sewing needle and moves it automatically to create a design from a pre-programmed digital embroidery pattern.

– What are Embroidery Designs?

Embroidery designs are digital artwork or patterns which can be feed to an embroidery machine via USB drive, or cable in order to stitch it onto a framed fabric or garment. The artwork can be done using digitizing software or it can be found on Embroidery Design sites for download. Smartneedle has been creating embroidery designs since 2003.

Embroidery Designs can be found under 3 major categories: Applique, Filled Stitch and In The Hoop designs. 

If you are starting with Machine Embroidery, We encourage you to download Free Designs from our site to try.


-What is Applique Machine Embroidery ?

Appliques are not only fun and easy, they also allow you to really get creative by using up any stray pieces of fabric you’ve kept around or leftover fabrics. Then you can have even more fun by grabbing your scissors and cutting up those clothes you still have but haven’t worn in years.

Embroidery machines quickly stitch appliqué designs by following a program. The programs have a minimum complexity of two thread colors, meaning the machine stops during stitching to allow the user to switch threads. First, the fabric that will be the background and the appliqué fabric are affixed into the machine’s embroidery hoop. The program is run and the machine makes a loose basting stitch over both layers of fabric. Next, the machine stops for a thread change, or other pre-programmed break. The user then cuts away the excess appliqué fabric from around the basting stitch. Following this, the machine continues on program, automatically sewing the satin stitches and any decorative stitching over the appliqué for best results. Examples of Applique:


-What is Filled Stitch or Regular Machine Embroidery ?

Regular embroidery refers to any embroidery stitch that is worked on the surface of the cloth. There are literally hundreds of embroidery stitches that can be considered surface,  no added materials are needed, just color threads. Examples of Filled Stitch:


-What is in the Hoop Machine Embroidery ?

In the hoop machine embroidery mean that the design is constructed in the embroidery hoop. They are self standing, they are not attach to any surface or garment, a great sample will be Fabric coasters, they can be use as what they are, these projects are very fun and easy to customize. The best part is that you can make finish customized products on your machine just following easy instructions. Examples of In The Hoop:


-Hoop Sizes:

Machine embroidery hoops are available in a variety of sizes ex: 4×4, 5×7, 6×10″.  Hoops are machine specific so check your machine hoop limitations.

The design you will be embroidering will determine what hoop size you will use. The closer the hoop size is to the design, the more stable the fabric is which reduce movement of the project that can result in stitches being poorly located on the design.



Stabilizer is used to add rigidity to the fabric that will be embroidered, The fabric and stabilizer need to be hoop in place and stable so that all parts of the design will be in their proper position. One of the most common embroidery issues comes when the fabric and stabilizer are not properly hooped as the outlines of the design may not align correctly.


-Embroidery Bobbins:

The two most common sizes of prewound bobbins are, size A, also called class 15 bobbins  (20mm diameter x 10mm tall or 0.8 in diameter x 0.4 in tall) and size L (20mm diameter x 7.5mm tall or 0.8in diameter x 0.3in tall).  The difference is very small, being A slightly “taller” than L.

If you have any doubts about the size of the bobbins required for your machine brand and model, we suggest that you measure the size of the bobbins you’re currently using and compare it with the measurements we just provided to you.  Please, be very precise measuring the bobbin since the difference between size A and L is very small. Also, the best measurement will be achieved using the metric system (use mm) because it’s more accurate for such smaller differences.

Check the charts below for reference:



-What fabric am I stitching on?

Selecting the fabric that best works with the design type and density is very important,  You don’t want to put very dense designs on towels, nor very loose designs on terry cloth. Look at the number of stitches in the design and the size of the design and remember, if the design is 4″ x 4″ and has 30,000 stitches, a needle is going in and out of that fabric 30,000 times in a 4″ by 4″ space. Really fast. And leaving thread behind each time it pierces the fabric. Even with stabilizer, some fabrics may not be a good choice for some designs.


-The design is not stitching correctly, why?

There are different things that could go wrong, the fabric or stabilizer got loose, the wrong size bobbin… or a glitch;  Embroidery designs are basically electrical data arranged in a certain way. Sometimes, when a design is being downloaded or burned to a CD or USB stick or sent to an embroidery machine or even in the process of embroidering, a power surge will mess with the data of the design. A design with damaged data will stitch the design beautifully until somewhere random in the design where the needle will simply move to a slightly different place in the design and continue stitching from there.

In this case, you want to go back to the earliest file of the design that you received or go to your account history to retrieve it again. All our designs go through testing before we offer them on our site.