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Before, I got my embroidery machine, I was always wondering what they were and how they worked and whether I should get one. Since I've finished the embroidery on the apron my brother, Adam, commissioned, I decided I'd do a post demonstrating that process. Later I will do a post about the sewing of the apron, and that way I'll have a straight forward post demonstrating the construction process that's not muddied by the embroidery.
A warning about machine embroidery. It is a very expensive hobby! My machine (which is a dual embroidery/sewing machine, meaning it converts) cost about $700 five years ago. I then spent quite a bit to buy the digitizing software so I could create custom embroidery designs. Then I bought $100 drawing software to better use the digitizing software. In all, I've spent more on my equipment than I ever would now, but since I own it and the money is gone, I try to get the most out of it and use it when I can. It is so much fun, and if you're looking for something that you don't mind spending big money on, you can do much worse.
Anyway, even if you're not planning to buy one, it is fun to see all that you can do with an embroidery machine.
This project is something my brother requested I make him to give to a friend for his birthday. They're all in this club and the embroidery is parts of the logo of the club they formed.
The first step in a project like this is to digitize the embroidery design. I do this by using screen captures of the logo and the special drawing software to trace the parts I need and make them into a file the digitizing software can work with. Then I use the digitizing software to create the information about stitch length and density and placement. After that, it's loaded on a special card that goes into my machine and I'm ready to set up for the embroidery.
Here's my sewing machine set up for embroidery mode. The embroidery unit hooks to the machine and holds the hoop. It then moves the hoop under the needle to make the machine sew what is in the embroidery file.
And this is the finished embroidery of the central design on the chest. Yes, I know it's spelled wrong. No, it's not my club. Yes, I was tempted to spell it right. No, Adam wouldn't let me.