How to Choose the Perfect Embroidery Design for Your Project

How to Choose the Perfect Embroidery Design for Your Project

Finding an embroidery design for your projects is step one before you can get creative with your embroidery machine. There are multiple factors to keep in mind when choosing the perfect embroidery design; what type of project you are working on, what hoop you have available and what type of file formats your machine can read. In this article, we are going to give you some useful tips and inspiration.

Check your Machine and Embroidery Supplies


Before you can get creative, you need to make sure that you know what type of file format your machine can read. Different embroidery machines can read different types of embroidery machine file formats, Brother machines for example read PES and DST formats. You can find information about which type of file format your machine can read in your machine’s manuals and on the manufacturer’s website.

While most embroidery designers create multiple types of machine embroidery file formats for their designs, it’s good to know which file format you need before you decide on which type of design to get.

Another important factor is to check the size of your machine embroidery hoop. Your machine might have come with a standard hoop, or you have purchased additional hoops. The size of your hoop is important so that you can choose the right size design to fit in your hoop. 

Most designers make their design available in multiple sizes so that you can choose one that fits your hoop so check the dimensions of the design and make sure you’re getting the right one.


Selecting an Embroidery Design


The most fun step is selecting the perfect embroidery design for your project. This is where you can get creative. If you have some knowledge of how to digitize, you can convert an image into an embroidery design format, but there are also a great range of quality machine embroidery designs out there to choose from.

Scouting quality designs online has never been easier with Creative Fabrica’s embroidery libraryCreative Fabrica is a digital marketplace in which talented embroidery digitizers can sell their digital embroidery designs, and you can browse through an ever-growing library of designs.  A lot of NZ creatives sell their embroidery designs through Creative Fabrica!

You can find machine embroidery files, In The Hoop (ITH) projects, and appliqué files in a variety of themes; decorative, functional, stylish, and cute. They also have free embroidery designs, which you can directly download and use for your projects.

Cosmetic Bag in the Hoop Embroidery

Find a large variety of ITH designs, like this cosmetic bag.

Creative Fabrica offers both individual designs along with a monthly membership plan which gives you access to the entire embroidery library.

Creative Fabrica have teamed up with Mandy from the New Zealand Machine Embroidery Addicts and are offering an exclusive 30% discount on all single sales on Creative Fabrica. To grab this discount – use this coupon code at the checkout:


If you’d love having unlimited download access to Creative Fabrica’s entire embroidery library, plus all other millions of digital designs on Creative Fabrica, check out the monthly membership plan.

If you can’t find the format you need for your machine, you can simply reach out to the Customer Support team at Creative Fabrica and they can provide you with the right file.


Three embroidery projects to test out


Embroidering on clothing and apparel is always a great way to personalize an item, and make it more fun or stylish. You can choose a smaller subtle design like this Lips Design, or a statement quote, like this Believe In Yourself gradient design.  

Embroidering on your home decor is a perfect way to upcycle your interior. It’s always a good idea to pick a timeless design, that you know will fit with the rest of your home decor. You can select a stylish and yet classic design like this Baroque Floral design.

By adding a cute embroidery design on your kids clothing it’s easy to customize your children’s clothing according to their current favourite animal, or favourite colour. This Llama embroidery design is a really cute idea for a baby bodysuit. Appliqué designs are also perfect for children’s clothing, as you can play around with the applique fabric to create unique looks and textures.

Have fun while you get creative with your embroidery machine!

About Creative Fabrica

Creative Fabrica is a combination of love for art and a passion for handmade crafts and fonts. They believe that each font and craft is a little piece of art. Likewise, they believe that art should be made available to everyone. 

Creative Fabrica has a wide selection of embroidery designs available for every occasion.

NZMEA has teamed up with Creative Fabrica to bring you great deals on their embroidery design library – use code NZMEA30 to receive a 30% discount on all single sale designs.

NZMEA receives a small commission on purchases made using the affiliate links in this article to help us continue to bring NZ embroiderers together!

You can find out more about Creative Fabrica and their embroidery designs at creativefabrica.com.

NZ Machine Embroidery Addicts End of Year Event 2018

NZ Machine Embroidery Addicts End of Year Event 2018

In November 2018 after having a few local Auckland based monthly catch ups I decided it might be fun to have an end of year event at my house with a few extra people.  Well what started small turned into a larger event with 40 people at the Brother NZ offices in Auckland CBD with our amazing guest speaker – Gary Walker, the owner of Echidna Sewing who flew over from Australia to join us.

It was an amazing event full of fun, knowledge and amazing goodie bags and lots of new friendships were made!  It was also then, that I came on board as Echidna Sewing’s NZ Manager (if you haven’t read my story about that yet – go check it out).

The support from Brother NZ and Echidna Sewing Supplies was truly amazing and really a demonstration of how many embroiderers there are around New Zealand who are looking to connect with other like-minded people and learn more about machine embroidery.

I now try to have an end of year event every year as there are so many from around the country who need a good excuse to set aside a day to refil their “embroidery inspiration” cup.  I also continue to have monthly get togethers in Auckland (which anyone is welcome to come to) – some are coffee catch ups at a local cafe and others are events where we get together and make fun embroidered items.  

All upcoming events are listed in the events section of the website and are also sent out via our newsletter (you can sign up for that here).  If you’re not yet a member of our Facebook group – come along and join, that’s where a lot of the fun and connection happens!

If I haven’t yet, I hope to meet you at an event soon!


The Brother NZ VE2300 Embroidery Only Machine

The Brother NZ VE2300 Embroidery Only Machine

The Brother Essence Innov-is VE2300 Embroidery Only Machine is a machine that is sold by Echidna Sewing in New Zealand.  

You can find out more about this machine and the awesome specials that Echidna Sewing currently has running on the Echidna Website here and keep reading below for more information about why I love this machine!

What is an embroidery only machine?

An embroidery only machine is for machine embroidery only.  The benefit of having a separate embroidery machine is  that you can continue to work on your sewing projects on a separate machine while your embroidery designs are stitching out.  If you’re in the market for a new sewing and embroidery machine, buying a separate embroidery only machine can also leave you with a really nice budget to invest in a great separate sewing machine.

You can view all of the Brother NZ sewing, embroidery and combination machines available through Echidna Sewing here.

What is so cool about this machine?

1.  Big Max Embroidery Area

By now we all know that size really does matter when it comes to embroidery machine hoop sizes – especially if you started out with a 10x10cm (4x4inch) hoop size.  This machine has an amazing 20x30cm (8x12inch) hoop size which is the perfect size for most larger projects.  It’s the perfect size for embroidering on the back of a hoodie, t-shirt or sweatshirt and ideal for those larger ITH (in the hoop) projects that would otherwise take multiple hoopings.

2.  V-Sonic Pen For Embroidery Positioning

The Ultrasonic sensing technology helps you position your embroidery designs on your fabric – if you’ve rehooped something more than twice to get it positioned right in the hoop you’ll know how awesome this pen is before you even look at it!

But if you haven’t seen this in action before check it out Gary’s demonstration of it here.

3.  Great Price Point

The Brother VE2300 has a really great price point, if you consider the incredible addition of features this machine has compared the models in the price points slightly below.

If you’re more of a visual person, have a look at these great informative videos Gary at Echidna made showing the features of the VE2300.

What can you make with this machine?

Who is this machine ideal for?

This is the perfect machine for you if you’re a new embroiderer looking for your first machine (or second if you’re started with a small hoop you’ve already outgrown) and want a machine you can grow with and help you create amazing larger projects.

It’s also perfect if you’re already a sewer looking to add embroidery to your work as you can leave the machine to embroider while you continue to sew on your sewing machine.

Where can I find out more?

You can find out more about this machine and the awesome special that Echidna Sewing currently has running on the Echidna Website here.  

You can also get in touch with me, Mandy Chamberlin.  I’m Echidna Sewings NZ Manager and I have a demo VE2300 on hand in my studio in Auckland and can answer any questions you may have about this or any of the other Brother NZ machines available.

Make Embroidered Patches Using Recycled Fabric

Make Embroidered Patches Using Recycled Fabric

Did you know that you can make embroidered patches out of recycled fabric?  In fact, it’s actually a really awesome way of using up your scraps or repurposing some clothing that would otherwise end up in the bin.


What is an Embroidered Patch? 


An embroidered patch is a stand alone design embroidered onto a piece of fabric usually finished with a satin stitch edge that can be attached to items like clothing, caps, bags etc.  They can also be made in the form of Free Standing Lace (FSL) which is thread that stitches over itself in a strategic way to hold the design together without additional fabric.  FSL designs or patches are a lot more delicate than fabric patches though and would generally be used more for things like earrings or Christmas decorations. I’ll just be covering the fabric type patches here (FSL is a whole different kettle of fish 😜)


How Do You Make a Patch Embroidery Design? 


Creating a patch design out of any design isn’t complicated but you do need to have some digitizing software (like Hatch or Embrilliance) to create the additional border stitches.  You can also use most existing applique designs to create a patch.


If you have digitizing software, create a border stitch around your design – either in the shape of your existing design or a regular shape like a square, rectangle, circle etc and create the same steps you would use for creating an applique design – single run placement stitch, double run tack down stitch and a satin stitch edge to finish.


A couple of extra tips for creating the design:


  • Using a zig zag underlay stitch for the satin edge will help capture all the stray bits of fabric to stop them poking up through your finished stitching
  • Don’t make your satin stitches too thin otherwise you will need to cut your fabric incredibly close to your stitches which will drive you crazy!


How Do You Make a Patch? 


Making a patch is really similar to creating an applique design.  There are a few different methods but the easiest way I’ve found for making patches using recycled fabric:


  • Hoop up some wash away stabilizer – wash away stabilizer is the fabric looking kind of stabilizer that you can dissolve with water (the “plastic looking” water soluble stabilizer kind isn’t strong enough to use for this – that’s better for using on top of fabric to hold the pile of fabric down)


  • Attach some cut away stabilizer to the back of your fabric to support it.  I usually use a fusible cutaway or regular cut away stabilizer with some hot melt web or heat and bond to hold it together. This is especially important if you’re using stretchy or really delicate thin fabric to avoid the fabric being pulled out of proportion and bunching of the fabric.


  • Stitch the first placement stitch of the design on the wash away stabilizer then add your fabric to the hoop (secure it with tape to the wash away stabilizer – you don’t need to go crazy with it) then stitch the tack down stitch.  


  • Take the hoop off the machine, be careful not to bump your embroidery arm, and cut away the excess fabric from around the tack down stitch.  Put the hoop back on the machine and finish stitching.  


  • Once you’re finished, take it out of the hoop and cut away the excess wash away stabilizer from around the design (leave a couple of mm so you don’t cut the stitches). Then take a cotton bud (or a paintbrush or something) and dab away the excess stabilizer with warm water and leave to dry.


When they are dry, you can either hand stitch them onto something or attach some Hot Melt Film to the back of the patch to attach the patches by ironing them on.


Here are some examples of patches I’ve made using recycled fabric for local sustainable bag designer Amy Conlon of Outliv.


If you have any questions about making patches, drop them below and I’ll do my best to help you out!


Use Your Snowman to Help Line Up Your Embroidery Designs

Use Your Snowman to Help Line Up Your Embroidery Designs

Using the Snowman Function on your Embroidery Machine

If you have a Brother embroidery machine that has the Snowman feature, PLEASE start using it! It will change your life!

I did a quick video a couple of years ago (while working on hankies for the lovely Amanda Cookson at Southern Bride) on how I use it to save me a mountain of time with lining up my designs.

I used embroidery software to print out the template of my design with the snowman marker already on the design. You can also use your normal method to find where you want to place your design on your item, and use one of the stickers and stick it so the cross hairs line up with the vertical and horizontal centres of your design.

If you have any questions about using the Snowman feature, ask in the comments below and I’ll help you out.