First, check Brother's embroidery design guide to see if a design you like is pre-installed in the machine. You can combine designs, change colors, and add/manipulate text.
EmbroideryDesigns.com has over 7,000 free embroidery designs in addition to more available for purchase. You download up three free designs a week with an account, no credit card required. Make sure to sort designs by and download them in a filetype supported by the Brother SE1900 (.pes / .dst / .phc).
You can also make your own embroidery designs! Ink/Stitch is an extension for Inkscape, a free illustration software. With Ink/Stitch you can convert .svg files into embroidery files, even adjusting the stitching used for your design. Click here for a basic tutorial on how to convert the files. Other tutorials are linked here. You can create illustrations directly in Inkscape, or just import pre-made .svg files. Or, you can make .svg files using Adobe Illustrator at the library. Remember simplicity is important for embroidery designs!
Creative Machine Embroidery is a digital magazine available to check out on Libby.
These books are available to check out from the Hunterdon County Library:
HCL Makerspace's embroidery machine is a Brother SE1900. It is actually a 2 in 1, so it can also function as a normal sewing machine!
It has a 5" x 7" maximum embroidery area, which allows you to make larger designs. The machine includes 138 customizeable embroidery designs, and you can import more from online using a USB. On the sewing side, this machine can make 240 different stitches. The large touch screen menu makes it easy to adjust settings and follow procedures step-by-step. There is also an auto-threader and auto thread cutter!
The Embroidery Design Guide shows which designs are preprogrammed in the Brother SE1900. You can browse the designs, see how many colors each uses, and estimate how long it will take to embroider onto fabric. Most of these designs are customizeable, so you can change the colors, add font, and combine components.
Languages: English, German, French, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Russian
The Brother Quick Reference Guide explains the machine's accessories, how to wind the bobbin, how to thread the machine, how to select stitches, and shows a list of all the different stitches. It also explains how to switch the machine from sewing mode to embroidery mode and how to select embroidery patterns.
Languages: English, German, French, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Russian
The Brother Embroidery and Sewing Machine Operation Manual details how to use functions of the SE1900, including sewing, decorative sewing, and embroidery. If you want to learn how to do something, or need to troubleshoot an issue, you can search the PDF manual or check the index in the back.
Use "Ctrl + F" to quickly search this PDF.
Be careful resizing designs from the internet. If you make a densely embroidered design smaller, there is a risk of bunching and entanglement - which can ruin your project! Making designs larger shouldn't cause the same issue, but the stitch definition may look different than you expect. Designs preinstalled in the Brother machine prevent you from resizing too large or too small.
Furthermore, consider the fabric you will embroider on. Lightweight fabric may not hold dense embroidery designs well.
Look for a thread specifically made for embroidery. Polyester embroidery thread is a good option because it is durable and shiny. Rayon is also shiny, but may not stand up well over time. Cotton, which usually has a matte finish, can also be used. However, cotton thread may shrink in the wash. Metallic embroidery thread is very shiny but can be very difficult to embroider with. If you want to use this thread, make sure you read up on needle types and thread tension.
You should also consider matching the weight of thread to your fabric. Most digital embroidery designs are made for 40 weight (wt) thread. If your fabric is very thin, you might consider a (thinner) 60 wt thread.
When threading the machine, make sure the presser foot is raised to maintain the correct tension. This is especially important when changing colors mid-project, as you do not want to create a tangled mess under your project.
Your bobbin can be threaded with any color because it will not show on the front of the design. You can use white to match your stabilizer color, use the same color as your base fabric, or even use a "transparent" thread. Usually, the bobbin should have a lighter-weight thread than your upper thread in order to reduce bulk. Our machine came with a white 100% polyester 60wt embroidery thread for the bobbin.
If you bring your own bobbin, make sure it is a plastic SA156 (Class 15) bobbin.
You should use a machine embroidery needle, unless your project requires a special needle. Machine embroidery needles come in different sizes, and you should match the needle size to your fabric.
Needles tend to blunt after around 10,000 stitches. Use a fresh needle often, especially if you notice broken threads, pulled loops, or catches.
If a needle breaks, investigate why before replacing it. You may need to check the upper thread or bobbin. Or, you may need a larger size needle.
If you only have one important piece of fabric to embroider on, you should first test the design on a scrap fabric that is as similar as possible. This will give you a chance to check your color choices, sizing, placement, etc.
Highly detailed or small designs are best done on a thinner fabric. If you want to embroider on a thicker fabric, go for a larger or less dense design. Or, you might consider separately embroidering a patch that you can attach to a jacket or bag.
Nonwoven fabric, such as felt, is the easiest to embroidery on because of its density. Woven fabrics, like cotton, linen, and silk, are constructed looser and as such have more movement. While woven fabrics are more useful, they require more care when stabilizing the material and placing it in the embroidery hoop. Knitted fabric is the most difficult to embroidery on because it has a lot of stretch. In order to maximize the quality of your embroidery, you should match the type of stabilizer, needle, and thread size to your fabric.
Stabilizers are an important foundation for creating crisp embroidery designs. There are several types, including cut-away, tear-away, and water-soluble stabilizers. Cut-away is typically the thickest, which helps support dense embroidery designs or projects with knit fabric. However, cut-away can be the hardest to fit tightly in the embroidery hoop. Tear-away stabilizer is good for woven fabrics without stretch and comes in various thicknesses. Wash-away stabilizer is best suited for use with sheer fabric or when making freestanding lace designs. It is also the easiest to fit in the embroidery hoop.
These stabilizers are also available in fusible or tacky versions. Whenever possible, use a fusible stabilizer to your fabric to maintain alignment and prevent puckering.
The fabric you are embroidering on should fit snuggly and smoothly in the 5x7 embroidery hoop. If you need to embroider onto something smaller than that size, you will need to either baste stitch or tack the fabric onto a larger piece of stabilizer. You can use a temporary spray adhesive that is made for sewing machines. This spray adhesive is also good for preventing "hoop burn" (a hoop-shaped crease left on fabric) on delicate fabrics or vinyl.
The area where you are embroidering should also lay flat. If it is too close to a curved seam, it may not embroider well.
If you want to embroidery something different than the preinstalled designs, you can import files from the internet using a laptop and USB.
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