Saturday, 9 May 2015

Machine embroidery for kids 101

One of the best things my mother ever convinced me to do, was purchase the embroidery module for my Bernina 440QE. I simply LOVE it, though it perhaps doesn't get used as often as I would like (familiar story!). 

However, I recently had a very productive Saturday embroidering beautiful embellishments on some clothing for my children. My new favourite website ( has recently become well acquainted with my credit card and I am bursting with ideas for quilts with machine embroidered details from some recent purchases! 

Tips for embroidering children's clothes

  1. Use good quality embroidery files that are specifically designed for your machine. File formats get confused when changing from one system to another. Also be careful when changing the size of the design, that your software can accommodate it. The cheaper, free software doesn't usually cope well with big changes. 
  2. Don't cut out your pattern pieces. Children's clothing is usually quite small, and if you cut out the pieces, it can be difficult to hoop-up. I like to draw around the pattern pieces and cut them out after the embroidery is finished. This also allows for potential distortion sometimes caused by embroidery designs. 
  3. Don't be stingy with stabiliser. Double thickness tear-away is essential for intricate detail, especially when using finer fabrics. 
  4. Don't cut your bobbin thread too short on the back to avoid possible unravelling with washing etc. 
  5. And as with anything, make sure you're using a nice, sharp needle that is the appropriate size for your thread. If you're having trouble with threads breaking, consider trying a new needle. An 80/12 sharp is a great starting point if in doubt. 
I don't anticipate all these clothes will be sewn up immediately, but it's nice to have them sitting there ready to go next time I'm looking for a quick project. The cutting out and embroidery are the time consuming, annoying bits anyway! Will post more pictures when the clothes are finished!


I finished off these pieces during a mother's day marathon sew. In total, I finished off the pink dress (only needed buttons and button holes), dinosaur vest (dino buttons are just for show), Hawaiian style shorts for the boy and this cute onesie for the cold winter weather that has descended upon us here in Canberra. Let me know what you think - I'm particularly impressed by my model!

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