The Best Embroidery Machines are a crucial element in clothing design. Regarded as the art of creating unique designs through stitching fabrics with strands of yarn or thread, embroidery is an art that we can only get better at. Think of embroidery as the technique involving the use of colored stitches for unique fabrics and fabric designs. Embroidery is regarded as the highest level of personalization when in the clothing design world.
While there are advanced embroidery techniques and mastery applied today as a result of the use of advanced embroidery machines, traditional embroidery skills and techniques are still applied in the clothing fashion industry. Take the most expensive sequin dresses worn on red carpets by celebrities, for example, these Dior, Givenchy, Versace, Calvin Klein, Armani Prive, and Alexander McQueen. Dresses worth thousands of dollars are often handmade to fit the custom design needs of the fashion house and the celebrities’ bodies.ƒ
Above everything else, these dresses would not come to light without the use of the best techniques in embroidery. Embroidery is pegged on so much more, and buying the best Brother, Toyota, Janome, or Ricoma machine goes a long way towards creating the design masterpieces.
Looking back in history, traditional embroidery machines existed for centuries, and it wasn’t until approximately 200 years ago that the new machines were developed. Now, if you have been keen on the embroidery world, you are aware of the Singer machines. Well, while the first hand-embroidery machine was created in France in 1828 by Josue Heilmann of Mulhouse, it wasn’t until 18 years later that the first sewing machine got its patent.
The first patent was issued to Isaac Singer in 1846, hence the Singer brand. Since this development, there have been several advancements, and today, we have 15-needle embroidery machines along with single-head machines. It is commonplace to find an embroidery machine that spools multiple threads at the same time.
With all these design and functional advancements, how do you choose the best embroidery machine? What makes an excellent embroidery machine? And for the individuals on the fence, is embroidery a good line of business? Is the best embroidery machines used for custom designs the same as the embroidery machine used in other clothing designs?
People do different things for different reasons, and embroidery is famous for the following reasons:
- Embroidery enhances the natural appearance of clothes, and the clothes won’t like they were mass-produced.
- It adds value to the clothing designs. Embroidery designs involve hundreds of stitches coming together to create intricate and colorful masterpieces. As a result of the uniqueness and the work that goes into these designs, embroidered clothes command very high prices in the retail and local stores.
- Keeping up with trends – the embroidered clothes are some of the trendiest items of fashion.
What is the Difference Between Embroidery and Sewing?
Embroidery and sewing are important arts, but they come with subtle differences. While sewing involves putting together garments to be worn by women, children, and men, embroidery as an art is more focused on decorating garments and fabrics.
In sewing faces and edges of fabrics will be joined together to form garments; this craft has been known and used by humankind since ancient times – we are talking about the Early Man ages when grasses and fur were used to stitch hides and skins of animals to create some form of clothing. In ancient times, stones and animal bones were used as sewing equipment. Today, these things are replaced by fabric, yarn, threads, scissors, and sewing machines. The stitches are, as a result, smaller and stronger.
Embroidery, on the other hand, involves the use of threads and needles to come up with beautiful designs and patterns over fabrics. By nature, embroidery is more decorative, and it creates raised patterns over fabrics to beautify waistlines, necklines, and in other cases, entire garments.
However, both arts make use of threads and needles, even though they require the use of different skill sets. Also, both crafts can be completed by hand or with the use of a machine.
The other differences between embroidery and sewing include:
- Creation of stitches that hold faces and edges of fabrics
- Necessary for garments to be produced, hence sewing is a more functional craft
- Constructive craft
- Creation of raised patterns and designs over the fabric
- Decorative not functional
- Decorative craft
- Expensive art
Types of Stitches
To create distinct embroidery patterns, there are specific types of stitches used – the backstitch, chain stitch, cross-stitch, and satin stitch. Thanks to these stitching techniques, embroidery is the craft employed to place monograms and logos on towels and hats. All that is made possible by the use of a thread called the embroidery floss that comes in different textures and colors.
Buying Guide – What You Need to Know Before Buying the Best Embroidery Machines
Types of Machines
With advancements in technology, there has been a high level of improvement around embroidery, and now there are robust computerized machines for embroidery. But even with the changes all around embroidery, there are times when you will need the less sophisticated options, which is why you need to know more about your options.
If you are getting into the business exclusively, and whether you will be working from home or an embroidery store, one of the primary investments you will have to make is in the best embroidery-only machine. This machine is dedicated to embroidery only, and it’s good at it. Since it’s a dedicated machine, you get to do other things as the machine runs automatically. The work turnover rate is high with this machine, which means more happy clients.
The embroidery-only machines can be single-needle or multi-needle.
Single-Need Embroidery Machines
The single-needle machine is the most basic of the machines, and it looks a lot like the traditional machines thanks to its removable embroidery unit and the flat-bed design. It is, therefore, easier to use, and you could use it to create elaborate, intricate designs, general stitching, or you could use the machine to recreate the computerized designs.
You can tell a single-needle machine quite quickly because it has one head with the thread, bobbin, needle, and all other important accessories. When in use, the needle is stationary as the embroidery arm recreates the computerized design. It also features a single point for hoop attachment, although the machine will have significantly low hoop capabilities in comparison to the multi-needle machines.
Regarding its speed, the single-needle machines embroider at an average speed of between 300 and 1000 stitches/minute (SPM).
Multi-Needle Embroidery Machines
The growth of the fashion industry has seen an increase in the use of multi-needle embroidery machines, in comparison to the use of single-needle machines. Essentially, this machine is a good investment for people who are serious about the creation process for their designs.
Most of the machines allow the use of between 4 -15 needles, and the best part is that each of the needles holds a thread in its color. One of the impressive features/ functions of these machines is that you get to switch the color options, a function absent in the single-needle machines: when using a single-needle machine, you have to take out one thread then replace it with a different color thread.
The other difference is performance and speed. The multi-thread machines run at a high speed of between 400 and 1000 SPM, they come with two hoop attachments, and that means more versatility around embroidering hoops.
Combined embroidery-sewing machines
These are also called computerized machines, and they are the perfect mix of single and multi-thread machines. For the dual functions, these machines have adjustable settings, and you get to choose either, depending on what you need to do.
This machine will be an excellent investment option for you if you need a machine that sews and embroiders, especially if you need one for personal use. The combo design saves time and space, and they are often very affordable.
If you are a budding fashion designer, you understand that a single machine would be incapable of supporting all your design functions. You need different machines because they come with different abilities and strengths, enhancing your ability to come up with unique patterns and to be able to complete your designs on time.
With that in mind, you need to consider different types of machines. We look at the main types below.
With this machine, what you get is exactly what you ask for. Its embroidery is of a free-motion design, and that gives you complete control over the needle size, the machine’s direction, as well as the stitching. So, if you are looking for a machine that gives you the power to control the process, with zero control given to the machine, this would be an excellent option for you.
Note, however, that for this to happen, you must be adept with sophisticated sewing skills. The need for advanced skills is also the reason why this machine embroidery is ideal for beginners. In essence, free-motion embroidery is difficult to learn because it teaches you everything else you need to know, including quilting and painting.
If you are not ready for all the manual embroidery work that comes with the free-motion machine and you can afford the computerized machine embroidery, this is for you.
This machine is rather expensive compared to your other options. Still, it comes with several impressive features, including the option to store your fashion design for later use, as well as the fact that some of these machines accept pre-loaded designs in cars loaded into them. If you want to make the most out of your projects, this would be a good option for you.
Note that for you to use the computerized machine, you have to follow the following steps:
- Create your digital designs
- Make a stitch file from the design the upload the stitch file
- Make then prepare your settings
- Place your fabric on the hoop frame
- Turn on the machine
There are electronic, computerized, and mechanical embroidery machines.
Choosing the best embroidery machines – Top Features to Look for in the Machine
Now that you know what your options are, let’s look at some of the things you should consider before buying the best machine for you.
Functionality and intended purpose
Are you looking for a machine to use exclusively for embroidery, sewing, or both? Should you opt for a combo embroidery/sewing machine, you’d also have to determine the type of sewing that works best for you between the specialized, straightforward, and constructive sewing options.
This width is the distance between your needle and the body of your machine. This distance influences the efficiency of the machine – the performance of the machine is higher with a bigger throat width, and smaller throat width machines are frustrating.
The machine you choose should have a hoop size that matches the scope of the project. The hoop sizes range from about 100×100 to 360×350, but a 100×100 is good for small home stitching projects. However, you’d need a bigger hoop size for bigger projects. The number of hoops is also an important consideration.
If you opt for the high-end machine, ensure that it comes with specialized software, which gives you total control over the whole process and the results.
Ease of use
The machine’s use/ functions should match your skill level.
You are better off with a machine that offers multiple features. For example, is the embroidery unit separate from the main machine, and such a machine could be used for quilting and sewing, besides embroidery.
Other features include
- A large selection of fonts, and also check the number of built-in alphabets offered
- A large LCD screen, preferably a color touch screen
- What else can it do? Can you use it to embroider more than one design on the screen?
- Can you transfer your designs to the machine?
- Can the machine sew?
- Does the brand/ store offer classes or detailed user guides?
- Are there onsite technicians that provide all-year-round services?
- Budget – there is a machine for everyone, and you will find something good for your budget
- Finally, the best machines come with a USB port.
Reasons for Starting an Embroidery Business
- Low supply costs – a 5000m embroidery thread goes for $7, and it will last a very long time
- It takes little space, and a most single-head machine would fit most spaces
- It’s not a messy business
- Your customers are all over, and your only job is to make them happy
- Relatively low startup costs
- This business means that you get paid for your creativity
- It’s profitable
- The equipment is portable
- Easy to upgrade or trade-in machines
Is an Embroidery Business Profitable?
The embroidery business can be very profitable, especially if you kick it off from home because you won’t have to pay rent until you grow and find it necessary to rent out extra space, then you’d have to pay rent and labor. The utility fees would also go up; you need to think of taxes.
But over and above these operational costs, running an embroidery business is quite profitable, especially if you tap into your creativity, keep your customers happy, and come up with unique designs. You should also be careful not to make common (but costly) mistakes like getting an entire order wrong. Finally, do your research to ensure that you are sourcing high-quality supplies, affordably.
TOP 11 Best Embroidery Sewing Machines in 2021: Reviews and Buyers Guide
1. Brother Innov-is XJ1 ($6,000.00)
Brother is a brand that is synonymous with quality, they have been producing excellent products for a very long time, and the Innov-is XJ1 is no exception.
This is a truly powerful machine that is versatile enough to work both in personal and professional settings. Quite easy to interact with and filled with all the features that you would expect from a high-end product such as this.
The huge embroidering space is truly great to have and will not go to waste, but add to that the fact that you can design right in the machine using the built-in display and you have a killer combo.
2. Brother Innov-is XE1 ($3,575.00)
Brother Innov-is XE1 Embroidery is very specifically designed by professionals with one goal in mind: Provide an embroidery experience that benefits from state-of-the-art technology to help you go beyond expectations.
The XE1 has only one function, but it performs it magnificently. It comes equipped with a built-in screen that is very comfortable to use due to its high resolution, and the machine is packed with a lot of pre-loaded designs and even a great amount of instructional videos that you can watch right there.
All the right specifications and innovation packed into this machine make it an ideal choice for dedicated embroidery.
3. Brother Innov-ís VM5200
A great way to either enter or continue down the path of embroidering, the Brother VM5200 offers a lot of excellent features. Its 7-inch screen is very noticeable right from the start because of its high definition and crisp images. This enables you to work directly on the machine, and its operation is very clear and simple. The machine itself works very well and has a very respectable embroidering platform that will surely allow you to work on medium and bigger projects. Because of its functionality and ease of use, it is very recommendable to newcomers and experienced users alike.
4. Brother Innov-ís VE2300
This machine is aimed at users looking for a step up from an entry-level embroidering machine. It will be able to work reliably and fast on bigger projects due to its speed and the size of the embroidering area. Another thing to consider is that the digital interface is very well designed and thought-out to offer a simple way to interact with the machine and configure everything you might need. It also comes pre-loaded with a huge amount of presets that you can mix and match with your designs to make your process even faster. Great features at a reasonable price.
5. Toyota ESP 9000. Single-head, 15-needle machine ($5,243.00)
The ESP 9000 is a very powerful machine that is perfect for anyone looking to add to their workshop the ability to produce professional embroidery at excellent speeds. It is specially designed for home business in mind.
Because of its size and shape, it does not take a lot of space to operate properly, and yet it is capable of working very fast. It can also work on sizeable projects due to its working table.
Operation is simple enough once you learn the basics and can be set to work on long projects without fear of overheat or other issues.
6. Toyota ESP9100NET. single-head, 15-needle machine ($6,296.50)
For the price of a consumer product, you can get this excellent professional piece of equipment in less money that has been working very well for users around the world for several years now.
The main allure of the ESP9100NET is its incredible quality and the speed that it can work in the sewing process. It is very much intended for professional settings, and all the features packed in it speak to that fact.
This specific Toyota model offers a great deal of freedom, ease, and customization so that you have the flexibility to tackle any sewing project you get.
7. Janome MB-7. single-head, 7-needle machine ($4,543.00)
The Janome MB-7 takes cues from bigger professional machines to offer a good deal of convenience and flexibility, and at the same time, it is quite affordable and can be fitted in small spaces.
This is a good thing for shops that may not have the resources or space required to house the bigger machines on the market, but still need to be able to produce professional results in acceptable schedules.
Janome MB-7 itself seems to work very well and we have not experienced any technical difficulties at the time of writing. We have received no troubling reports so far either.
8. ZSK sprint 6. 12 needles, single-head machine ($8,400.00)
When it comes to professional embroidery equipment you cannot go wrong with this ZSK model if you choose.
It is very powerful indeed and capable of excellent creative results in very short times. It will work for many hours before ever showing signs of wear, this is an excellent investment for professionals to add it to a professional embroidery shop.
Its price is reasonable taking into consideration the excellent features packed in this product. As is the case with this type of high-quality equipment the machine comes with an excellent-sized work table, it will be enough for bigger embroidery projects.
9. Ricoma Em-1010. 10-Needle, single-head machine ($6,293.00)
10 needles, excellent build quality, extremely fast, very powerful software that is easy to use, and professional design are just a few of the qualities that are present on this Ricoma embroidering machine.
This is a machine to take seriously if you are considering one. It is priced very well considering everything that comes with it, too, so if you are hunting for a professional embroidering solution make sure you check the Ricoma Em-1010, it could be just what you are looking for.
It has been performing very well during our time with it and it seems to enjoy excellent reviews online, as well.
10. Ricoma MT-1501. 15- Needle, single-head machine ($7,143.50)
If you are looking for a professional embroidery machine, with a very big working space and that works at blazing-fast speeds you need to look no further than the MT-1501. The fifteen needles on this machine ensure that you will be done in record times and with excellent precision.
It is a machine that is aimed at professionals, which is why its operation requires some experience. Once you know how to operate it you will benefit from all the excellent features packed in this machine, and at a very reasonable price. Worth every penny if you need to add professional equipment of this kind to your shop.
11. Melco Amaya XT. 16- Needle, single-head machine ($5,730.00)
The Amaya XT manages to combine a compact design that will fit in most workspaces with many professional features. You will find 16 needles here that work very fast, and they can be configured to do just about any task you can think of thanks to the amount of flexibility that it offers.
It is very reasonably priced to compete with the bigger brands out there, so this could be a good deal for anyone in need of equipment that is at the professional level without having to invest too much. This is a great choice and should be seriously considered when choosing your next professional embroidery solution.
The best embroidery machines above are the best on the market and using the guide above, and you will come to a sound decision. Just make sure to check the sizes, the number of hoops, embroidery options, editing functions, control, and whether the machine is easy to use or not. You might want to schedule some classes though and always read the manual, preferably after attending classes or watching all the online tutorials you can find.