How to machine embroider

Machine embroidery adds flair and a special touch to lots of different things from clothing to household items. There are two options for machine embroidery.

One is to invest in a sewing machine that is only an embroidery machine and does nothing else other than sew beautiful embroidery embellishments onto fabric. These machines are expensive.

The other option is to use a regular sewing machine to sew embroidered embellishments onto fabric. This is called free motion embroidery and it involves using a darning foot to construct and fill in your design with your regular sewing machine.

Here are some instructions for free motion embroidery with your regular sewing machine.

Find a simple image that you would like to embroider. For the purposes of learning this process, choose something that is about 3 inches by 3 inches in size and not too intricate. Notice how many colours will be necessary to embroider your design also, and do not choose a design that has more than six colours to start with.

Trace your chosen image onto the freezer paper.

Place the freezer paper onto the embroidery fabric. For the purposes of learning this process, simple muslin is a good fabric to use. Iron the freezer paper lightly onto the fabric to adhere it.

Place the fabric with the freezer paper affixed to it into the sewing machine. Lower the feed dogs and insert the darning foot. Begin to fill in one area of the image with small stitches. Sew slowly and be prepared to stop if necessary.

Continue to fill in the different parts of the image with embroidery stitching, changing thread colours as necessary. The last thing to stitch is an outline around the entire image. Remove the fabric from the sewing machine when finished.

Pull the freezer paper away from the fabric carefully to reveal your finished embroidery design on the fabric.


A good place to find suitable images for this embroidery technique is by searching for images in Google. Download ones you like and they can be resized and changed to images with only lines in a photo editing program.

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing notions
  • Scissors
  • Freezer paper
  • Iron
  • Pencil
  • Fabric
  • Embroidery thread of the colours necessary for design
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About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.