Embroidery Machine 101

You have to take an introduction to embroidery machine in order to get a permission to use the machine… but here is a quick tutorial on embroidery machine, in case you’ve forgot how to do it after the introduction.

Katti’s introduction handout PDF >> embroidery_machine_introduction

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Software:
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When you open the PC next to the embroidery machine (please log in as “Students”), you will see the embroidery software on the desktop. Double click it. It may take sometime to open the software as it is checking the USB dongle installed inside this PC. If it takes too long to open the software, there is something wrong. Contact the technician in this case.

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In this tutorial, we show how to import jpg image and convert it to embroidery stitches. This is one of the easiest way to design exact shape you desire. You can also draw lines and shapes directly in the software, but the drawing function is not the best in this software. Use your favorite drawing software, save the image as jpeg and bring it into the embroidery software. It can also import Bezier Curve, but this does not work as good.
To import the image, go to Bild Arbeitsflache tab (the left most tab) and import image.

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Now you get the image showing on the screen.

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Now go to the Stick Arbeitsflache tab (the middle tab). It shows the image in the embroidery hoop canvas. If it is too small or too large, scale it by draging the corner of the image. If your hoop size is wrong, go to Rahmen Arbeitsflache and change the hoop size from the option.

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To convert the image to the stitches, click the rainbow looking icon on the toolbox. It is marked with the pink arrow in the screen shot above.

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This will open a window to tell the detail of your stitch conversion. If yo do not want to have the background image as a stitch, select the color of the background on the top right corner of this window. For example, in my case, I do not want to have my white background as a stitch. So I select the white and the background disappears from the preview.

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I click ok, and now my image is converted into stitches. It previews the stitch image in the screen. If you right click the image where the stitch is, it brings up the stitch option window, where you can change the kind of stitch, detail of the stitch (for example, size of the satin stitch, density.. so on).

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You can also apply patterned stitch inside your image. If you click the “Layout” button it brings up the pattern layout in the screen like the screen shot below.

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You can drag the blue part of the pattern layout to change the placement of the each pattern, scale.. so on. When you are done, press enter. You can see the applied pattern on the preview.

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You can also draw a stitch. I’ve selected the fill stitch (red star icon) and draw a blob (sorry, not a good drawing..) next to the “E”. After you close the circle, it automatically apply some stitch. You can go to the blob, right click and change the stitch applied on the blob. As different color is applied on the blog, you can see a new layer on the right side window. This window is showing how many color steps the machine will take when embroidering. If you want the machine to be stitching in certain order, you can apply different colors on sections to control the order. The thread color does not have to be changed when you embroider in the machine. (meaning: if you apply “pink” in the software, you do not have to use “pink thread” in the embroidery machine, unless you want to.)

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When you are done with the design, we need to save it twice. One for you to have working file, so you can come back to the PC and work on it later, and another for the embroidery machine to embroider.

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For you to work on it later, save as .ART60 format. You can save it on desktop/WS2015 folder. You can create a new folder with your name and save it there. Of course, you can save your working date much earlier, for in case the software crashes in the middle of your design process!

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Now we say “save as”, and save a file for the embroidery machine.

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Navigate your saving destination to USB stick, and save it with .EXP format. This will automatically create 3 necessary files on the USB stick with the file name you give.
In general, it is a good idea to not to use space or German alphabet characters on file names.

Preparing the Hoop:
Now we need to prepare the hoop.

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We use backing paper to keep the desired tension on the hoop. We have white backing paper at the eLab. If you want black one or transparent water soluble one (good for lace or organza fabric), Frau Mehlhorn has it in her office.

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Make sure the inner hoop and outer hoop is on same direction. there is a small triangle mark on the bottom of the hoop to indicate the match.

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This is the layer to be put together. Outer hoop (triangle mark on the bottom), backing paper (pealing side up), and inner hoop (triangle mark on the bottom)

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once again, the triangle mark should be on the bottom

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Place the backing paper and inner hoop on the outer hoop and push it in with your palm. The outer hoop size is adjusted to fit the backing paper, so you should be able to just push in. After you push in, the backing paper should be tight like a drum surface.

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Now, peal off the grid paper from the backing paper and reveal the sticky side.

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Stick the fabric you want to embroider on, facing the embroidery side top. Make sure it is not wrinkled. It is a good idea to iron the fabric before sticking it.

Machine:
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Turn on the machine. The switch is next to the power plug inlet. You will see the butterfly image on the screen, and hear the music which you will soon end up hearing hundreds of times:)

Now you need to thread the top thread. Here is a demonstration from Julia. Please make sure you thread in all the hooks and feeders. You can use embroidery thread or any kind of thread for the top thread.

And here is how you set up the bottom thread. Make sure to use only the cotton thread for the bottom! The embroidery threads are too slippery and fragile that it tend to make a jam in the bobbin. You can use matching color cotton thread if you mind it showing on the back side. Normally you can not see the bottom thread from the embroidery (top) side.

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Slide in the hoop. Make sure the leg is on upper position.

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On the left side of the hoop (the triangle side down), there is a lever. Squeeze them together, place it on top of the mechanism underneath and release it. It should make clicking sound and now they are joined in.

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This is how the hoop is placed on the starting point.

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Place your USB stick. Please use the USB stick that is dedicated for the machine (you can find it in the box with all the embroidery machine accessories). In the case you want to use your own USB stick, please make sure to erase all the content and save only the embroidery file in it.

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Choose the USB mark on the screen. It shows the content of the USB stick. choose your design.

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It shows the edit mode. If you need to, you can change the size and layout.. but it is better to do this in software. You say “OK” and it goes in embroidery mode

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The screen changes to embroidery mode. If everything is ok, we start embroidering.

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Lower the leg. If you do not, it will complain.

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Now hold this button for a while until it starts to move.

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It makes few stitches and it stops. This is for the machine to ensure the first few stitches. Cut off the extra thread if there are any hanging out from the first stitch.

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Hold the same button again until it starts to move.

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This time, it goes fast and continues to embroider until the same color embroidery is over.
The time it will take for the machine to finish the color will be shown on the screen. Do not get surprised if it says 20min.. Even it is totally automated, it is a good idea to stay with the machine while it is embroidering. If something starts to go wrong, you will hear the sound change. This will be the time you want to pause the machine and check if the tread is ok, or if there are any bunching up on the bottom thread side.

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To pause the process, you simply press the “return” button (the same button to start the embroidery). Make sure to check which stitch count you are in on the screen.

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After you check the problem, sort it out.. you can start the machine where you have paused or maybe your want to go back few stitches. For this, press the snake like icon

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Then you can use the blue turning knob on the right to adjust the stitch count where you will restart.

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If you want the machine to slow down the stitching speed, adjust the speed by pressing the “M” icon

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When it is done with the color, it will stop and tell you to change the top thread. If you do not need to change the thread, just continue by pressing the “return” button again. It will got to the next color layer design. If you are done, let’s take the hoop out.

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Make sure to lift the leg.

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Squeeze the lever on the side and detach the hoop from the machine

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Rip off the fabric from the backing paper.

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Peal off the extra paper on the back of the embroidery. Some paper will stay inside the embroidery between the fabric and bottom thread.

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Voila! Embroidered “E” finished!

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