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Embroidery | My Stitchin' Business
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Embroidery Expo

Not long ago, I received and email from the National Network of Embroidery Professionals. While I don’t belong to their organization at this time, they sent information about their Embroidery Trade Show. The dates are March 30-31, 2012, and it’s going to be at the Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron, Ohio. (Resort??? It’s sounding better all the time!)
They’re going to have demonstrations where you’ll be able to see equipment in action. It’s also for people who have a heat press, screenprint, or digital garment print businesses.
Their website is www.NNEP.net.
Anybody out there planning on attending?

To Digitize, or Not To Digitize?

Pay for designs can be a hassle and you can’t always find what you’re looking for. Or, if you’re ready to branch in to more corporate and business attire, then you’re going to need specific logos digitized. So, which is better, sending the design out for digitizing or learning to do it yourself?

Contracting a digitizer to create the designs for you is a respectable answer. There are several benefits to this method:
1. You get to spend more time embroidering
2. You can spend more time attracting new business
3. You save on the cost of the software
4. There is no time wasted learning to digitize
5. There are fewer materials wasted with test sewing designs
6. You can pass the digitizing cost onto the buyer, so there is no profit loss for you

If your business requires the occasional digitized design, then the investment is probably not a good business decision. In this case it would be more cost effective to have the work done by a contract digitizer.
On the other hand, if your business is taking on more custom work, then digitizing may be the right thing for you to grow your business. The upfront cost for the software can be high, so really research which program is right for your needs. Also, don’t focus too much on the finished samples, a good digitizer can get great designs from any program, you’ll want to look at the features the program offers – don’t get a program that only has a auto-digitizer, you’ll need the manual punch tools.

Here are some benefits to digitizing:
1. Control over your designs – final look, size, quality, etc.
2. More control over timing, you’re not waiting for someone else to deliver the design to finish the product
3. Less management as you only have to manage you and not a contracted service
4. Extra money in your pocket from the consumer as you don’t have to pass the digitizing fee on to someone else

Lastly, when it comes to digitizing, the quality of what you put in affects the quality of your stitched item. Be careful when clients provide you artwork, your digitizing can only be as good as the artwork provided.

While there is a learning curve with digitizing your own designs, the work can be quite rewarding. And, as you get better at the process, it can be less time consuming. The decision is ultimately yours to make, but you should base it off your business needs.

John Deer, the Embroidery Guru

If you’ve been thinking about starting your own embroidery business – or if you just love embroidery – then you won’t want to miss an exciting event with John Deer.  A third generation embroidery guru, John Deer grew up in the Schiffli industry and was trained in the “old world” manual stitch-by-stitch punching techniques. Over the last 20 years, John has produced trendy and fashionable stock designs, re-created vintage free-standing lace patterns, and filmed numerous instructional DVDs. John has taught hundreds of seminars on digitizing, and embroidery techniques, and written more than 50 articles for trade publications in North America and in Europe.

If you are interested in attending a John Deer event in your area click here for a schedule. They are also frequently posted in the events section of this site.

Embroidery Professional Plus

Just getting your business started? Looking for a great machine to embroider multiples with ease? The Baby Lock Embroidery Professional Plus 6 needle machine is right up your ally.

With a 200mm x 300mm hoop you can embroidery large letters or big designs. The front load bobbin allows you to use pre-wound bobbins, saving you the time and hassle of winding your own.

The Embroidery Professional Plus is great for just starting your home business. This versatile machine can allow you to run smaller, 6-colored designs with ease. Visit your local Baby Lock retailer for a test drive.

Baby Lock Embroidery Machines

All Baby Lock machines and products are sold through Authorized Baby Lock Retailers. Baby Lock does not sell products online; only an Authorized Retailer can ensure the authentic warranty, utmost in quality and fair prices for every purchase.

Retailers are more than just helpful men and women who sell machines… they are trained sewing experts who will always be there to answer questions, introduce new products and demonstrate exciting new features and technology.

Retailers are a great resource for learning new techniques and trends – or even learning how to sew in the first place. Various classes are held at Baby Lock stores, as well as Educational Events hosted by Baby Lock Education Experts.

They also offer Gold Standard comprehensive care, which provides repair services and parts replacement on select machines. It’s Baby Lock’s Promise to you that you can always sew with peace of mind.

Remember, if you see a Baby Lock machine or product for sale online, it is not a sale endorsed by Baby Lock and does not include the authentic Baby Lock warranty. Unauthorized merchants and second parties may be selling machines that are damaged or used at seemingly lower prices. To ensure the highest quality in your purchase as well as ongoing support, visit your local Baby Lock Retailer. Click here to find a retailer store near you.

Embroidery Success — Your Plan

We’ve broken down some of the information you’ll need to think about before starting your business. Here are some key topics:

Who Are You Going To Target?

Monogramming and embroidery has boomed in the last several years, so where are you going to focus your attention? To help you out, think of what other things you enjoy – your children, riding horses, outings to the lake, martial arts, cars, etc. There is an opportunity in all of these hobbies for embroidery, so start with what you already know and build off your current contacts.

Also consider what items in your target consumers might bring to you for embroidery. A polo shirt isn’t that difficult to embroider, but a bat bag requires more patience and practice.

Another thing to consider is if you’re going to create the items you embroider or purchase blanks. Sewing the items yourself is more unique, but this also takes a considerably more time. Buying blanks, while faster, can also limit you – you have limited options and the price of your finished item may not be as flexible.

Getting The Right Machine

Lucky for you, Baby Lock has two multi-needle machines in their line. The Enterprise is a 10-needle computerized embroidery machine. The accessories for this machine vary from a 100 x 100 hoop to a 360 x 360 hoop and with its ease of use, you’ll be embroidering in no time. The Embroidery Professional is the 6-needle computerized embroidery machine. With many of the same features as the Enterprise, this is another great machine for your business.

Not ready for a multi-needle machine? No problem. Baby Lock offers a wide variety of single needle sewing and embroidery machines. While your work will take a little longer with these machines, you can still finish with professional results.

Making the investment in an embroidery machine is the largest hurdle, so visit your local Baby Lock retailer and inquire about their special financing offers.

Selecting The Perfect Software

The machine is the first major item you’re going to need. Software is the second. There is no doubt you’re going to make customized items, and to do this you’re going to need the right software program. We recommend two different brands:

Baby Lock Palette 9 – digitizing and design editing software. Palette 9 has a linking function that allows you to link certain machines to your software program.

Designer’s Gallery Software:

  • MasterWorks II – digitizing, lettering and editing software
  • LetterWorks III – lettering software
  • MonogramWorks – monogramming software (smaller price point and limited features)
  • Studio III – design organization software
  • SizeWorks – design sizing software

Deciding if digitizing designs is right for you is another topic that we’ll discuss later. You have to walk before you can run, so getting down the basics is an important first step. Plus, as you become more familiar with the embroidery process and watch designs stitch, you’ll start to notice patterns and techniques for digitizing.


Your Baby Lock retailer can get you started with machine know-how. Baby Lock and Designer’s Gallery offers online software training on all the software products mentioned above.

We’ll be posting maintenance videos, tutorials and how-to videos on an ongoing basis on this site to help you as you begin your new business.


Apart from your machine you’ll need other supplies. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Thread
  • Stabilizer
  • Blanks
  • Machine accessories
  • Embroidery designs
  • Embroidery software
  • Customer service

How are you going to reach your customers? One online option includes creating a store page on Etsy.com, an online community that sells all things homemade.

Marketing Your Business

As with any business, the best advertisement is a satisfied customer – word of mouth advertising is king. But, here are some more ideas:

  • Consider a referral program for current customers.
  • Network through community involvement.
  • Always carry business cards.
  • Talk to everyone, including strangers, while standing in line; you never know if they’ll need your services.
  • Send every customer away with a  business card; they’ll be more likely to pass it along.
  • Research craft shows in your area, get or even share a booth and market your item directly.
  • Be sure to have your business cards in the booth and provide one to every customer that makes a purchase.
  • Have an online presence. While an online site with the ability for consumers to buy online is great, at the very least you need a page that informs consumers of who you are, what you do and some images of your work. If nothing else, create an ebay or Etsy store and post your service to craigslist.


The best way to find out what hooping techniques and stabilizer to use is by practice. Baby Lock and Sewing and Craft Club both have great reference charts for when to use which stabilizer, but you might not always find that to work for you.

Buying designs online is the easiest way to get what you need for your client, but you cannot always guarantee great quality. It’s best to test sew each of the designs you purchase, to ensure they’re up to your standards.

These are just a few thoughts to get you started. And, once you get the ball rolling, you’ll likely think of many things we missed. Let us know if we’re missing anything important here!

Need An Embroidery Machine?

So, what embroidery machine do you need to get your business going or to grow your current business? Do you need a single needle, six needle or ten needle machine? You’re in luck, because Baby Lock offers them all!

Embroidery Professional Plus - Baby Lock embroidery MachinesThe six needle machine, Embroidery Professional Plus, is great for easy projects that have only a few thread changes. And, because the way the machine is built, you can easily hoop and embroider bags, shirts, hats and more!

Need something bigger to handle larger, multi-colored designs, then the ten needle machine, Enterprise, is for you. The larger 360mm x 360mm hoop allows you great versatility and, with ten needles, you can stitch more detailed designs in less time.

Don’t have the cash to drop on a new big machine? Visit your local Baby Lock retailer and see what seasoned or open stock machines are available. Also, be sure to ask about special financing and promotions — you never know what deal they might have.

The bottom line is, you are going to need a machine that will work with you as you grow your business. Select a machine that will work with you, while you pay it off. Then, start thinking about what machine is next!

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