Machine Vs. Hand Embroidery: How To Tell The Differences

What is Embroidery?

Embroidery is an art of ornamenting fabric and other types of material using a needle and a thread. Often times, yarn is used. Aside from thread and yarn, embroidery also makes use of other decorative materials such as sequins, quills, beads and pearls. As you may have noticed today, embroidery is everywhere and you probably have seen it on hats, coats, caps, stockings, golf shirts, dresses and even on denim.

The beauty of embroidery is that it comes in a variety of colors so whatever design or pattern you have in mind, you can be sure that it will be achieved because of the wide range of yarn and thread colors available. If you are a newbie at embroidery, you need to know the basic stitching techniques such as the running stich, cross-stitch, chain stitch, satin stitch and buttonhole stitch among others. It is crucial that you know these basic stitches when starting your embroidery journey.

How Did It Start?

The history of embroidery dates back to 30,000 BC during the Cro-Magnon era. An archeological discovery found remains of hand-stitched boots, a hat and clothing. In 5000 and 6000 BC in Siberia, intricately drilled shells were stitched into animal hides. In China, thread embroidery goes way back to 3500 BC where pictures show embroidery designs on clothes using silk thread, pearls and precious stones.

In the 1100s, it was found that people used seed pearls and sewed them on vellum. In 1200 until 1300s, beads were decorated on clothes. By the time it reached 1500 AD, more lavish designs were made in Europe and the rest of the world. it was only during the 1700 when bead and thread design increased in popularity.

The Most Popular Types of Embroidery Design

  • Clothing Embroidery – this is by far the most popular embroidery design to date. If you don’t know how to make one, you can order it from embroidery boutiques or you can purchase one online. There are online sites that sell digital designs and patterns that you can download once paid but you’ll be the one to sew it in your garments. If you are considering how to minimize clothing expenses for your children, try this method. There are also computerized machine embroidery designs that make use of technology instead of hand to sew the decorative materials into the fabric.
  • Household Embroidery – this type of embroidery design is usually found in household garments and is crafted by professionals because of the intricacy and detail it demands. Examples of such embroidery include bed sheets, mats and carpets. Another reason why professionals are known to make household embroidery is because of its huge size.
  • Logo Embroidery – this type of embroidery design is commonly found in sweatshirts, jackets and T-shirts and is crafted by professionals because of the strictness of the outlines, size and texts. You can order it online and have it custom-made.

Two Types of Embroidery Designs

Do you know that there are two types of embroidery designs? There is the machine embroidery design and the hand embroidery design.

Machine versus Hand Embroidery

The difference between the machine embroidery design and the hand embroidery design lies in the stitching processes utilized. Hand embroidery makes use of a number or stiches and a variety of fabrics and thread. Each output is unique depending on the person who did the embroidery. Machine embroidery, on the other hand, follows a unified pattern. Each piece is similar to the rest and the artwork is uniformed.

Machine Embroidery

Machine embroidery is a result of technology. The designs are uploaded in a computer program, which regulates the stitching process on the machine. All of the designs are similar. All stitches are identical therefore you can expect that the end results are exactly the same. You cannot detect the creativity of the one stitching it unlike in hand embroidery where you can really see the passion of the stitcher towards the craft. The design will follow whatever the computer dictates.

Hand Embroidery

Hand embroidery, as the name implies, is a manual way of stitching embroidered designs into the fabric. The threads used are usually made of metallic, polyester and rayon. It is very rare to achieve a dimensional look design with hand embroidery. What makes this special is the effort, time and energy invested to make one embroidered piece. Unlike the machine-generated designs, hand embroidery is made with passion and love – a work of art.

Both designs are amazing. If you are torn between a hand-embroidered design and a machine embroidered design, go back to what you need. If you need a lot of designs produced, go for the machine but if you are more concerned about the artwork, we suggest you go for a hand-embroidered design.