Best Embroidery Machine for Shirts and Hoodies

Are you looking for the best embroidery machine for shirts? If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best machines on the market, as well as some things to keep in mind when choosing one.

3 Tips to help you choose an embroidery machine for t-shirts and hoodies

First and foremost, you’ll want to consider your budget. There are a wide range of embroidery machines available, from entry-level models to top-of-the-line options. It’s important to find one that fits your needs and your budget.

Secondly, think about what kind of features you’re looking for. Do you need an embroidery machine that can handle a variety of fabrics? Or are you looking for something specific, like an embroidery machine for shirts?

Finally, take a look at the reviews. There are a number of websites that offer impartial reviews of embroidery machines just like webshops offer their customers reviews. This can be a great way to get an idea of what others think about a particular model.

Keep these things in mind and you’re sure to find the best embroidery machine for your needs.

What things should you consider before embroidering on shirts and t-shirts?

When it comes to embroidering shirts and t-shirts, there are a few key features you’ll want to keep in mind. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a versatile embroidery machine for your shirt or t-shirt:

1. The type of fabric you’ll be working with. Shirt and t-shirt fabrics can vary widely in terms of thickness and texture. You’ll want to make sure your embroidery machine can handle the type of fabric you’re working with.

2. The design you want to embroider. Make sure your machine can accommodate the size and complexity of the design you have in mind.

3. The thread you’ll be using. Different threads will produce different results. Choose a thread that will produce the results you’re looking for.

4. The color of the shirt or t-shirt. The color of the fabric you’re working with will affect the final result of your embroidery. Keep this in mind when choosing the thread colors for your design.

5. The placement of the design. Where you place your design on the shirt or t-shirt will affect how it looks when finished. Consider the placement of your design carefully to get the best results.

By keeping these things in mind, you can choose an embroidery machine that will help you create beautiful shirts and t-shirts that you’ll be proud to wear.

What Machines You Should Avoid Buying to Embroider on Shirts and T-Shirts

Do you want to know my number one tip for anyone looking to buy a new machine to embroider on t-shirts and shirts?

The usable embroidery area of your new machine should always be at least 5” x 7”.

Unless you know you’ll only use your embroidery machine for small motifs or logos, buying a machine with an area less than the above (5” x 7”) isn’t worth whatever savings it may provide versus a machine with a larger embroidery area.

After all, any machine with a larger usable area should be able to easily accommodate smaller hoops and designs, and as the opposite can’t be true, why would you want to limit yourself?

When Does Buying an Shirt Embroidery Machine With a 4″ x 4″ Maximum Makes Sense?

Personally, I can only recommend buying a shirt embroidery machine with a 4” x 4” embroidery area if you know you only want to embroider very small designs like logos. Otherwise, you’ll have to put up with a lot of re-hooping in order to make larger designs a reality, this can make projects take more effort and time to complete overall.

Thus, a machine with a smaller area can be a good option for those that just want to embroider small logos as well as for those that plan on embroidering exclusively on items such as hats and caps. But more on that in our article about embroidery machines for hats and caps.

Embroidery Machines vs Sewing and Embroidery Machines

If you’re looking for a machine that can do both sewing and embroidery, then a sewing and embroidery machine is a good option. However, if you’re only interested in embroidery, then an embroidery machine would be a better choice.

The 7 Best Embroidery Machine for Shirts and Hoodies

Alright, time to learn everything you need about the best embroidery machines in the market.

7. Brother PE535 Embroidery Machine

Ideal for: Perfect for beginners who want to start embroidering logos and small designs.

  • Budget: $
  • Our rating:  
  • Included Feet: Embroidery.


  • Built-in Designs: 80
  • Speed per minute: 400
  • On-Screen Editing: Yes
  • Embroidery Area: 4″ x 4″


This single needle embroidery machine is ideal for you if you just want to do small embroidery and no sewing since it’s an embroidery machine without the sewing features and it’s the improved version of the Brother PE525 adding to the later design a larger LCD screen and 10 more built-in embroidery designs.

Brother PE535
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In general, Brother PE535 is overall a very good entry-level machine and is easy to set up and easy to use. I would personally recommend it to people who want to embroider monograms, labels, or small designs.

Comparing Brother PE535 to Brother SE600, there is no mechanical advantage so the only reason to skip on the sewing features of the SE600 is that you already own a good sewing machine and you know you won’t use your new embroidery machine for sewing purposes.

What you’ll like:
  • Low noise levels
  • Great machine for small jobs
Something to Consider:
  • Embroidery Only – go with the SE600 for added sewing capabilities
  • Small embroidery area

6. Janome 14000 Memory Craft Sewing and Embroidery Machine

Ideal For: Great Choice as a professional embroidery machine for home embroidery businesses.

  • Budget: $$$$$$$$$$
  • Our rating: 


  • Built-in Designs: 350
  • Speed per minute: 1000
  • On-Screen Editing: Yes
  • Embroidery Area: 9.1″ x 11.8″


  • Speed per minute: 1000
  • Decorative Stitches: 400
  • Automatic Needle Threader: Yes
  • Automatic Thread Cutter: Yes

Whether you’re sewing, embroidering, or quilting, the Janome Memory Craft 14000 is simple to use and consistently produces excellent results. While the price is reserved for those with large resources, if you dare to invest in this professional embroidery machine, you can be sure that your expectations will be met and you will get the most out of the experience.

Janome 14000 Sewing and Embroidery Machine
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Furthermore, this high-quality embroidery machine comes with the most thorough manual, and it threads the needle automatically – a function that I know does not always work on other manufacturers. Moreover, its small yet long free arm will allow you to sew in the most difficult spots, with more enthusiasm and lesser itchy eyes, thanks to the light expansion and magnifying lens, which will help you complete your projects quickly.

If you can afford the Janome 14000, you’ll be getting a true workhorse that can do both heavy duty duties and the finest embroidery stitches. If you wish to update your embroidery machine and are used to having tension issues and bird nests, you’ll love spending your time sewing and producing more and more crafts with this embroidery machine because it is so smooth and engaging. Another thing to keep in mind is that this machine is really quiet, so you won’t have to worry about waking up your family if you use it late at night.

Given the size of this machine, the designers incorporated 10 LED lights to ensure that every area is illuminated, whether you’re working on a king quilt or embroidering a t-shirt.
To be honest, the only feature you could wish for – which is included in the next version, the Janome 15000 – is a Wi-Fi connection to upload all of your drawings from your computer to the machine. However, you can save thousands of dollars by getting the Janome 14000 by using a cable.

What you’ll like:
  • A magnifying glass is included, extremely useful for tiny tasks and tired eyes
  • Included is a buttonhole stabilizer plate
  • The Knee Lifter enables you to handle fabric with both hands while lifting the presser foot with a touch of your knee
  • After a thread breakage, the machine will automatically return where it left off
  • Stitch travel feature that can be adjusted in increments of 1, 10, or 100
  • Get rid of snipping loose threads with its jumping thread trimming feature
  • It comes with several embroidery hoop sizes for all your embroidery projects
Something to Consider:
  • You’ll need a large budget
  • It will probably take you a while to learn every detail of this machine as it has more features than you will likely ever use

5. Brother SE1900 Sewing and Embroidery Machine

Ideal for: Perfect for Beginners for its low learning curve. #1 Bestseller in its category.

  • Budget: $$$
  • Our rating:  
  • Included Feet: Buttonhole, Overcasting, Monogramming, Zipper, Zigzag, Stitch Guide, Adjustable Zipper/Piping, Non-Stick, Open Toe, Embroidery, Blindstich.


  • Built-in Designs: 138
  • Speed per minute: 650
  • On-Screen Editing: No
  • Embroidery Area: 5″ x 7″


  • Speed per minute: 800
  • Decorative Stitches: 240
  • Automatic Needle Threader:
  • Automatic Thread Cutter:

This machine is the perfect multipurpose machine from Brother and the cheapest in its range that can efficiently perform embroidery on t-shirts and hats. It’s especially suitable if you are a beginner in the process of learning how to create your first decorated t-shirts and hats.

Brother SE1900
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With Brother SE1900, the maximum embroidery area is 5” x 7” although this machine can use a multi-positional hoop (12” x 5”) for larger designs, unfortunately, it won’t work with an endless hoop.

Maybe one of the reasons why this model has been a #1 Amazon’s bestseller for so long is the quality of embroidery that offers together with its low price.

It is perfect if you are a beginner sewist and when using the right needle size (14), a great tool to create fun designs on baseball caps and hats.

What is the difference between the SE1900 and the PE800? Embroidery wise, they are just the same. On the sewing side, the PE800 is an embroidery only machine while the SE1900 can also sew and has auto tension and My Custom Stitch.

If you create your own embroidery designs, know that this unit can only read .pes or .dst formats which means that you will have to convert them first.

What you’ll like:
  • Best one-in-all machine for beginners
  • Free motion quilting
  • Perfect for home use
  • Cheapest in its range
  • Portable and lightweight
Something to Consider:
  • The maximum embroidery area is 5” x 7”
  • No free arm for sleeves and cuffs

4. Janome MB-4S Four-Needle Embroidery Machine

Ideal for: Home Embroidery Business Owners. High budget.

  • Budget: $$$$$$$
  • Our rating:  
  • Included Feet: Embroidery.


  • Built-in Designs: 50
  • Speed per minute: 10
  • On-Screen Editing: Yes
  • Embroidery Area: 9.46″ x 7.9″


If you are an amateur or a professional with a big budget, this might be your perfect choice. However, for beginners, this machine is a bit pricey.

The Janome MB-4S is the perfect four-needle embroidery machine for all of you wanting to embroider hats and t-shirts. It even has a single head accessory for better working on caps and several hoops to choose from for your t-shirts. This unit makes it ideal for sewists who need a specific machine for this matter.

Janome MB-4S Four Neddle Embroidery Machine
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With this multi-needle machine, you won’t need to flatten any more caps or hats before performing on them, saving you loads of time to invest in other tasks.

It also comes with advanced on-screen editing functions to make it easier for you to edit last minute, stitch counter so the machine knows when it’s time to cut the thread, embroidery area tracing, extra-large bobbin to avoid changing it every other minute, adjustable hoop positioning for a better-looking design, as well as other functions like sensors on the upper thread and the presser foot or stitch-out time indicator.

Regarding the hoop options that can be used, this unit allows four sizes of Janome hoops and six industry-level Tajima hoops to expand your possibilities and embroider any design you want. All these options you have to buy separately, of course.

If you have your own home embroidery business and need an upgrade, this is probably the machine you should have next before going entirely professional and externalizing your production. A big investment that will quickly pay for itself soon enough before giving you big benefits.

And while the Janome MB-4S embroidery machine is the only model in this list that can’t be really considered as a portable embroidery machine, the rest of embroidery machines can be easily carried around, so make sure you read it all.

What you’ll like:
  • It allows professional formats like .jef+, .jef, and .dst.
  • You also have the option, for a bit more money, to go for the Janome MB-7S embroidery seven-needle machine.
  • Single head for hats
  • Time saver thanks to the four needles
  • Jump thread trimming
  • Winds new bobbins while the machine is working
  • Post-thread break auto-return
  • Very easy to learn and use
Something to Consider:
  • Price is quite high for beginners
  • No foot pressure adjustment
  • Embroidery Only

3. Janome 9850 Sewing and Embroidery Machine

Ideal for: High quality for all levels, from Beginner to Advanced Sewers. Perfect for All sort of Crafts.

  • Budget: $$$$
  • Our rating: 


  • Built-in Designs: 175
  • Speed per minute: 800
  • Embroidery Area: 6.7″ x 7.9″


  • Decorative Stitches: 200
  • Speed per minute: 1000
  • Automatic Needle Threader: Yes
  • Automatic Thread Cutter: Yes

If you want a solid, excellent quality sewing machine that also does embroidery and free motion quilting, without spending a big fortune, take a close look at this model.

Janome 9850 Sewing Embroidery Machine
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The Janome 9850 is highly reliable if you are working on advanced projects since it includes sewing features for all kinds of craft projects so you can continue using it on quilts, curtains, clothes or whatever you wish after you are done embroidering your caps and t-shirts.

For you beginners, this machine will help you with all tasks making sewing foolproof. Of course, there is a learning process but its ease-of-use will drop your jaw. Even a five-year-old can use it when watched thanks to the start/stop bottom. Besides, this sewing and embroidery machine comes with a specific on-screen feature where you can click on the T-shirt icon, and it takes you into a techniques menu, that includes appliqué embroidery, guiding you along the way.

To sum up, if you have a high budget and you’ll be sewing and embroidering non-stop, Janome 9850 is your best option. It’s definitely my number one favorite overall machine and can’t wait for people to stop rating it for the price and start focusing on the 5 over 5 price-quality that it offers.

What you’ll like:
  • Free motion quilting
  • Stitches are highly accurate
  • Maximum stitch width of 9mm compared to regular 7mm
  • Up to 3MB of memory storage
Something to Consider:
  • Higher budget

2. Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine

Ideal for: All levels. #1 Bestseller Embroidery Only Machine.

  • Budget: $$
  • Our rating:  
  • Included Feet: Embroidery.


  • Built-in Designs: 138
  • Speed per minute: 850
  • On-Screen Editing: Yes
  • Embroidery Area: 5″ x 7″


The Brother PE800 is the latest embroidery only model and the upgrade of infamous and past bestseller from the brand, PE770.

Brother PE800 Embroidery Only
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The Touch LCD Screen got a nice upgrade from a scale of greys to Color, and it now brings you the possibility to edit your hats and t-shirts designs by allowing you to rotate, mirror image, plus increase and decrease the size of designs. Now you change details last minute and save time from computer editing.

You will also benefit from more than a hundred built-in embroidery designs and high speed of stitches per minute for a fair price.

It happens to be the #1 bestseller on embroidery machines thanks to all its features and its amazing price/quality ratio over quality. Whether you will be embroidering your company’s logo or a t-shirt or onesie for your niece, this unit has you covered since it allows you to use small, medium, and large hoops.

If you already own a PE770 and want to upgrade, know that any hoop you bought for it is compatible and will snap into the Brother PE800.

What you’ll like:
  • Good price for its quality
  • Friendly user
  • Great learning curve for beginners
  • #1 Bestseller for Embroidery Machines
Something to Consider:
  • Embroidery only

1. Janome 500E Embroidery Machine

Ideal for: Highest Quality for All levels. Perfect for Shirts and T-Shirts for its large embroidery area.

  • Budget: $$$
  • Our rating:  
  • Included Feet: Embroidery.


  • Built-in Designs: 160
  • Speed per minute: 860
  • On-Screen Editing: Yes
  • Embroidery Area: 7.9″ x 11″


Janome 500E is both quiet and fast to let the children take their nap and have the garments finished before they gave up. Besides, the quality of stitches will drop your jaw.

Janome 500E Embroidery Only Machine
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This Japanese product is of great value and for a fair price. Also, know that it comes with a maximum embroidery area of 7.9″ x 11″ which allows you embroidering much bigger designs on t-shirts and jacket’s backs.

A drawback for Janome machines is that accessories can be a bit expensive. However, they are made with such quality that it compensates the price by giving you excellent results and you’ll see that it works out of the box like no other.

Janome machines are workhorses. and if you add the fact that this particualr model has one of the biggest embroidery areas in the market, it becomes the perfect tool for your shirts and t-shirts. This machine will last you a lifetime and its quality can only be beaten by industrial embroidery machines. Besides, they offer you more valuable features than any other machine in the same price range.

What you’ll like:
  • Large Embroidery area to fit bigger designs
  • Auto return post thread break
  • Excellent quality stitches
Something to Consider:
  • Embroidery Only
  • Higher price than bestseller Brother PE800

Comparison Chart for Shirts and Hoodies


Brother PE535
Read Review
400 spm*
80 Designs
9 Fonts
4″ x 4″ Area**
NO SEWING– Carrying
– Speed Control
– 10.82 lbs
– 16.5″ x 7.8″
x 12″
– 125mm/ 5″
Arm Length
Check Price

Brother SE1900
Read Review
650 spm*
138 Designs
11 Fonts
5″ x 7″ Area**
850 spm*
240 Stitches
7mm Width
10 Buttonholes
– Free Arm
– Speed Control
– 22.05 lbs
– 17.6″ x9.5″
– 163mm/ 6.4″
Arm Length
Check Price

Janome MB-4S
Read Review
– 800 spm*
– 50 Designs
– 10 Fonts
– 9.46″ x 7.9″ Area**
NO SEWING– Color Remote Screen
– On-Screen Editing
– Bobbin Winding Motor
– Jump Thread Trimming
– Automatic Thread Cutter
– 45.2 lbs
– 17.7″ x 25.6″ x 26.8″
Check Price

Janome 9850
Read Review
– 800 spm*
– 175 Designs
– 2 Fonts
– 6.7″ x 7.9″ Area**
– 1000 spm*
– 200 Stitches
– 6 Buttonholes
– 9 mm Stitch Width
– On-Screen Editing
– Jump Thread Trimming
– Automatic Thread Cutter
– Extra-High Presser Foot Lifter
– Free Arm
– Needle to Arm 8″
– 22.9 lbs
– 18.7″ x8.8″ x12.4″
Check Price

Brother PE800
Read Review
850 spm*
138 Designs
11 Fonts
5″ x 7″ Area**
NO SEWING– On-Screen
– Speed Control
– 13.74 lbs
– 21.8″ x19″
– 210mm/ 8.3″
Arm Length
Check Price

Janome 500E
Read Review
– 860 spm*
– 160 Designs
– 6 Fonts
– 7.9″ x 11″ Area**
NO SEWING– Large Full Color Touch LCD
– Jump Thread Trimming
– Automatic Thread Cutter
– Auto Return Post Thread Break
– 20 lbs
– 26.5″ x 22″ x 21.3″
Check Price

*Speed Per Minute: referring to the number of stitches a machine can perform in a minute.
**Area: referring to the maximum embroidery area that an embroidery machine can reach.

Should you buy an industrial embroidery machine for shirts and hoodies?

If you’re interested in starting a home embroidery business, or simply want to add this fun and lucrative skill to your list of capabilities, you may be wondering if a commercial embroidery machine is worth the investment.

The answer is: it depends. If you plan on mostly embroidering smaller items like shirts, hoodies, and tote bags, a smaller commercial machine may suffice. However, if you want to branch out into larger items like blankets, drapes, or upholstery, you’ll need an industrial machine that can handle these tougher projects.

Tips for Machine Embroidery on T-Shirts

How to machine embroider a shirt?

To embroider machine a shirt, you’ll need a few things before you get started:

  1. A sewing machine that can do embroidery
  2. Embroidery thread
  3. An embroidery hoop
  4. A stabilizer (optional)
  5. A design (either hand-drawn or computer generated)

Now that you have every thing you need, let’s take a closer look at each of the steps to embroider shirts.

First, you’ll need to choose the design you want to stitch onto the shirt. There are many ways to find embroidery designs, including downloading them from the internet or buying them on CD. Once you have your design, load it into the embroidery machine.

Next, position the fabric on the embroidery hoop. Make sure the area you want to embroider is in the middle of the hoop and tightens the screws so that the fabric is taut. Then, select the thread color you want to use for your design.

Now you’re ready to start embroidering! Follow the instructions that came with your machine to start stitching the design onto the shirt. When you’re finished, remove the hoop from the machine and take a look at your handiwork.

With a little practice, you’ll be an embroidery pro in no time!

How to hoop a shirt for embroidery?

Hooping a shirt for machine embroidery is not as difficult as it may seem. There are just a few simple steps you need to follow in order to get the best results.

1. Start by finding the center of the shirt and mark it with a piece of chalk or a water-soluble pen. This will be your starting point.

2. Place the shirt on the embroidery hoop, making sure that the center mark is in the middle of the hoop.

3. Gently pull the fabric taut and secure it in place by tightening the screws on the hoop. Be careful not to over-tighten, as this can damage the fabric.

4. Once the fabric has been secured in place, you can begin sewing the embroidery design. Keep a close eye on your machine to make sure that there are no loops or knots in the thread as you go.

5. Finally, remove the shirt from the hoop and gently press it with an iron to get rid of any wrinkles or creases. Your beautiful embroidered shirt is now ready to wear!​

Digitizing Software – Do you really need it?

These days, it seems like everyone is talking about embroidery digitizing software. But do you really need it? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of digitizing software to help you make a decision.

  • It can save you time by automating the process of converting your analog files into digital ones
  • It can also help you achieve a higher level of accuracy when digitizing, which is important if you’re working with sensitive or critical data
  • It can be expensive, so it’s important to weigh the cost against the benefits before making a purchase
  • Some people find that using it is complex and difficult to use, so it’s important to make sure you’re comfortable with the interface before investing in a program

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to purchase digitizing software depends on your specific needs and budget. If you have a large number of analog files that need to be converted to digital, or if accuracy is critical, then purchasing some embroidery software may be worth the investment. However, if you’re working with a small number of files or you’re comfortable digitizing manually, then you may not need to purchase a program.

Features to consider when choosing an embroidery machine for Shirts and Hats

There are a few factors you’ll want to consider when choosing a shirt embroidery machine.

The first is the size of the machine. You’ll want to make sure that the machine you choose can accommodate the size of your shirt designs. Some machines have a smaller field and some have bigger fields. Think about how many of your drawings will be stitched at a single time.

The second factor is the stitch quality. You’ll want to make sure that the machine you choose can produce high-quality stitches.

The third feature you must consider is the speed per minute. Depending on how many designs you want to stitch a day, it might be interesting to invest in a higher speed of stitches per minute which will translate into more designs stitched a day. Of course, with higher speed comes a higher price.

And finally, you’ll want to consider the price. You’ll want to find a machine that fits your budget and that offers good value for the money.

By considering these factors, you can be sure to find an embroidery machine that’s right for you.

How do I stabilize my t-shirt for embroidery?

There are a few things you can do to stabilize your t-shirt for embroidery. You can use an adhesive spray, iron-on interfacing, or sew-on interfacing. Adhesive spray is the easiest to use, but it can be a bit messy. Iron-on interfacing is more time consuming, but it gives a nicer finish. Sew-on interfacing is the most difficult to use, but it is the most durable.

To use adhesive spray, simply spray the back of your t-shirt where you want the embroidery to go. Then place your stabilizer on top of the sprayed area and smooth it out. Let it dry for a few minutes before beginning your embroidery.

To use iron-on interfacing, first cut a piece of interfacing that is slightly larger than your design. Place the interfacing on the wrong side of the t-shirt, and then position your design on top of it. Use an iron to press the interfacing onto the shirt, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Once it’s cool, you’re ready to embroider!

Sew-on interfacing is a little more difficult to use, but it will give your embroidery a very professional look. First, cut a piece of interfacing that is slightly larger than your design. Place the interfacing on the wrong side of the t-shirt, and then position your design on top of it. Use a sewing machine to stitch the interfacing onto the shirt, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Once it’s cool, you’re ready to embroider!


We have covered every factor you require for choosing the best embroidery machines for t-shirts and shirts that you can also use for hoodies and sweatshirts, so have a nice shopping and happy sewing!

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Can you use an embroidery machine on a shirt?

Yes, you can use an embroidery machine on a shirt. You’ll just need to make sure that the shirt is made of a fabric that the embroidery machine can handle. Some machines can only handle certain types of fabrics, so it’s important to check before you start embroidering. Generally, though, most embroidery machines can handle shirts just fine.

What do you need to embroider a shirt?

You’ll need a few things to get started embroidering a shirt with an embroidery machine. Of course, you’ll need the shirt itself, as well as an embroidery machine and some thread. You may also want to invest in some stabilizer, which will help keep your design looking sharp and prevent it from getting lost in the fabric of the shirt.
Once you have all of your supplies, you’ll need to prepare the shirt for embroidery. Start by washing and drying the shirt, then ironing it to remove any wrinkles. Next, you’ll need to hoop the shirt. This simply means attaching it to the embroidery hoop that comes with your machine. Once the shirt is hooped, you’re ready to start embroidering!

What is the easiest embroidery machine to use?

The easiest embroidery machine to use might be one that is fully automatic. These machines will load the thread and fabric, position the design, and stitch it out for you. If you are someone who is just starting out with embroidery, an automatic machine might be a good option for you. Of course, there are also many high-quality manual embroidery machines on the market that are very easy to use. It really just depends on your personal preferences.

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