Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Patches and other Stuff

For those of you wondering why I haven't been posting, it is because I have been working on trying to do something that my embroidery machine isn't made for.  I got a bunch of requests to make patches or something like it, and have been screwing around trying to make it happen.

Well, after a lot of testing, broken needles, and 1 broken machine , I figured out how to make patches without breaking anything.  I also found out that Amazon stocks my machine, so I was able to buy a replacement and have it overnighted.  Go amazon.

When I made the first one, (Rarity's cutie mark by the way) I couldn't believe how well it came out.  I have been trying other designs, and the above Cutie Mark Crusaders patch was asked about a few days ago and I just finished it.  Looks pretty good if I do say so myself.

The bad thing about these designs is that there is a very high possibility that a normal embroidery needle will break due to the sheer amount of thread involved. Generally, the maximum amount of thread layers that an embroidery machine would sew though is 3.  More than that, and you risk breaking needles or other funkyness like skipping stitches. These require 2 or 3 times the normal amount of stabilizer, and there are extra layers of thread in the design to hold it together for durability.  In some cases, up to 7 layers. These are almost an 1/8th of an inch thick.  Normal for a patch, but not for a home embroidery machine.   After I broke about 20 needles, I finally figured out I needed a special type of embroidery needle with a special shape, low deflection, and super strength.  It's basically a commercial needle that is machined to fit a home embroidery machine.

Once made, there is also a good amount of cleanup that needs to happen (cutting out the design, and making sure the edges don't unravel).  Some of it is pretty dangerous compared to simple embroidery.  Due to those 2 factors (breaking needles and dangerous fun) I won't be releasing the designs, at least for now.  They are well outside what a home embroidery machine is made to do, and I don't want to break someone's machine (or worse, fling a broken needle across a room) and get sued or something by someone who doesn't understand what they are doing.

But they are pretty cool aren't they?


  1. Found this post looking for the link for a mate who wanted those same patches. WOW. That's a LOT of trouble to go to for a few little patches. Thank you so much again for those patches! Love em to bits. Gonna give the other one and the Rarity cutie mark to my girlfriend who's going as Rarity to a festival thing. Thanks again!

  2. Nifty, Rarity festival thing? Sounds fun.

  3. What kind of needle is this, and where can I buy it?!
    I have broken already 2 needles. Thank you!

    1. I use HLx5 needles, which are basically commercial needles that have been machined to fit in a home embroidery machine. They are MUCH stronger than regular needles. Most sewing stores will have them, and you can find them online by searching for 'HLx5 Needle'. Here's where they are on Amazon: