Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Embroidery Project Failures and Successes

For my embroidery project, I was having a difficult time thinking of what I wanted to create. I ended up choosing a design from the internet of a dreamcatcher. 

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This particular design had lots of colors in it, which would be difficult to embroider. I spent two hours on SewArt, with the help of Duncan, a staff member at the FabLab, trying to get as few colors as possible and fixing the design. I still would have to switch at least eight different pools of thread, specifically light brown, light orange, dark orange, light pink, dark pink, light aqua, dark aqua, and gray. I wasn’t familiar with the machine at all because I was late when Jeff, my professor, was explaining to the class how it worked. I asked for Duncan’s help again and got familiarized with the machine – how to switch to make it into an embroidery machine from a sewing machine, how to put in the thread and the needle, how to transfer the design from the computer to the machine, etc. However, my dreamcatcher still didn’t turn out well because I got confused with the switching of the threads. The color that it was saying on the machine wasn’t matched to the color that it was supposed to embroider. Because of that, I messed up my first try for the dreamcatcher and it ended up looking like this, which was a disaster to me.  

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Jeff encouraged me to still try it anyway, even if it was difficult. I ended up trying two more times, spending at least 2 and a half hours trying to get the perfect embroidery. Both times, the needle broke in half and the thread got stuck and gathered in a bundle in the machine. I had to step away that night because it was getting frustrating to try to make it work. I learned that too many colors is really difficult to work with, especially because there’s extra thread criss-crossing everywhere which you’ll have to cut off.

The next day, I came back thinking I was just going to make something simpler, a husky design for the patch. It would be easier since it only had 3 colors, gray, white and blue. I began embroidering it, without Duncan’s help this time because I was familiar with the machine. It started out great, but i didn’t expect it to take as long as it did. It was so close to finishing, until I ran out of the gray thread and the FabLab didn’t have more of the same exact color. Because of that, I just stopped the embroidery and it ended up looking like this.

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I was actually really proud of it and I was sad I couldn’t finish it. I learned that I should have a bigger spool of thread, because you never know if you’ll have enough. I ended up just making an embroidery for me and my roommates (since our room number is 413). I used one color and embroidered a very simple patch.

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After that, I had bought a shirt from the FabLab and wanted to create an embroidery of the Flash logo for my friend, since he was his favorite superhero. I was worried I was going to mess it up the same way I messed up my first four tries. However, this one turned out pretty well the first time it embroidered. I only had to switch the thread 3 times, from white to black to yellow. I was pretty happy with how it turned out and how I got it just at the first try. My friend liked it too when I gave it to him as a gift.

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The only thing I wish about this one is for the shirt to be red then it would be perfect! 

This was probably the most difficult project I had to do from all the projects we’ve done, simply because I really had to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what was wrong and trying to make it work, as well as learning in the process. I tried a lot of different designs as well as persevered with my first one. However, I’m happy with how my final embroidery projects turned out.