Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Embroidering on Faux Leather ..

When I posted my Sewing Kate Tote on Facebook I was asked numerous times how I know where and how to place my embroidery designs on my projects. So I figured it was time to do a little tutorial & share how I do it.

 Since every embroidery machine is a bit different I'm not going to going to details on how to use your embroidery machine, I am assuming you have learned how to do that.  If you haven't it's time to dig out your manual and learn since you are missing out on a whole lot of fun!!

I use the program Essentials by Embrillance ( and Thumbnailer ..a must have but that's another topic) I have no affiliation with them, they are not paying me to say nice things, I bought the program myself..I just love it since it's easy, Mac compatible and affordable. This is what I use to view, edit & print out my designs.

** I always cut my fabric piece abit larger ( 1/2" -1") then the pattern piece in case the design pulls the fabric smaller or in case my placement is off a bit I still have "playroom'" to move my design.

For me the hardest part is always deciding which design to use. Once I had decided on the design I print it out and place it on my pattern where I think I want it.

I cut the design out of the paper (roughly), makes it easier to handle.
In the middle of the design there are crosshairs which mark the center of your design. This is you orientation point !! Point X !
I place the pattern on my fabric where I would like it to be.
Then I fold the paper along the crosshairs and make a mark on my fabric where the center mark is.
Now you have the middle point on your design.
Since I embroider a lot on faux suede / leather .. I will be showing how to hoop it.
You can't hoop faux leather so you have to "float' it...which means hooping your stabilizer  and floating your fabric on top. ( I use stitch 'n' tear because I am lazy to use a cutout ! LOL)

I hoop the stabilizer then I spray 505 basting spray on the stabilizer.

Now comes the tricky part...if you can't move the center point on your machine (on my Janome MC 500E I can, so this is easier for me then on some machines )  There are 4 little Nibs on your hoop that are center orientation marks. Try to line it up as best as you can with them. Press the fabric down on the sprayed stabilizer ( this will hold it in place during stitching)

** If you can not move the center point on your machine...
then you are going have to try and line up the center marks on our fabric with the template grid that came with your hoop. Move your fabric till you can see the crosshairs in the center hole. Press the fabric down onto the spray baste stabilizer so it holds it in place...this is floating !

If your machine allows you to move your design in the hoop you have it easier since you only have to "float" your faux leather in the hoop as close to the center mark as you can get and your machine will let you move it to the exact mark ( check your manual on how to do it on your machine ). On my machine it has these arrows that let me move the center starting point of the design till my needle lines up with it.

Now that you have your fabric in the hoop....centered ...all you have to do is press the Start button and enjoy watching your design stitch.

Once the design is done...remove it from the hoop ( remove the stabilizer carefully from the back side of your design)....trim the piece down to the size you need ...using the center chalk mark as your reference.

Wasn't that easy!!??

Hope this takes some of the mystery out of hooping on faux leather/suede and that you will dust off your embroidery machine and give it a try!! She is dying to make beautiful things with you!! LOL

Happy Stitching !!
INFO: This is what I use but you may find different things work better for you and your machine.
  • Try to avoid stitch intensive designs
  • Slow the machine's speed down 
  • Float your faux leather - do not hoop it will leave hoop burn
  • Stabilizer - Stitch n' Tear
  • Needle - Schmetz Embroidery needle #75/11
  • Thread - Machine embroidery thread ( rayon & polyester) I use all brands without any problems (Simthread, Maderia, Sulky, ect) 
  • Bobbin - White Bobbinfil
  • *When using Metallic threads slow the machine all the way down, use a Schmetz Metallic needle #80/12 and a drop of Sewers Aid on the spool of metallic thread and the needle helps the thread from breaking

If you have any other question feel free to ask!

Embroidery designs : Tape measure & scissors are Urban Threads
                                 : Tomato, Thimble & Spools are Embroidery Library
                                 : The safety pin & pins are unknown ??
                                 : Words were added to the designs with Essentials program


  1. What a wonderful and lovely bag you created! I LOVE IT!
    Happy week to you,
    Love and hugs, Claudia xo

  2. Nice reference post! I need to do some embroidery soon. I used to do a lot but haven't touched for years. Thanks for quick refresher!

  3. you are such a star....I know I am not using my Janome 500e to it's full capacity but this tutorial has really inspired me to have another go with it! Thank you Liz <3

  4. Liz, what needle do you use? I've seen suggestions from a Microtex 75/11 to a Leather 90/14. And do you slow your machine speed way down to stitch it out? Thanks in advance

  5. From another Liz. Im so glad i found your post. 3 faux suede attemps failed in the hoop. Im going to try not hooping. Fingers crossed.thanks



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