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Machine Embroidery Vs. Hand Embroidery: How To Tell The Difference

How To Tell If An Embroidery Was Done By Hand or Machine

There are a few tell-tale signs to look for when you’re trying to determine whether an item was embroidered by a machine or by hand. It takes a little knowledge of embroidery, but chances are, if you’re reading this blog you know a lil’ something about embroidering! Now here’s a couple tips to tell the difference between hand and machine embroidery:

First, look at the wrong side of the fabric if it doesn’t have lining. You can tell the difference on the wrong side of the fabric because most machine has a second thread – the bobbin thread, running down the center of satin stitches. Other stitch types also have a bobbin thread, which is usually white, but it may be harder to detect on running stitches and fill stitches.

An exception is chain stitch made by machine. These machines do not use a bobbin, so this type of machine embroidery looks more like hand embroidery. One way to tell the difference between chain stitch made by machine and handmade chain stitch is the uniformity of the patterns. One particularly difficult type of chain stitch to create by machine is called coin swirl, are circular pattern about the size of a coin.

On the other hand (pun intended), in hand-stitched embroidery you may notice more breaks between objects. In other words, these breaks will have little threads hanging off where the embroiderer changed colors or threads.

To decipher a machine embroidered item from a hand-stitched item by looking at the front side of the fabric can be trickier and requires some embroidery knowledge. A hand embroidered item often uses a thicker yarn, but with the resurgence of vintage looks, thicker yarns are now more commonly used in machine embroidery as well.

Now you know what to look for if you’re wondering how something was embroidered! Of course, we’re not picking a side, when it comes to which one is best, but we do carry supplies all kinds of machine embroidery. Take a look.

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