Embroidery for fun and profit

Jacob Allred

My wife has an embroidery machine. She has had it since way before we knew each other, but I’ve never seen it used. We hauled it from Virginia to Connecticut, and promptly placed it on a shelf. The poor thing hasn’t seen any use.

Luckily for the embroidery machine, our scout troop is making t-shirts and I offered to embroider them, if they want me to. For example, I could put their names or troop number or BSA logo on their shirts for them. We’ll be coming up with the design for the shirts pretty soon at a troop meeting and I wanted to bring a sample with me so they would know what was possible. This meant we had to get the machine working.

The first problem is that the software portion of the machine only runs on 32-bit Windows, so I had to dust off my wife’s obsolete and ancient ThinkPad, load Windows 2000 Professional, and try to get the dang USB attachment to work. Took hours but I finally got it working. The set up lets me move designs from the computer to a proprietary storage card which is then inserted into the embroidery machine.

Next, we had to figure out how to set up the mechanical part of the machine. It took some practice and some manual reading but we finally got it working. We created a sample that said “TROOP 515”. It looks really good!

Today I spent some time trying to figure out how to make my own designs. It took some trial and much error, but finally it worked. I converted my company logo to an embroidery design file, loaded it unto the card, and hit the go button. It took about 40 minutes but finally I was left with a rather large (about 4 inches) embroidered logo on a scrap of old t-shirt. Not very handy, but fun to know that the machine can do something so large and have it come out so nice looking.

Embroidered logo

Anyways, we have some Winnie the Pooh designs that we want to put on some onesies for Anna. I tried a few minutes ago but failed miserably, so I’ll have to wait until Becca gets home. She is really much better at this stuff than I am.

I’m still trying to think what else we can do with this machine. Maybe custom “Team Allred” shirts for game night? Even fancier stay-at-home-dad merit badges? I’m open to suggestions!

UPDATE: Forgot to put anything about the profit part. I am, of course, thinking of numerous websites I can make that are embroidery related, and a bunch of things I can easily make that I could sell on Etsy.