You find the cutest machine embroidery project online, in a magazine or a pattern book and you want to make it. But all you can think is “I can’t make that” or “it’s too complicated”. But it’s sooo cute.
You skim through the pictures and instructions hoping to understand what the creator is talking about. You might even go as far as reading through the instructions and studying the pictures then think…
Nope, this project is too complicated. Putting the project out of your head, as you look for another project you understand better.
Dismissing the project saddens you because you really want to make the project. Then frustration sets in because there shouldn’t be any reason why you didn’t understand the directions. After all, you are a crafter, you love creating and you’re a smart cookie to boot.
It’s not your fault your struggling with machine embroidery projects.
Many times when you think a project’s directions are too complicated, you’re right. In reality, not understanding the project’s instructions may not be your fault. Many times machine embroidery craft instructions are incomplete. The creator “assumes” you know things. Missing or incomplete information about supplies, techniques or steps is common. And this lack of information makes creating the project frustrating at best.
The creator isn’t doing this to make your life miserable. They just think you “should know” some information when you don’t. Unless you use the same terminology as the creator you may not have a clue what they are talking about. And yes, people all over the world craft and they all have their own lingo.
Plus, if the project uses a new technique that isn’t explained, you’ll miss a learning opportunity.
Making the embroidery craft project understandable to you without frustration!
The easiest way to conquer a new project is to take the following steps. They make the instructions easy for you to read and follow.
1. Allow extra time to create any new project you’re not familiar with.
Sometimes instructions make the project seem so easy you don’t allow enough time to complete it. You think it should take an hour from start to finish but in reality, it is taking you days. This expectation that a project “should be” completed in a certain period of time adds frustration.
Remember before a project becomes available it has been completed many many times. This is your first time through the project.
2. Write down all the supplies needed to complete your project.
Start with the supply list provided. If one isn’t provided you’ll need to start from scratch. And make sure you have all tools and supplies on hand before you begin the project.
Read through the instructions for other supplies mentioned throughout the pattern. The instructions could read “mark center with a heat marker”, but not mention a heat marker in the supply list. Even though the creator doesn’t list heat marker in the supply list it’s important to use one. So write it on your supply list.
If you don’t understand what the supply is being called, investigate it so you do. You may already have the supply in your craft stash but call it by a different name. Or it could be a tool you’ve never heard of before.
3. As you read through the instructions notice any terminology you’re not familiar with.
Look them up for clarity. Terminology isn’t always universal. If the terminology is new learn what it means and if it’s a technique, learn how to do it.
One of the easiest ways to understand machine embroidery terminology is to look them up online with your favorite search engine. If you prefer videos use YouTube as your search engine.
Embroidery Authority from San Mar has a great list of terminology dealing with garments and material you may want to embroider on.
While A&E has an extensive glossary explaining the most common machine embroidery terminology used in the industry.
What a perfect opportunity to learn a new craft technique!
4. If the steps to the project don’t make sense to you, be patient with yourself.
Make sure you do the steps to the project in the order of the instructions. It would be nice if the pattern told you why you’re doing a step, but most don’t.
Once you’ve completed the project you can decide for yourself if there’s a better order next time. Usually, there’s a reason why a project is put together in a specific order if it makes sense to you or not. And sometimes you can improve upon the order once you understand the project.
Can you see all the new crafting possibilities?
Stop thinking you can’t do a craft project. Stop getting scared off by confusing instructions. Know that it isn’t your fault the instructions are so confusing.
Instead, take time to read instructions and do the project. Write out a clear supplies list and have everything on hand before you start. Learn any new terminology and techniques. And do the project in the order described in the instructions the first time.
There will never be a project you don’t understand how to make again. You’ll never feel like “you can’t” create.
Plus, you’ll be able to clarify the directions of any embroidery project so you can do it with enjoyment.
Go find your next machine embroidery craft project and know you can make it.
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