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Machine Embroidery

Best Machine Embroidery Books: 20 Recommended Reads for All Skill Levels

There are so many great machine embroidery books to choose from that it’s hard to know where to start.

To help you get inspired and learn every aspect of machine embroidery, here’s my list of the best books for beginners and experienced crafters alike.

Use the table of contents to jump to the section that matches your skill level and get that embroidery machine humming!

Beginner Machine Embroidery Books

These books are great for beginners who want to learn the basics of machine embroidery.

If you’ve just bought your first machine and you’re looking for a place to start, the books in this section will help you learn your way around hoop settings and develop essential skills.

The Complete Machine Embroidery Manual

Why you should read it

The Complete Machine Embroidery Manual is a good all-rounder guide to machine embroidery. It shows you how to make the most of the stitches built into your machine and how to use embroidery designs creatively, and how to troubleshoot common challenges machine embroiders all come up against from time to time.

Where to buy it:

Modern Machine Embroidery: 11 Projects from Pickle Pie Designs with 25 Must-Have Embroidery Motifs

Why you should read it

This book is great for beginners. It guides you through simple projects, like creating custom monograms and fashionable appliques, and it teaches you how to use all of your embroidery machine’s functions. As an added bonus, this book is that it comes with 25 embroidery motifs.

Where to buy it:

Embroidery: A Beginner’s Step-by-Step Guide to Stitches and Techniques

Why you should read it:

This beginner’s guide teaches you 70 different types of stitches for hand and machine embroidery methods with step-by-step exercises and projects.

It also includes instructions on how to transfer designs, how to choose your materials, and how to use common embroidery equipment. Learn about thread matching and how to prepare threads and fabrics. 

Where to buy it:

Machine Embroidery Crash Course: How to Master Machine Embroidery at Home

Why you should read it

Machine Embroidery Crash Course saves you time and effort helping you learn 20 basic embroidery stitches with detailed instructions. Learn machine embroidery magic using laces, beads, ribbons and netting.

This book also includes a great troubleshooting guide with some of the most common problems you might face during your projects. 

Where to buy it:

Machine Embroidery and More

Why you should read it

Machine Embroidery and More is filled with pictures of beautiful embellishments. The author shows you how to use decorative machine beads and stitches to create fabric rich in texture with a step-by-step guide. The book has 10 projects which are easy to understand and quick to learn. The bold and bright photos stir your creativity and will help you develop your own unique ideas for designs.

Where to buy it:


Advanced Machine Embroidery Books

These books are good for intermediate to advanced machine embroiderers who want to branch out and level up their skills.

100 Designs for Machine and Hand Embroidery

Why you should read it

Easy-to-follow steps for 100 different projects including bed quilts, aprons, tote bags and wall art. This book also includes a basic how-to guide for both hand and machine embroidery. Get the look of vintage embroidery that is highly sought after in the 21st century.

Where to buy it:

Organic Embroidery

Why you should read it

Meredith Woolnough’s designs are breathtaking. In this book, she imparts her art process through 12 activities that will open-up your creativity and help you master this style of intricate embroidery in your own way. 

This book allows for your own creative approach to flow as Woolnough’s instructions are not only easy to understand but her techniques are extremely versatile.

Where to buy it

Asian-Inspired Machine Embroidery

Why you should read it

With over 35 designs, this book offers a wide selection of motifs for embellishing accessories, home décor, clothing, and more. Inspired by traditional Asian culture and symbols, these designs are ready to embroider by hand or machine.

Where to buy it:

Machine Embroidery on Difficult Materials

Why you should read it

In this book, pro embroiderer Deborah Jones unlocks the secrets of how to embroider on 18 of the most challenging (yet tempting) materials. It’s a great way to advance your skills if you’ve only been working with easier materials.

Where to buy it:

Artful Machine Embroidery: A Visual Guide to Creating Clothing You’ll Love to Wear

Why you should read it

If you want to make sophisticated embroidery designs for clothing, check this book out. Artful Machine Embroidery teaches you how to get professional results by working with basic design fundamentals on your home embroidery machine. It also has an in-depth supply guide to make sure your work is a success.

Where to buy it:

Contemporary Machine-Embroidered Accessories

Why you should read it

While I’m not a huge fan of the designs offered in this book, I have to admit it’s a pretty good starter-guide for anyone who wants to embellish their accessories with machine-embroidered designs. 

This book will help you choose the right patterns, fabrics, and designs to create accessories like hats, scarves, gloves, belts, and more. Expect easy-to-follow instructions that you can use with any type of machine.

Where to buy it

Raising the Surface with Machine Embroidery

Why you should read it:

Want to add texture to your materials and machine embroidery designs? Raising the Surface with Machine Embroidery will help. This book has clear diagrams with step-by-step instructions on using embroidery to create next-level textile sculptures.

Where to buy it:


Freehand Machine Embroidery Books

Free-machine embroidery is a world unto itself and so many of the designs are stunning. 

Here are the freehand machine embroidery books I recommend for anyone looking to get into this beautiful niche.

How to Get Started in Free-Machine Embroidery

Why you should read it:

This intro-guide contains a solid collection of some creative, basic free-machine embroidery techniques. 

You can get started on projects right away as you learn how to improve your skills without being bogged down by too much technical jargon.

Where to buy it:

Freehand Machine Embroidery: Learning to Draw with Your Sewing Machine

Why you should read it

Learn how to create fun, memorable and quirky sewing projects with freehand machine embroidery. You will be looking at your embroidery machine in a whole new light — as an artist’s tool.

This book will teach you how to make your machine do things you never thought imaginable. 16 projects are included which will put your new skills to the test and make desirable and practical items.

Where to buy it:

Freehand Machine Embroidery: Beginners Guide

Why you should read it

Don’t judge this book by its cover. It’s another good starter-guide for anyone wanting to get into freehand machine embroidery.

The author, Maggie Kruger, teaches classes on the subject so her instructions are easy to follow and full of little tricks and tips that will help you as you go deeper into freehand embroidery over time.

Where to buy it


Machine Embroidery Books for Quilters

Quilting and machine embroidery go hand in hand. These books will help you create 

Machine Embroidered Quilting and Applique: Simple Steps for Revolutionary Results

Why you should read it

This book is great for anyone wanting to expand their applique skills.

It covers 12 beautiful projects from totes to quilts to coasters and a bunch of techniques that turn the traditional quilting process inside out, and teaches you skills you can easily use for continuous quilting and continuous applique using a machine.

Where to buy it

501 Quilting Motifs: Designs for Hand or Machine Quilting

Why you should read it

Quilters of all experience levels will enjoy this collection of 501 quilting motifs. Includes clear instructions for how to select and transfer the motifs. Quilting-motif categories include feathers, flowers, seasonal and holidays, vines and leaves, children, geometric designs and more.

Where to buy it

Machine Embroidery Makes the Quilt

Why you should read it

This book includes six classic projects that teach you how to develop machine embroidery designs for your quilts.

Where to buy it:

The Complete Guide to Machine Quilting

Why you should read it:

This is a must-have book for those who make quilts with a machine. This book includes some wonderful tricks that will save you a ton of time when you’re working with fabrics and batting of different weights to add decorative effects with stitching. 

Where to buy it:

What other machine embroidery books would you recommend?

There’s always so much to learn in machine embroidery and I’m always on the lookout for new embroidery books to add to my own collection. 

If you have another recommendation for the list, let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear it!

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