Is an Embroidery Machine Worth It? (Pros & Cons)
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If you’re not yet sure you want to spend your next month’s (or year’s) rent an embroidery machine, then you’ve found the right article!
I hemmed and hawed for almost a year before finally purchasing my first home embroidery machine.
Then, I continued to stress myself out with the pros and cons of updating my machine a year later to one with a bigger hoop size.
Interested in embroidery but aren’t sure it’s the right time to buy a machine?
Read on for my thoughts on the question, “Is an embroidery machine worth it?”
Is an Embroidery Machine Worth It?
Embroidery machines are incredibly fun to use and can bring life to everyday items, but whether they’re “worth it” depends on how you define worth.
If you’re looking just to make money, unless you have a thriving business already, it will take months or years to recoup the cost of an embroidery machine and produce a living wage.
But, if you want to simply add joy to your life and benefit from the perks of having a fulfilling hobby, I highly recommend machine embroidery.
However, to help make the decision to purchase (or not) easier, below are some of the pros and cons of owning an embroidery machine.
5 Benefits of Owning an Embroidery Machine
If you’re curious about everything embroidery machines can do, check out my list of uses for an embroidery machine.
However, here’s a small, curated list of reasons why I enjoy owning my embroidery machine and think embroidery machines are worth it!
1. Pure Enjoyment and Happiness
I love making new things, using new craft supplies, and indulging my crafty side.
Not to mention, there are SO many health benefits for hobbies (less stress, improved mental health, and camaraderie with fellow hobbyists, to name a few).
Seriously, if you have the finances and time to invest in an embroidery machine and learn to use it, I think it’s worth at least trying out and seeing if you can learn to love the craft.
2. Possibility to Monogram and Customize Everything
My daughters love that they can request embroidery projects, and I love that I can create Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, baby shower gifts, and more on my embroidery machine.
3. Save Money + Time
Yes, you must spend money on a machine first to save on embroidery services.
However, if I want something embroidered in a snap (like a name on a lunchbox or backpack), I can do it myself rather than splurging for the service in-store or from a local embroidery business.
And, the turnaround for many embroidery services is a week or longer, and I’m not a patient person.
So, I love that I can embroider in my own time frame.
4. Start a Side Hustle
While it takes time and significant upfront capital to build a thriving embroidery business, that doesn’t mean you can’t start a small side hustle to help fund your embroidery machine’s purchase immediately after unboxing it.
You’d be amazed how many people will come out of the woodwork to ask you to embroider stuff for them once they know you have a machine.
Unless they’re your BFF or a dear family member, don’t feel bad charging them a reasonable price for your service either.
They’ll mention your work to others, who will also want your services.
Thus, starts a flexible side hustle where you can work from home.
Of course, you can also start a legitimate full-service home-based embroidery business, but getting the word out for enough interest to make a full-time income takes more time.
5. Up Your Quilting Game
I’m not a fan of free-motion quilting with my sewing machine (too much of a perfectionist over here), and my back kills me when standing at our library’s long-arm quilting machine (also, still a perfectionist.)
And, I’m cheap and don’t want to hire out quilting my tops (especially if they aren’t my best work).
Having an embroidery machine to finish the quilts makes my embroidery machine purchase worth it 100x over.
In addition to finishing quilt sandwiches, embroidery machines can stitch blocks in the hoop, create applique blocks, and do amazing things like my above Anita Goodesign Dollhouse Quilt.
Cons of Purchasing an Embroidery Machine
It’s not all sunshine and roses with embroidery machines. Here are some cons and reasons to thoughtfully consider this potential purchase first.
Embroidery machines are not cheap. Neither are the supplies required to start embroidering.
While you can purchase a used embroidery machine to save money, the cost of an embroidery machine can start at a more affordable $300 but reach over five figures.
And don’t get me started on supplies.
Needles, embroidery thread, and stabilizer are must-haves. Then, you also have to figure in things like embroidery digitizing software (or buying pre-made embroidery designs) and the cost of embroidery blanks.
Costs add up, so deciding if the cost is worth the benefits is essential.
Your first embroidery machine doesn’t have to be expensive, though. I started with a sub-$300 Brother embroidery machine before working my way up to a much more expensive model.
2. Big Learning Curve
Learning to machine embroider can be difficult.
My 90-year-old grandmother sewed for 80 years on a mechanical machine and can do anything with it, but she absolutely can’t figure out how to use these “newfangled embroidery machines.”
Embroidery machines all have touchscreens or rely on technology, and there’s an art to learning to embroider, so it’s not for everyone.
However, it’s certainly doable if you’re willing to put in the effort to learn your machine and the basics of machine embroidery.
Just don’t expect to become an embroidery master overnight or not have your fair share of botched projects!
Hand in hand with a big learning curve, troubleshooting an embroidery machine can be frustrating for a beginner.
I spent hours upon hours as a beginner trying to figure out why my thread was bunching, why my stitches were skipped, why my embroidery looked terrible, etc., and I was so frustrated at first.
However, over time, I promise that you will learn the most common causes of your machine’s issues and learn to fix them quickly.
But, the first few times you encounter problems, it probably won’t be smooth sailing!
Embroidery machines are not small and take up more space than sewing machines.
They’re also much heavier!
For reference, above is my Luminaire XP2 as I took it home from the dealer. It barely fit in my SUV, and my husband had to lift it for me.
This is a huge machine and an extreme example, but even my smaller embroidery machines needed a decent area of free space, and it wasn’t until I got my own craft room that I had enough space for a machine.
Also, unless you purchase an embroidery machine that also sews, you will need a separate sewing machine in your craft room.
Ready to start embroidering?
Here’s a list of the best beginner embroidery machines and the criteria for selecting the right machine for your needs.
And, if you’re not quite ready yet, that’s ok! You might be able to find local embroidery machines to rent to scratch the itch until you’re ready to purchase or move on for good.
For example, my local library has an embroidery machine free for resident use, and there are several other free-standing Maker Spaces and crafting spaces around with available machines.
Local sewing shops also sometimes offer classes for embroidery machines (with classroom machine models, so no worries if you don’t own your own) to get your weekly embroidery fix.
Whatever you decide to do, best wishes as you (possibly) start your embroidery journey!