Resurgence of Machine Embroidery (long post with lots of pictures)

In the '90's and early 2000's, embroidered garments, t-shirts and everything in between was very popular. I purchased my first sewing/embroidery machine in the 90's from a wonderful fabric and sewing machine shop in Winter Haven, Florida.  It was a Janome 8000.  Other sewing machine brands had introduced their versions also.  At the time Janome 8000 had some limitations, like not being able to reverse the design on the machine.  You had to have software to make that kind of edit; since then Janome has come a long way with their sewing/embroidery as well stand alone embroidery machines.  

I later purchased a Viking Designer 1 and then a Viking SE which I still have today.  Both were/area a combination sewing and embroidery machine(s).  I then purchased a Brother PE Embroidery machine and then sold that and bought a Janome 300E embroidery machine.  This one has some limitations compared to their newest models which I cannot afford.  I am currently selling my Janome 300E on Ebay as I decided to purchase a Singer EM200 that has some extras that I did not have with 300E and very affordable.  That was my Christmas present to myself.

I have embroidered some kitchen towels for some friends for gifts for their birthdays.  I have tested some embroidery designs I want to try on some jeans.  Not much going on in the sewing room at this time with upcoming move.

In the past several months on Instagram and on several blogs, there has been a resurgence of embroidering garments, gift items and baby's clothes and blankets.  I am glad to see the interest in this again.

Sulky used to have embroidery challenges every year and for three years I participated in the Amateur Category.  In going through clothes to downsize my wardrobe, I came across the three garments I entered into the contest.  The intent was mostly to design wearable art pieces.

As many of you know Sandra Betzina has been a sewing icon for many, many years.  For some of the younger sewist you may not have known that she created some embroidery designs for Amazing Designs company as did Nancy Zieman and a few others as well.

Below was the jacket I created using a pattern from an independent pattern designer from the 90's whose name escapes me as I write this post. The fabrics used were cotton and silk noil. I used Sandra Betzina's Hat and Shoe Fetish,design, plus an applique of shoes that I satin stitched around as well as stamping of designs and a few designs that I created myself.

I called this piece Purple Sole

Sandra Betzina's Designs

Right sleeve designs

Left sleeve designs

Pocket fringe and designs

Right shoulder designs

Back shoulder designs

Back view

This was my second contest I participated in.  My first I got an honorable mention and the last one was 2001 and I did not make the cut.  I was starting to have less interest in embroidering and was more focused on sewing clothes for work, particularly lined jackets which are very time consuming.

I won second place in the Amateur category and honorable mention for the overall contest for this jacket.

I have been enjoying seeing embroidered garments on Pattern Review and other blog posts.  It has given me some inspiration and hopefully with more time for creativity after our move, I hope to revive my interest in embroidering some garments.

As they say if you wait long enough, styles recycle.  I guess we can say that about embroidered garments also.


  1. I LOVE,LOVE,LOVE embroidery . I add to garments & do In The Hoop projects (picklepiedesigns is my fav site )

    1. I am glad that you love to embroider. I have not heard of picklepiedesigns and will check them out. I have done one or two in the hoop projects and they are a lot of fun.

  2. An embroidery machine is on my wish list! I see so many amazing things. Your jacket is a work of art! I haven't quite decided on the embroidery machine yet. I am trying to figure out exactly what I will want to embroidery...probably everything. LOL

    1. I know that when I got my first embroidery/sewing machine I embroider pillow cases, towels, curtains etc. I remember making a vest for my mother and mother in law and embroider cats on both. There are a lot of choices out there and varying price ranges. Janome has come a long way with their stand alone embroidery machines and I hear great things about them. They are rather pricey.

  3. Your jacket is lovely. I'm still on the fence about getting an embroidery machine. For now, I just look at lovely pictures for inspiration to see if that's something I would really use. Look forward to seeing new creations from you after the move.

    1. I hit a dry spell for several years with embroidering and see so much activity on other blogs and sewing sites it has inspired me to do it again.

  4. This is really amazing! I just love these embroideries! ♥

  5. Wow! That jacket is definitely a wearable art. I can see you wearing jeans with it or a nice black dress with it. How versatile!


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