Hand Vs Machine Embroidery: Which Should You Go For in 2021?

Many people out there do not recognize the difference between hand vs machine embroidery. Though the difference is enormous. Generally, it is said that the difference lays in the process but it’s not fully true.

Every hand embroidery piece you see is a piece of art. When you start hand embroidery, you can be as creative you want. Most of the time people are also emotionally involved with the work they do. But I’m not saying these things do not exist in machine embroidery. Yet machine embroidery is uniform and you have to do less as the machine is there to do the job for you.

In this article, I’m going to cover all the aspects you need to know before getting started with embroidery. This article will help you decide which embroidery machine you should go for in 2021.

What is Hand Embroidery?

hand embroidery

Hand embroidery is a kind of embroidery that encompasses a needle, thread, hoop, and a piece of fabric. Nonetheless to tell it’s done by hand.

There is a bunch of stitching technique you have to learn first and start stitching with your hands. In hand embroidery, you can design all by yourself and there isn’t any limit in this case. While being creative if you change your mind in the middle of a project you can easily change the colors as well as the patterns.

Every hand embroidery piece is different. You can work with your own theme or design. For this reason, hand embroidery is a great way to showcase your design taste. The possibilities are endless with hand embroidery.

What is Machine Embroidery?

machine embroidery

Machine embroidery is a form of embroidery which involves a machine. It can be done with a normal sewing machine or specialized embroidery machine.

In a computerized embroidery machine, you have to put the design digitally then the machine will read it and sown it out on the fabric.

As the machine’s design is preset and uniform it is good for commercial use. For example, making a brand logo, uniform adornment, corporate advertising, and many more. There are literary thousands of designs to choose from.

Nowadays you can find many kinds of embroidery machines from budget-friendly to high-end. You can easily choose as your requirement.

Hand vs Machine Embroidery: The Difference

hand vs machine embroidery

Hand embroidery or machine, it varies from person to person. Understanding the needs, why you are doing it is very important before choosing between hand embroidery and machine embroidery. Besides, you need to know some essential stitching factors before comparing. Let’s see some of those.


Many say the main difference in hand and machine embroidery is, the stitching process. In hand embroidery, the piece is unique and different. You can work with a variety of different stitches, any kind of fabric and thread besides be creative with it.

As we have said before in machine embroidery all the designs are machine produced. So every portion of work is exactly the same and uniform. There are limitations in using thread and fabric. But you can make as many as you want and all of them will be identical. So it is suitable for commercial use.


If you do not have any prior knowledge about embroidery you actually cannot tell the difference. But it does not take hard work to identify it. In hand embroidery, you will see a variety of stitches in a single piece of work. But as embroidery is done in a machine that has limited stitching options you will not find many. Most of the time in machine embroidery there is only satin stitch.

In hand embroidery, you can see the threads separately. But in machine embroidery, it is really hard to separate one as the threads are wrought and give a flatter appearance.

The most common way to identify them both is to see the backside of the fabric. Machine embroidery shows a different thread above the main thread. It is mainly the bobbin thread which you will not find in hand embroidery.


The threads used in machine embroidery are denser than hand embroidery ones. Those are usually made of metallic, polyester, rayon, etc. This kind of thread gives a flatter look to the design.

When it comes to hand embroidery there are so many types of threads. The most common one is the six/five strands thread which is called DMC thread. Other than that there are silk thread, wool thread, linen thread, satin embroidery thread, and so on. And based on the thread you use every design will look different.

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Embroidery was invented alongside fabric, in a different form. According to Say It with Stitches, embroidery came from the French word broderie, which means embellishment. Though it came from a French word it is actually originated in Cro-Magnon days or 30,000 B.C. in China and the Near East.

Machine embroidery starts with the machine of course which was invented in 1964 maned TAJIMA Multi-head Automatic Embroidery machines. But the computerized embroidery machine was invented in 1980. It saves so many hours of our work and can produce a large number as well as the design is accurate than ever before.

Collectible Value

Both of this embroidery process is valuable in different ways. Machine embroidery is quick, uniform, and identical. It can produce way more than hand embroidery. It is useful in banding and commercial use.

On the other hand, though hand embroidery is less in production but every piece of it is unique and different. It has an artistic value that machine embroidery lack.

So, Which is the Best Option Between Hand and Machine Embroidery?

Hand embroidery and machine embroidery both have different values from different perspectives. It depends on what end goal do you have in your mind.

I’m saying over and over again that hand work embroidery is personal and artistic. Anyone decided to do hand embroidery, invest a lot of their time, and love to the work. They dig inside their heart and find out every piece of unique design.

But then you need something like a logo for a company or a design for a cap you do not need to be artistic here. All you need here is efficiency in mass production. This is what you can find in machine embroidery.

For both of these two options, you do not need any previous experience. You do not need to know how does an embroidery machine work. Think about what you want to achieve in the end and go for your first piece.

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Embroidery is an art and there is no age, no gender to start it. All you need is the willingness to start embroidery. If the question bugging you, hand vs machine embroidery, whereto start with then I will suggest you to start with hand embroidery. After finishing a couple of hoops, you will understand which one to go for.

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