Top 10 machine embroidery books -

Top 10 machine embroidery books

Top 10 machine embroidery books

Many leading textile artists, such as Carol Naylor and Sue Stone use the sewing machine either alone or in combination with other techniques to produce the desired effect. Whether you are looking at embroidery for beginners or you want to develop your machine stitch skills at a more advanced level, there are plenty of good books to help you on your textiles journey. Here we take a look at 10 of the best machine embroidery books, all of which are Amazon best-sellers and have a multitude of 5 star reviews on the site.

Contents at a glance:

  1. Encyclopedia of Machine Embroidery
  2. Creative Machine Embroidery
  3. Beginner’s Guide to Machine Embroidery
  4. Machine Stitch: Perspectives
  5. Machine Embroidery on Difficult Fabrics
  6. Stitch, Dissolve, Distort with Machine Embroidery
  7. Freestyle Machine Embroidery
  8. Raising the Surface with Machine Embroidery
  9. Freehand Machine Embroidery
  10. Machine Embroidered Flowers, Woodlands and Landscapes

Encyclopedia of Machine Embroidery

Encyclopedia of Machine Embroidery

1, Encyclopedia of Machine Embroidery
by Val Holmes

As far as machine embroidery books go, the Encyclopedia of Machine Embroidery is a must for anyone seeking a comprehensive reference guide to techniques, materials and equipment. Covering both computerised and free motion embroidery, this book is invaluable as a source of inspiration as well as a resource for getting the most out of your machine. The A-Z structure makes it extremely easy to find the information your looking from specific techniques to trouble-shooting problems with your. This Encyclopedia is a wonderful addition to the bookshelves of both beginners and those with more experience looking to expand their knowledge and experiment with new techniques.

About the author: Val Holmes is a celebrated artist and teacher; her other work includes The Machine Embroiderer’s Workbook, Print with Collage and Stitch, and Creative Recycling in Embroidery.

Creative machine embroidery

Creative machine embroidery

2, Creative Machine Embroidery
by Linda Miller

The personal style of this book makes it very readable and simple to use. It is largely an explanation of the methods used by the author herself, which could provide an enlightening departure for other artists looking to learn how to ‘paint with threads’. The basics of the book will inspire passionate beginners by offering an explanation of essential materials, tools and techniques for realising your own designs. However, Creative Machine Embroidery could also prove engaging for the more advanced stitcher looking to experiment with new threads, fabrics and colour combinations.

About the author: Linda Miller makes machine embroideries using rayon, silks and metallic threads. She has exhibited at Crafts Council exhibitions, and a selection of her work is available in the V&A Museum shop.


Beginners Guide to Machine Embroidery

Beginners Guide to Machine Embroidery

3, Beginner’s Guide to Machine Embroidery
by Pamela Watts

The enthusiasm with which Pamela Watts explores the techniques covered in the Beginner’s Guide to Machine Embroidery is infectious and creates the perfect environment for beginners to learn with an open-mind. Stitch samplers, projects and inspirational photographs of pieces upon completion will enthuse the novice machine embroiderer. All the basics are covered; how to work stitches, adjust tension, build up texture, develop surfaces, layer fabrics and much more. The accompanying photographs provide a clear guide to every aspect of the book and, once you’re feeling more confident, there’s even a section which moves away from using fabric and into metal, mesh and handmade paper.

About the author: Pamela Watts has written several machine embroidery books, as well as articles for leading magazines. She lectures and teaches embroidery all over the UK and her famous passion for the subject imbues everything she does.

Machine Stitch Perspectives

Machine Stitch Perspectives

4, Machine Stitch: Perspectives
by Alice Kettle and Jane McKeating

Machine Stitch: Perspectives is a celebration of machines, samples and artwork, both historical and contemporary. It provides a comprehensive reference to the wide range of machines currently used by textile artists and designers. The numerous and highly-respected contributors give an insight into how they use certain key machines to achieve results in fine art, applied arts and fashion led textiles. But the book is also a practical guide for machine embroiderers, demonstrating how to combine techniques and develop ideas. A very exciting read for anyone interested in textiles and their cultural context.

About the authors: Alice Kettle is one of the UK’s most celebrated textile artists  and Research Associate at Manchester Metropolitan University. Jane McKeating is an expert in embroidery and textiles and a major prize winner in the 2008 ‘Art of the Stitch’ International Open Exhibition.

Machine Embroidery on Difficult Materials

Machine Embroidery on Difficult Materials

5, Machine Embroidery on Difficult Fabrics
by Deborah Jones

One for the more advanced machine stitcher looking to expand the range of materials they use. Machine Embroidery on Difficult Fabrics will help you avoid ruining difficult fabrics such as leather, silk and chiffon, which can easily pucker, buckle and stretch.The detailed and expert advice from author Deborah Jones includes the importance of good hooping, how needle-selection can affect stitch-outs, and modifying designs to accommodate certain fabrics.

About the author: Deborah Jones is a veteran speaker and lecturer and serves on the Technical Advisory Board for a large commercial embroidery publication.

Stitch, Dissolve, Distort with Machine Embroidery

Stitch, Dissolve, Distort with Machine Embroidery

6, Stitch, Dissolve, Distort with Machine Embroidery
by Maggie Grey and Val Campbell-Harding

Stitch, Dissolve, Distort with Machine Embroidery investigates new and innovative methods to melt, distort and dissolve fabric, both prior to and after stitching. The techniques explored offer a way for the artist and embroiderer to develop texture, colour and depth in their work. The book clearly lays out the methods (with no need for any special equipment) used on specific fabrics with step-by-step guidelines. The beautiful illustrations show how the techniques work in practice by showcasing the work of the authors, as well as a selection of other leading textile artists. This machine embroidery book is one for anyone wanting to push the boundaries of their work and experiment with new materials and methods.

About the authors: Highly experienced and respected in the world of textiles, Maggie Grey exhibits internationally and is the author of Paper, Metal and stitch.Valerie Campbell-Harding is a former editor of the World of Embroidery magazine and author of Layers of Stitch and Edges and Finishes.

Freestyle Machine Embroidery

Freestyle Machine Embroidery

7, Freestyle Machine Embroidery
by Carol Shinn

Freestyle Machine Embroidery is based on the methods employed by Carol Shinn who uses a multitude of colours and tones to create dazzling pieces of machine embroidered art. This book is suitable for all levels of experience and is an exploration of the possibilities of freestyle machine embroidery for fiber art and quilting. The author covers all the basics, beginning with supplies, thread tension, and understanding fabric distortion. She moves on to explain and demonstrate with easy-to-follow instructions how colour-mixing with thread can create visual interest and how to combine freestyle embroidery techniques with new materials and methods. The beauty of this book is in the deconstruction of the work and the simple explanation of the processes involved.

About the author: Carol Shinn is internationally renowned for her photo-realistic machine-stitched images. Her work can be seen in numerous public and private collections.

Raising the Surface with Machine Embroidery

Raising the Surface with Machine Embroidery

8, Raising the Surface with Machine Embroidery
by Maggie Grey

Raising the Surface with Machine Embroidery was first published in 2003 and this innovative book has since been updated and republished; it has become a classic for textile artists. It features groundbreaking and contemporary mixed media techniques for creating stunning and original embroidery. The book is aimed at anyone interested in creating texture in their work. It is lavishly illustrated with step-by-step instructions over six chapters and includes a handy list of suppliers for all the materials referenced.

About the author: Leading textile artist Maggie Grey is the former editor of Embroidery magazine and is now at the forefront of the website WorkshopOnTheWeb. She has co-authored two other books: Layers of Stitch and Paper, Metal and Stitch.

Freehand Machine Embroidery

Freehand Machine Embroidery

9, Freehand Machine Embroidery: Learning to draw with your machine
by Poppy Treffry

The latest offering from the author of Free & Easy Stitch Style is a fantastic introduction toFreehand Machine Embroidery: Learning to draw with your machine. If you’ve always been tempted at having a go but were baffled at where to begin, this is the book for you; the introduction breaks the whole process down into very easy-to-follow steps, covering the selection of materials and threads, how to prepare your machine properly and the best way to begin with experimentation. The remainder of the book contains projects (with comprehensive instructions and templates included). The lay-out and content of the book at more aimed at crafters and hobbyists as opposed to those experienced in textiles.

About the author: Poppy Treffry is a talented textile designer with an unconventional approach to sewing and embroidery. Her other books include Free & Easy Stitch Style.

Machine Embroidered Flowers, Woodlands and Landscapes

Machine Embroidered Flowers, Woodlands and Landscapes

10, Machine Embroidered Flowers, Woodlands and Landscapes
by Alison Holt

If you want to learn how to create stunning images of flowers, landscapes and woodlands this is the book for you. Perfect for those new to stitching with the machine, this book uses various combinations of just two easy machine stitches. Straightforward instructions, excellent photographs and a selection of inspirational pieces will give you the confidence to achieve great results and create visual poetry. Contents of Machine Embroidered Flowers, Woodlands and Landscapes include materials, using photographs as inspiration, creating raised effects to produce an effective 3D look, perspective, painting backgrounds with the needle and all the basic embroidery methods needed.

About the author: Alison Holt studied Fine Art, Textiles and Embroidery at Goldsmiths and also wrote Beginner’s Guide to Machine Embroidered LandscapesMachine Embroidered Woodlands, and Machine Embroidered Seascapes.


Books featured in this article
Book Best Price Amazon UK Best Price Amazon USA
Encyclopedia of Machine Embroidery £7.94 $15.76
Creative Machine Embroidery £7.79 $24.95
Beginner’s Guide to Machine Embroidery £12.07 $4.54
Machine Stitch: Perspectives £22.38 $32.47
Machine Embroidery on Difficult Fabrics £9.00 $9.03
Stitch, Dissolve, Distort with Machine Embroidery £9.25 $20.14
Freestyle Machine Embroidery £10.99 $13.50
Raising the Surface with Machine Embroidery £7.36 $12.95
Freehand Machine Embroidery £5.23 $7.80
Machine Embroidered Flowers, Woodlands and Landscapes £9.44 $15.50


Wednesday 27th, January 2021 / 15:24

About the author

Joseph Pitcher is the son of textile artist Sue Stone. He is an actor and voice-over artist and has worked at the RSC, the National Theatre, West End theatres and several other leading regional venues across the UK. Find Joe on Google

View all articles by Joe


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11 comments on “Top 10 machine embroidery books”

  1. Karen Platt says:

    Lovely choices, wholeheartedly agree

  2. Joe says:

    Thanks Meta and Karen – glad you found the article useful.

  3. Stephanie says:

    This is a great guide for resources! I’d like to add one if I may. Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Lessons by Eileen Roche. It explains step-by-step in easy to understand terms machine basics, embroidery designs, placement, hooping, stitching, and finishing and it comes with some handy placement tools as well. You can find it online here

  4. Anita says:

    Thank you, I have a membership by the quiltersgilde in the Netherlands and I order them to read some of the books.

  5. Warner Brown says:

    This is an amazing blog, great blog for embroidery digitizing.
    Thanks for sharing blog.

  6. Warner Brown says:

    This is the nice work and great machine for embroidery design

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