Everything You Must Know About Automated, Manual Machine, & Hand Embroidery

In the 21st century, we have seen a tremendous evolution in technology trends in every possible sector. For instance, embroidery has two aspects which cover the manual and the electronic style. Even though the manual and automated machine embroidery are producing high quality and pretty neat designs, if you see hand-embroidered designs and patterns, you will observe the intricateness in stitches of the design that delivers real value and beauty to the people.

You might be wondering about the difference between an embroidery done by hand and that created by machine. With this blog, we have tried to cover all the principal aspects that will help you understand better the difference between hand vs manual and automated machine embroidery. Let us get started.

Types of Embroidery

1. Hand Embroidery

In this type of embroidery again, the designs are drawn on trace paper which is used to draw the design on the fabrics. The craftsman embroiders the piece stitch by stitch using needle and thread. Hand embroidery is the most elegant and artistic form. One of the hallmarks of hand-embroidered pieces is the amount of time it takes (sometimes even a year), and it is often seen as having a higher value or antique quality. The signature pieces are always created using hand embroideries.

2. Free-motion machine embroidery also known as manual machine

In this type, all the designs are drawn by the artisan on trace paper. These traces are used to draw the design on the fabrics. Then the embroidery work is done with a manual machine on the fabrics. It is a lengthy process because the craftsman embroiders the design manually using the manual embroidery machine’s different settings.

In this type of embroidery, each piece is crafted individually by the artisan, and each piece can offer a good amount of detailing in embroidery patterns. Since the process is manual and requires human involvement, it offers a good amount of flexibility in terms of personalization/customization.

3. Computerized machine embroidery

It is also called Computer-controlled embroidery. It is a kind of Computer-aided design that can create embroidery from digital or computer designs. The designs are loaded in multi-head machines, and the fabric is set up on the machines. The computer embroiders the pattern on the fabrics automatically. These machines are used in large industries, and 1000s of meters of fabric is embroidered together. It does not offer customization on an individual piece basis as these machines are set to embroider fabric in large quantities together for the feasibility of the production. It is a very agile process and thus reduces the cost of embroidery as little effort is needed. The embroidered design on the fabric is very consistent as it eliminates human involvement.

Hand, Manual Machine and Automated Machine Embroidery, let’s see the differences.

  • Designs:
    • Automated Machine Embroidery is computer-generated. The designs are very consistent in their appearance. Since fabrics are embroidered in bulk, often the automated machine embordered designs are commonly available.
    • The manual machine and hand embroidery are manual processes, and designs vary in each piece due to manual process inconsistency and human error.
  • Stitches:
    • In Automated machine embroidery, the design will be made just as the loaded pattern in the computer dictates.
    • On the other hand, manual machines and hand embroidery allow for a variety of stitches in a single design.
  • Value:
    • Automated Machine Embroidery has very little collective value because it is produced in bulk.
    • Hand embroidery has a very high value, and the pieces are often passed on to generations due to their exceptional nature.
    • Manual machine embroidery has a moderate value.
  • Detailing: The hand embroidery looks more elegant and intricate, while the machine embroideries have limited detail.

How can you spot the difference?

The easiest way is to feel and see the backside of the embroidered piece. Pieces embroidered by hand are soft to feel at the embroidered portion, and one can see the stitches clearly. However, pieces embroidered by machine are generally stiff at the embroidered portion, and it is hard to spot individual stitches.

Hand Embroidery
Hand Embroidery
Manual Machine Embroidery
Manual Machine Embroidery
Automated machine embroidery
Automated machine embroidery

**Please note: Some very high-tech machines have been introduced recently which are capable offering neatness on backside so be cautious and only buy hand embroidered pieces from a trusted source.

Final Thoughts….

Now, as we have already spoken about the difference between automated machines, manual machines and hand embroidery, you might be thinking about which one you should choose, isn’t it right?  Well, all three have their pros and cons. Hand embroidery and manual machine are very personal and require a lot of time and effort and offers higher quality. On the other hand, the automated machine creates more consistent work in a short amount of time and is much less costly.

So, if you want the real experience and you can spend the money, then you should choose hand embroidery. The designs and their detailing is magnificent. If you want a bang for your buck and looking for handmade designs with great quality and unique customized designs, you must go for and manual machine embroidery work. If you don’t care about the real experience, uniqueness and detailing of handmade designs and want to save money you should go in for automated machine embroidery.