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An Embroidery Glossary – Part One


Here at Stocks Sewing we know that learning terminology can be a difficult process, there are many words to learn in relation to embroidery that are completely alien. It may seem simple once you know it, but the learning curve can be quite steep for those just starting out.


So, here are a few key terms that it is useful to know the definition for when starting your embroidery journey:


This is a trimming that is cut from a separate piece of fabric, then stitched to another with a satin stitch. Doing so adds news dimensions to your piece.

Arm Machine

A type of embroidery machine, one that has an arm which the bobbin and hook are mounted upon. Frames for socks and inside pockets can also be mounted on this arm, helping to create more complicated designs. The shape of the arm allows for good manoeuvrability of goods to achieve outstanding embroidery.


The material used underneath an item to provide extra support and durability for the embroidery. Can also be known as a stabilizer amongst home embroidery enthusiasts.

Bean Stitch 

Bean stitches are three stitches placed back and forth from one point to another. Often, this stitch is used to outline as it provides bolder definition than a regular stitch.


A course, woven, fabric that is used for backing and is extremely stiff. Typically, it is used in caps to provide the stiff front panel and keep embroidery prominent.

Check Spring

Needle threat tension assembler or tensioner that keeps optimum control of the needle – in turn, the tension of the thread – in order to create the desired stitch. This also helps to limit interruption time.

Column Stitch

Commonly used to create a border, this stitch is achieved by closely placing zigzag stitches (also known as a satin stitch).


This is a method of converting artwork into commands which enable an embroidery machine to create the subsequent design in embroidery. This process helps to ensure a high quality to the finished product, creating a better design than most people would be able to do by eye and hand. This program fully controls the embroidery and removes the chance for human error.


An embroidered design that has a definitive edge, typically the brand design for a company or other such identifier. Can also be called a patch or crest.

Expanded Format

Digitize program that allows for a larger or smaller design to be created, i.e. expanded. This allows for less distortion between stitch placement to occur in the regular digitize method when enlarging or reducing the size of a design.

Flat Embroidery

Embroidery which is cut into patches or panels, then framed above the embroidery machine’s assembly in order to be stitched down.


This holds the goods that are to be embroidered, keeping them in place and allowing the design to be as perfect as possible. Stability may be maintained using clamps, magnets, springs or other such devices.

Jumbo Rotary Hook

Holds the bobbin case and has a much larger capacity than a regular hook.


As you can see there are many factors you have to consider when going through the embroidery process; it’s not all about the material you use. Here at Stocks, we offer various materials and supplies to support various embroidery machines, from the ZSK Embroidery Machines to the HoopMaster Magnetic Mighty Hoop, so get in touch to discuss your needs with our team!

Make sure to check out An Embroidery Glossary - Part Two!