Glossary Of Embroidery Machine Terms
ARM MACHINE - Multihead embroidery machine driven by a single main shaft. Each sewing head is attached to
the shaft, usually by gears. Sewing heads resemble industrial sewing machines in the "arm" that the needle case
is attached to.
AUTOMATIC COLOR CHANGE - The ability of a multi-needle commercial embroidery machine to follow a
command to change to another specified needle.
BOBBIN CASE - Small, round metal device for holding the bobbin. Used to tension the bobbin thread. Inserted
in the hook for sewing.
BRIDGE MACHINE - Embroidery machine with two shafts, one for the hook assembly and one for the needle
assembly. Sewing heads are suspended from a beam allowing for larger sewing fields than an arm machine.
Bridge machines are accessible from both the back and the front of the machine through the "bridge."
CAP FRAMES - Specialized embroidery frames (hoops) designed to hold finished caps for embroidering.
Available in a variety of styles for various machines, with two basic styles being to sew the finished cap flattened
out (for use on a flat machine) or sewing the finished cap (for use on a tubular machine) in its natural curve.
CHECK SPRING - assists in upper thread tensioning and is used to detect upper thread breaks in many
embroidery machine models.
CYLINDER ARM MACHINE - Refers to machines with "cylinder" beds. The hook assembly is housed in a
cylinder-shaped arm, allowing goods to curve around the cylinder for embroidery.
DISK READER - An external or internal device used to read machine movements from either a 5.25 or 3.5
EMBROIDERY POINT - Unit of measurement in embroidery, in which 10 points equals 1mm.
FLAT EMBROIDERY - Embroidery (usually on cut panels or patches) that is framed in hoops exclusively on the
top of the embroidery machine's hook assembly.
FRAMING PRESS - Machine to aid the framing process.
FRAME SASH - Part of the pantograph to hold the frames. Also called a sash. Varieties of sash types include:
Border, frame, tubular, cap and sock.
HOOK ASSEMBLY - Rotary device designed to pass the needle at a given point in the needle bar rise. The
hook point passes into a thread loop formed by the rising needle bar and pulls the thread around the bobbin case
to form a lock stitch.
HOOPING BOARD - Board designed to hold the outer portion of the hoop while the goods to be embroidered
are placed over the board to be hooped. Once the goods are aligned and placed correctly over the outer hoop, the
operator inserts the inner portion of the hoop.
JUMBO ROTARY HOOK - Rotary hook which holds a bobbin case with a much larger thread capacity than a
JUMP STITCH - Movement of the frame without stitching but with take-up lever and hook movement.
LOCK STITCH MACHINE - Machine which forms a stitch using a hook and needle. Includes home sewing
machines, as well as computerized embroidery machines.
MEMORY - The amount of stitches that the machine can store internally.
NEEDLE BAR - Holds the needle in the machine; moves in an up and down motion.
NEEDLE PLATE - The metal plate located above the hook assembly of an embroidery machine. This plate has
a hole in the center through which the needle travels to reach the hook and form a stitch. Also known as a throat
OFFSET - The ability to move the pantograph out of the design with a specific movement and then return to the
original point. Used for placing appliqués.
ORIGIN - The starting point of your design.
PANTOGRAPH - A bar, rack or holder that frames or holding fixtures are attached to. The pantograph moves in
X and Y directions to form the embroidery design, controlled electronically or mechanically depending on the
PAPER TAPE - One punching format. Continuous reel of paper or Mylar(r) tape containing x-y coordinate
information in Binary, Fortran or other numeric code to control pantograph movement. Becoming less favored and
replaced by computer disks.
PRESSER FOOT - Metal device that touches the goods being embroidered while the needle is in the goods. The
main function of the presser foot is to hold the material being embroidered until the hook point catches the
thread loop formed by the needle rise.
PRE-TENSIONER - Thread tension assemblies that are before the main tension assembly in the thread path.
The function of the pre-tensioner is to apply a light amount of tension in order to make the main tensioner work.
REPEAT - Layout used for making emblems or designs on a fabric span that are repeated at regular intervals.
TAKE UP SPRING - See Check Spring.
TAPE READER - A device attached to an embroidery machine that enables the machine to read embroidery
designs from 8-channel paper computer tapes.
TENSIONER - Device used to adjust the tautness of thread when forming stitches.
THREAD CLIPPERS - Small cutting utensil with a spring action that is operated by the thumb in a hole on the
top blade and the fingers cupped around the bottom blade. Useful for quick thread cutting, but unsuitable for
detailed trimming or removal of backing.
TRIMMERS - Devices built into an embroidery machine to automatically trim or cut remaining thread when the
design jumps from one area to another or performs a color change.
TUBULAR EMBROIDERY - Embroidery produced on an embroidery machine which allows tubular fabric or
pre-assembled garments to be placed around the hook assembly. Allows sewing of the front of a garment without
sewing through the front and back of it.
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