The Makery

The Makery reopens on Thursday, September 17 by reservation only. Reservations can be made starting Monday, September 14 at 9:00 a.m. Click here for more info.

User Guide: Embroidery Machine

Note: The Makery has a new embroidery machine, a Brother NQ1600e! Janome Embroidery Files (.jef) used on the Janome Memory Craft 500e are not compatible with the new machine.

Important: Watch these videos before making a reservation!



What is it?

An embroidery machine is a computerized sewing machine that embroiders fabric. The Brother Innov-is NQ 1600e makes it easy to personalize, embellish, and monogram home décor items, garments, and accessories. With built-in embroidery designs and fonts for monogramming, the possibilities are endless.

Brother Innov-is NQ 1600e Manual

Brother NQ 1600e Quick Reference Guide

What can I do?

Embroidery is essentially the decoration of fabric and cloth using needle and thread. Decoration can be anything from simple patterns and stitches to logos and pictures containing multiple colors. Often done by hand, the Makery has a machine capable of creating embroidery patterns quickly and easily. The machine has preloaded designs, monograms, and fonts to choose from found in the Brother Embroidery Design Guide.

What does the Makery provide?

We provide hoops at the Library for use with our machine since they are machine specific. Please check with us if you are unsure about the size of your design fitting into one of our hoops.

Hoop sizes:

    • SA437 Small 1″ x 2.5″
    • SA438 Medium 4″ x 4″
    • SA439 Large 5″ x 7″
    • SA441 Extra Large 6.25″ x 10.25″
  • Embroidery needles size 11 and 14
    • Size 11 needles are designed for most fabrics
    • Size 14 needles are design for heavier material
  • Pre-wound Brother bobbins with white machine embroidery bobbin thread

What do I need?

  • Approved Machine Embroidery Thread
    • The following brands are approved to use with the embroidery machine
      • Gutermann
      • Madeira
      • Robison-Anton
      • Simplicity Pro
      • Sulky
    • Unapproved brands cannot be used in the embroidery machine.
    • Sewing machine or hand embroidery thread cannot be used in the machine. If the thread type is questionable or unknown to staff, we will not allow it to be used with the machine.
  • Fabric on which to embroider
    • Up to 3mm thick
    • Denim, leather, backpacks, and hats are not allowed in the embroidery machine
  • Stabilizer
    • Stabilizer applied using adhesive cannot be used with the machine
  • A design – file type must be .pes

    • The embroidery machine has a Design Library of monograms, fonts, and designs to use
    • Additional designs can be purchased on Brother’s design website
    • Custom patterns can be purchased online from sites like Etsy — quality of design might vary
    • Designs created with SewArt are not approved for the embroidery machine
  • About 1-2 hours

Stabilizer Information

Stabilizer is a very important part of the machine-embroidery process. The wrong stabilizer can cause issues with your design and the functionality of the machine. There are 4 main types of stabilizer: cut-away, tear-away, heat-away, and wash-away (water soluble). Some come in iron-on options for increased stability during the embroidery process. The one you should use for embroidery depends on the fabric you are using. Keep in mind that you might need up to 3 layers of stabilizer for your project. Stabilizer applied using adhesive cannot be used with the machine. Sulky and Floriani are recommended stabilizer brands.

Used for: Best used on: Comes in: Removal:
Cut-away stabilizers Permanent support Terry cloth towels, knits, loosely woven, or unstable fabrics Light to heavy weights Not removed, except for cutting away excess
Tear-away stabilizers Temporary support Firmly woven, natural-fiber, stable fabrics Light to heavy weights; fusible and non-fusible Torn away, but not always completely removable, depending on brand and stitch pattern
Heat-away stabilizers Temporary support Non-washable, for cutwork or lace embroidery Woven sheets, plastic film Completely removable with iron and caution
Wash-away stabilizers Temporary support Only as top layer for looped fabrics (such as towels) for clean embroidered look. Requires a bottom stabilizer of cut-away, tear-away, or heat-away. Plastic film, paper sheets, brush-on or sprayable liquid Completely removable with water

Stabilizer Recommendations

Fabric Design Density:

Recommended Stabilizer:

Canvas Medium/Solid

Backing: heavyweight tear-away

Canvas Light Backing: lightweight tear-away
Cotton Shirt Light/Medium Backing: lightweight tear-away
Cotton Shirt Solid/Heavy Backing: Medium Tear-Away, Medium cut-away
Knit Sweater All Backing: Tear-Away
Topper: Wash-Away
Linen All Backing: lightweight tear-away (might need 2 layers); medium cut-away
Terry cloth / Towels Light/Medium Backing: Cut-Away, Tear-Away
Topper: Wash-Away
Terry cloth / Towels Solid/Heavy Backing: Cut-Away
Woven Cotton
All Backing: Medium Tear-Away, Heat -Away

Additional resources:


Where can I buy materials?

Elmhurst Public Library does not endorse nor profit from these links. These are suggestions of where you can purchase items to use in the Makery but are by no means an exhaustive list. 

Reserve the Embroidery Machine


  • Due to social distancing, staff cannot help with assembling the embroidery hoop.
  • Call (630) 279-8696 or email about your reservation
  • Reservations are limited to one-hour
  • One reservation a day
  • Maximum of two upcoming reservations
  • Reservation requests can be made every week starting Monday at 9:00 a.m.


Note: First time users will receive an email request to opt-in to receive email from the system. The link in this email must be clicked within 24 hours.