Creative articles about embroidery

How to use a BERNINA for Free-Machine Embroidery

Hello all! My name is Connie Mabbott, an embroidery designer maker and artist. I have been invited to write a guest post for BERNINA, and will be talking about how I use my machine for embroidery. 

An introduction to Free-machine Embroidery

I was introduced to BERNINA sewing machines at university. They taught us how to use them in an abstract way which was never my style of work; so I steered clear of them during my degree, under the impression that they weren’t suitable for the delicate designs I had the desire to create.

Despite having not used the BERNINA for free-machine much, by second embroidery job after graduating required a lot of its use. From working with them on a regular basis, it didn’t take long to realise that I could do pretty much anything I wanted to on them!

BERNINAs, in my opinion, are the best machines to use for free-machine embroidery, because they are so easy to use.

How I use my BERNINA

My method involves drawing up a design on water soluble film (which can be pulled away at the end of stitching or washed away), and pinning it to some fabric, or a piece of clothing in the desired position. When embroidering, I keep the fabric taut using an easy clip embroidery hoop. If the material is particularly stretchy, then I support it with backing fabric which can also be pulled away once complete.

These easy clip hoops are fantastic for large embroidery designs that don’t fit inside your standard hoop, because they’re so quick and easy to reframe around the piece without even having to remove it from the machine!

My work is mainly illustrative, which is why free-machine works so well for me. I can move the fabric around as I like, almost like drawing or painting but with a needle to make lines, shade and fill areas to create both simple and complex designs.

My Work

Having learnt free-machine embroidery whilst working at a bespoke bridal company, I began making small embroideries for my own clothes. I had a lot of interest in what I was making for myself, and so decided to make them available for everyone to buy online.


I try to focus on making designs that will last through the years rather than following trends that may get old. Items like my statement collar shirts are very popular as they are different but will still look great in years to come! And florals will never go out of fashion. They are my favourite to embroider!

To see more of my work and new works as I make them, head over to my instagram account. I’m always working on new designs, so keep an eye out!


Used Material: Embroidery backing, Gutermann Threads, Water Soluble Film
Used Products:
Free-motion embroidery foot # 24
Free-motion embroidery foot # 24
Small embroidery hoop
Small embroidery hoop

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  • Lurene Cornelius

    Oh how I would love to own it! I have a Bernina (815 I think). I paid I out $5 a month to Sews Sewing Shoppe in Shawnee, OK in the late 80’s. Sue was so sweet to let me do that. It was $75

    It still send great but needs sla new belt.

  • Sarah Troutman

    I guy my first Bernina in the early 1970s. I loved using it. It was the best machine I have ever used. My ex-husband git it when we divorced and I have never been able to afford another one. I am hoping to INR day get a new one as the other brands I have used do not hold a candle to these machines. Mine was one that was made in Switzerland and there is not another with this quality.

  • Ann Seavy

    Hi. My name is Ann; I got my first Bernina in 2015 and now have my third . . . a 780.  I have had the Embroidery Software 7 Designer Plus program since 2015 and never learned how to use it.  I’ve downloaded it onto my current computer and I do not know how to access the content! Can someone please help me? Thank you!

    • Lurene Cornelius

      Hi Ann, just go to your downloads and open it.  From Start you will see downloads. Can you right flick it then left click to open.

  • Susan Shughart

    I have a 630E and would love to get into more of the embroidery side of Bernina & have had my eyes on a new machine. I did go to a recent class on the 700 series of machines. With you having a 500 series machine, have you used the 700’s in any of your most recent classes? I’m not sure of the next machine for me do you have a pro & cons list of other series.? I would be so interested in your opinion…



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