Is Embroidery An Expensive Hobby? (Explained)

Embroidery is the beautiful art of stitching designs on fabric using thread and skill. Unlike traditional sewing, embroidery is not used to construct anything, but rather to create designs on fabric.

If you think embroidery is something that you might want to try as your next hobby, that’s great!

Is embroidery an expensive hobby?

Embroidery can be expensive. Materials and machines that are used to create embroidery in the modern age can quickly stack up in cost, especially if you need specific needles, thread, a stabilizer, or even special scissors. Before you start the hobby, make sure you can afford it.

How Much Does it Cost to Get Started with Embroidery?

Like most hobbies, a lot of your costs are going to be upfront costs that you need to spend to get started.

Your costs can vary based on what you need, what you already have, and what type of embroidery you want to do.

Some things that you need when you are getting into the hobby of embroidery include:

  • Embroidery or Sewing Machine
  • Stabilizer
  • Temporary Adhesive Spray
  • Embroidery Needles
  • Embroidery Thread
  • Small Scissors or Snips
  • Fabric or Project that you want to embroider

After you get the initial necessary items, there are things that you will have to continue to purchase to continue your embroidery.

The highest start-up cost, when you are trying to get into embroidery, is the machine. This can range in cost from approximately $500 to over $1,000.

Some can even be around $7,000 to $8,000.

Do You Need an Expensive Embroidery Machine to Get Started?

Whether or not you will need an expensive embroidery machine to get started depends on a few factors.

The main thing to consider when you are considering buying a machine is whether or not you already have a sewing machine.

A regular sewing machine is not the same as having an embroidery machine, but it can work for you when you are just getting started.

Learning to embroider on your sewing machine can be a cost-effective way to decide whether or not you are interested in getting into embroidery more seriously.

If you do not already have a sewing machine and you intend to get into embroidery, even though it can be more expensive, you will want to invest in an actual embroidery machine.

Embroidery machines can do more than you could do on a traditional sewing machine and will make the work easier. You can also get a machine that will do both embroidery and sewing. That way, you do not have to go back and forth between two machines.

Why Are Embroidery Machines So Expensive?

Sewing machines come in a wide range of prices. For most casual sewers, you can get along just fine with a reasonably priced budget-friendly machine.

However, embroidery machines need to be able to do a lot more, and that comes with a much higher price tag. Expensive machines come with many more stitching options and patterns.

An even more expensive machine can save your preferences to be used later. These differences in features can be a major factor in price.

Another factor that affects the price is durability. Machines that are made better are made with more expensive parts so that they will last longer.

The brand can also be a factor when you are looking at the price of an embroidery machine. Different brands can be more or less expensive than others. When Shopping for an embroidery machine, you will want to make sure that you get a trusted brand, that way you know your machine will last you.

How Much Does it Cost to Embroider 1,000 Stitches?

Whether you are looking to get an embroidery project done, or you are wondering what you should be charging your customers, there are some standards in place:

Cost by Stitch Count:

The most common way to charge for embroidery is by stitch count.

Most people charge for their embroidery for every 1,000 stitches. 1,000 stitches of embroidery could cost anywhere from $0.50 to $4.00.

Factors that affect this price can include:

  • Design Size
  • Number of Color Changes
  • The Amount of Detail in Design
  • Type of Item Being Embroidered
  • Number of Projects Needing Embroidery
  • Factoring in of Equipment Needed

Each embroiderer may price their work differently, so you will want to make sure you talk about an estimated price in advance so that you know what you are getting into.

Cost by Time:

Another option when charging for embroidery is to base your cost by time spent.

This is a simple method that is based on a set hourly rate.

If you choose to price based on your time spent, you will want to make sure that you include what you will need for equipment and any possible overhead.

While this method may seem simpler to calculate, there is always a chance for your price to not be completely proportionate to the amount of work and materials that were required.

Why Are Embroidery Products so Expensive to Buy?

If you are not familiar with the embroidery process, you might wonder why it is so expensive to put some thread onto fabric.

However, the process is so much more involved than the average person might think.

Embroidery products are expensive for a variety of reasons.

Overhead Costs:

The biggest reason that embroidery is so expensive is overhead costs.

To start embroidering, especially on a professional level, most people have to buy a professional machine that is incredibly expensive.

For this reason, a part of the cost of your embroidery project is to help offset the cost of the machine.

Along with the cost of the machine, you also might need:

  • Floor Stand
  • Additional Hoops
  • Specialized Hoops

Thread Costs:

Another reason for the high cost is the materials that are needed to complete the project.

The thread needed to complete a project can be expensive, and when multiple colors are needed, it really can add up.

There is a wide variety of colors available for embroidery thread, and most people need a specific color when they do their project, especially when it comes to logos, which are very particular.

Embroidery thread is usually between $5.00 and $6.00 apiece, and it is unlikely that whoever you are hiring has your particular color on hand, and even if they do, they may not have enough to complete the entire project.

This is one of the reasons that your project will cost more if you need multiple colors used.

Other Material Costs:

Thread is not the only material that you need to purchase on a “per project” basis.

These materials include:

  • Correct Needles
  • Bobbin Thread
  • Stabilizer/Backing

These items are not a one-time purchase like your machine and will need to be purchased per project, with the possible exception of a needle.

Needles need to be replaced, just not as often.

You also might need to buy a new needle for a specific fabric type.

Other Costs:

Besides material and overhead costs, there are some other things to be aware of when it comes to embroidery costs.

Set-up charges are also a source of cost. Once you have all the materials that you need to complete your project, you also will have to take time before you start to take the image desired and turn it into an embroidery design.

There are multiple ways to do this, but they can be time-intensive, and an embroiderer will want to make sure that this work is being paid for.

Delivery charges are also a factor when it comes to what you might be charged for a piece of embroidery.

Is it More Expensive to Do Embroidery Than Knitting, Quilting, etc.?

If you are looking into multiple different hobbies, they all will come with a variety of start-up and continuous costs.

Some examples of hobbies that are not embroidery are knitting and quilting.

If you are wondering how they compare, I have compiled some examples for you.

Embroidery Versus Knitting:

When comparing embroidery to knitting, the cost difference can vary wildly depending on a few things.

Most people who knit, do so by hand, which would save them the cost of the machine. Knitting needles are usually less than $20.00 and can be used over and over again.

Even with a modest and affordable embroidery machine, this makes knitting much cheaper. There is also the option of hand-embroidery, which would make the costs more comparable.

There is also the option to buy a knitting machine, which becomes comparable in cost to an embroidery machine with a price range of $150 to over $2,500.

Then you are just comparing the cost of yarn to your embroidery materials. These costs can vary wildly for both, depending on the project.

Embroidery Versus Quilting:

Quilting is more similar in cost to embroidery.

Quilting also requires a machine, either a regular sewing machine or a quilting machine. Some people even use a combination machine that can sew, quilt, and embroider.

After the cost of the machine, you are looking at a lot of the same necessary materials for both quilting and embroidery.

Quilting can be more expensive because you need more fabric to quilt, and most quilters buy 100% cotton, which can be expensive.

Can You Make Money from Doing Embroidery?

While some people only do embroidery as a hobby, others get into embroidery to sell their creations and make some money.

If you are looking to make money off of it, you are in luck.

A home-based embroidery business has the potential to be very profitable. People are always looking for embroidery for their companies and other projects.

If you know how to market yourself and price your creations properly, you can make a very nice profit from your embroidery.

This is a great way to work from home, flexing your creative muscle, and make money doing something that you enjoy!