Since I have received my Brother PE500 I have began collecting supplies to use as well as different nick-knacks here and there that I have come to realize I need to keep on hand in order to keep my machine up and running (I have spent a lot of time behind my machine since Christmas Eve). I have put together a list of these essentials in hopes that it will help you begin your embroidery adventure!
Embroidery Thread - I have been using the Sulky Rayon brand, but anything on sale works perfect. I prefer to use the embroidery thread rather than the common thread you would sew with because it gives a more shiny finish to your projects. I would purchase common colors, red, blue, green and then other fun colors like pink and lime green, gold; different things to play around with.
Stabilizer - I use lightweight tear away stabilizer, water soluble, or heat-a-way works too, any brand. I would advise you to purchase this when it is on sale and a lot of it, it can be pricey depending on the brand.
Bobbin Thread - Bobbin thread is different than the embroidery thread, Brother uses a 100% polyester thread, white. You only see the Bobbin on the bottom, it does not need to be the same color as the embroidery thread. This can also be pricey, so purchase when it is on sale!
Extra Machine Needles - the PE500 uses a universal needle and the size just depends on the thickness of the fabric, I have 11, 14, 16, and 18 needles.
Hoops - The PE500 comes with a 6x4in hoop with a 4x4in embroidering area, but I would suggest purchasing a smaller size in order to complete smaller projects more accurately.
Notebook - Of course mine is Lilly, but I find that having something devoted to your projects is great. You have it sitting right there so you can take notes, or write measurements down and keep them all in one place without worrying about where "that piece of paper with that stuff on in went."
Extra Fonts - Purchase extra fun fonts that you can use over and over again. I have purchased a circular font from Apex Embroidery, and am looking at others to purchase from this site. I know these fonts seem pricey but most of them offer multiple sizes and each monogram font has letters that are pre-sized for the monogram. It is good to have a couple monogram font options as well as different alphabets, and of course Greek letters!
Carrying Case - It is important to have something to carry your machine in, you don't want to have to take the box out every time you want to go somewhere with it, and its not something you want to leave sitting around the house unless you have a room specifically for sewing! I have purchased a pink bag combo, it is important to make sure that your machine will be protected when traveling. With embroidery machines the embroidery arm often will not fit in a bag sized for a sewing machine this is why I choose to get the combo, it is a little more pricey, but I know my machine will be protected.
Storage - In the last few days, after purchasing more stabilizer and different threads, I have come to realize that storage is key! I purchased a simple plastic drawer unit, it was only about $15 in the store. I plan to add some scrapbook paper and decorate the drawers so that I know what is in them. It is also large enough to store other craft supplies you might have laying around.
Measuring Tape - I have a plastic measuring tape on hand so that I can measure the distance from the hoop to the side, and then again on the other side to insure that the design will be centered evenly on the item.
Tools - There are a few tools I have found handy in the last few days. A mini Screwdriver, this is helpful when trying to adjust your bobbin tension. Tweezers, these are helpful in case your machine jams and you cannot get the thread out with your fingers. The PE500 comes with multiple tools to assist you such as mini scissors, a seam ripper, a stylus for the screen and other things to help keep your machine running smoothly.
Items to Embroider - Of course you need something to embroider and practice on! I started with an old pillow case that I cut up into squares and practiced different designs as well as different letters on. Things such as cheap washcloths (these are 49 cents at Wall Mart) are good to use too. I also picked up a pack of white t-shirts, and Hanes Crew Sweatshirts. (Hint: When using thicker material like a towel, sweatshirt, fleece blanket...etc. use stabilizer on the top and bottom to insure the piece is stable, this also makes your monogram come out cleaner. Hint: Use a larger needle for thicker items, I would use a 14 or 16 on any towels, possibly an 18 depending on how thick the towel is.)
As I continue to do more with my machine and acquire different fonts and threads, I am sure there will be more things to add to this essentials list but for now, this outta do it!