Free Motion Embroidery with a Spring Needle

Are you curious about free motion embroidery using a spring needle? Have you always wanted to try it, but weren’t sure how to set your machine?

Spring needles combine the function of a darning spring on the needle itself. Available in a variety of sizes, this needle is a dream for free-hand machine embroidery or monogramming in a hoop without a foot. The instructions below can be applied to any of the spring needles. While there are a variety of spring needles available, this blog will concern itself with Free Motion Embroidery using a SCHMETZ Embroidery Spring Needle.

Here’s what needs to be done to prepare your machine for free motion:

  1. Lower the feed dog as described in your machine manual. (With some machine models, you cannot lower the feed dog; in that case, you need to cover the feed dog with the cover enclosed in the accessories box.)
  2. Remove the presser foot.
  3. Lower the presser foot bar.
  4. Insert the Embroidery Spring Needle and thread it.
  5. Use a straight stitch.
  6. Start with the tension set at normal. Stitch on a scarp (the same as your project).
  7. Remove the fabric from the machine and check the tension. You should have a good stitch top and bottom as shown below. If the top thread is pulling to the back as shown, raise the upper thread tension to a higher number. Continue to increase the tension until the stitch is balanced.

Remember: You removed the presser foot and lowered your feed dog. You are now regulating the length of the stitched yourself by moving the fabric manually. Do not move the fabric too fast. The machine speed should be uniform: not too fast, not too slow. Experiment which speed suits you best. You may need to practice for a while until you achieve even stitches.

Stabilizer may be needed depending upon the weight of your fabric.


  • Always take a few stitches in place when beginning to sew until your machine reached the proper speed. Continue stitching, e.g., with stippling and other designs.
  • Try free motion embroidery with satin stitch:  Use the zigzag stitch. Begin stitching as before to get the feel for it. You have to move the fabric very slowly to form the satin stitch.
  • Use multi-colored threads for a special effect.

Click HERE to view SCHMETZ Spring Needles.



  1. Sorry but on my feed the sentence in Remember section has me laughing this morning.. Experiment which _____suits you best. Love using Schmetz needles the only ones that are used in my sewing machine.

    • SCHMETZneedles says

      Thanks for pointing out our mistake. It’s amazing how one missing letter changes the tone of the sentence.

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