Why Telling Machine Embroidery from Hand Embroidery Gets Harder

Chinese silk hand embroidery is an old and unique art form to paint with needles and silk threads. After thousands of years of development, Chinese silk embroidery has become highly sophisticated, comparable to oil paintings in colors and as realistic as photographs in realism. While there are many schools of Chinese silk embroidery, the most notable embroidery, also widely acknowledged as the best of all, is Su embroidery, the silk embroidery work produced in Suzhou, the hometown of silk in China.

Machine embroidery techniques have developed very fast since the 1990s. In stead of making embroidery logos for clothing, some machine embroidery manufacturers in Zhejiang province in China started to make machine embroidery paintings that look like handmade silk embroidery, especially Su embroidery. In the beginning, the machine embroidery differed quite clearly from hand embroidered silk embroidery. It was very easy to tell the machine embroidery from the hand silk embroidery because the embroidery was so coarse. But after many years of trial and error, especially with the help of computer software since 2000, the machine embroidery improved a lot in quality. Now for most of common customers, it is very hard to tell the embroidery-made embroidery from the handmade embroidery. The machine embroideries in market nowadays are made from handmade silk embroideries, using handmade embroideries as a base. The machine embroidery manufacturers scan handmade silk embroidery into computer. They use embroidery software to analyze the structure of the handmade silk embroidery stitch by stitch. The embroidery software records the details of the hand embroidery, positions, lengths, and colors of every stitch in the handmade silk embroidery. Then the embroidery machine will produce an embroidery work using the same stitches. The machine embroideries produced this way highly resembles the original handmade silk embroidery.
Most of machine embroidery sellers online will try to avoid using the word machine. Instead of telling their customers that the embroideries are machine made, they will state that the embroideries are hand designed. It is true that the embroidery base from which the machine embroideries are produced is hand designed and hand embroidered. But the finally completed embroidery is all machine made. No handwork is involved. Unlike handmade silk embroideries which are different and unique from each other, the embroideries of the same design produced in this way look identical because they are all mass produced by machines from one handmade embroidery base.

machine embroidery

A machine-made embroidery 'The Kiss', produced by using a handmade embroidery as the base. It's really challenging for customers who have never seeb the real hand embroidered 'The Kiss' to judge if it is handmade.


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* Su Embroidery Studio can reproduce any pictures into silk embroideries for you. Our embroidery artists can also reproduce any silk embroideries you saw at a more competitive price. Custom Silk Embroidery

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