Embroidery Digitizing

Embroidery Digitizing is the process of converting artwork into digital form. The image and text are transferred to a program that controls and runs these machines. The design is then recreated in embroidery. Technically this process involves converting analog data into digital information. This type of info is saved in the form of binary digits.

Technology has made the process of normal stitching less expensive, more efficient, and faster. Before it would take several days to complete even the simplest embroidery design. But because of these new digitizing processes, a design can be created in minutes. However, there are some drawbacks to this process.

First of all, you need to purchase a sophisticated machine, which is pretty expensive and requires immense precautions and care to operate. Second, you need to have a skilled operator to run and control the machine in order to create the design of your choice.

Digitizing embroidery has taken the process of embroidery to greater heights, thanks to the highly precise stitching these machines offer. This process also takes into account which design will work based on fabric type.

Digitizing Machines

Embroidery Digitizing Machines

First, you must take into account the machine’s requirements. After an image has been digitized, it’s then saved in a specific format. The file features a series of coordinates and commands which are needed in order to tell the machine about the design and pattern, when to trim when to stop, and what colors to use.

Most embroidery machines now come with software that can help to digitize the embroidery designs. For the digitizing process, you can choose programs for smaller, personal use embroidery machines, or larger commercial grade models. Keep in mind that digitizing isn’t as simple as controlling your PC. This process requires practice, training, and talent. If you’re new to embroidery, you must first focus on learning the embroidery process first before you dive into digitizing designs. Once you become familiar with embroidery, you can then start using these types of programs.

The Process

You must first analyze the design in order to see if it needs to be edited for embroidery. Not all images that are designed for print will work well for an embroidery design. Most of the time, these designs must be simplified. Aside from resizing the design, some other elements such as outlining will need to be eliminated, while the text may need to be reduced or enlarged.

After the design has been modified, the file will be opened in the embroidery program where it will be used as a template to create a stitch file. During this process, you will need to determine how the pathing in the design will run. The term pathing refers to the sequence of stitches in a design from the start of the process to the end. The pathing can affect how the design lies when the process is complete. If the design hasn’t been embroidered in the right sequence, the result can be uneven text or unwanted gaps. The pathing can also determine how long a design runs on the machine during the process. While you may not care about the run time, a shorter design will cost less.

Stitch Type Selection

You must then assign the type of stitches that must be used for every section of the design based on what type of stitches will best represent the design. They will begin by adding in the underlying stitches. While you can’t see these stitches in a finished design, having the right underlay stitches is crucial to creating a great looking finished product. The underlay will help to stabilize the backing of the design to the fabric, lay down the nap of the material so that the rest of the stitches have a smoother surface to work on and they will also add some density. Using the wrong underlay causes the material to show through the design or the stitches can sink into the fabric. While there are only types of stitch options: fill, satin, run, there are plenty of stitch type variations. Fill stitches are mainly used to cover larger areas, however, you must determine what type of fill stitch will work the best, where the fill should start and stop and the direction of the fill. You will also need to determine what kind of fabric the design will be embroidered on and make the necessary adjustments. Stitches tend to sink into certain types of fabrics, such as fleece, and will lay on the surface of other fabrics, such as nylon. A design that was initially intended for denim won’t look good when embroidered on knit fabric.

The push and pull are another important aspects of embroidery. The design can move during the embroidery process, causing the stitches to shift. This is more common when using large areas of thread and a tight bobbin thread, long stitches, and bulky fabrics. You must account for the different effects of push and pull on each design and make any necessary adjustments.

While many larger designs are easy to digitize, designs that feature small text, fine detail, and lots of color changes can require a more extensive setup time.

Digitizing designs is a very careful process that requires experience and time in order to get the best results. You will need to know how the stitches you see in the embroidery software program will look on different types of fabrics. A design that’s well digitized will enhance your design.

Final Thoughts

Every time you see a shirt or jacket with an embroidered company logo or even a baseball hat with the team emblem, that design is digitized. This process is widely used by major embroidery companies and small home based businesses. Learning how to do this process will take time. There are a number of digitizing software programs designed for home use, but even these can be complicated if you’re not very computer savvy. We recommend taking workshops or digitizing courses, which can provide you with the tools you need to learn how to perform this type of complicated artwork.