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Embroidery Digitizing Basics

Machine embroidery has been around for many years. However, all of the machine embroidery of the past was done by very large and expensive machines housed within specialty businesses. In the past if you were a business and wanted your logos sewn onto baseball hats or other promotional items, then you went to a custom embroidery business and they did it for you. Thanks to the declining costs of computers and technology advances, home sewers now have the capability of doing custom machine embroidery in their own homes.

The art of creating custom machine embroidery is called embroidery digitizing. Embroidery digitizing involves using a personal computer, an embroidery sewing machine, and a special digitizing software application.

Using digitizing software install on your personal computer, you can transfer a design into one which can be embroidered. However, this is not a simple “click-of-the-mouse” conversion; it is done by hand and takes some time and skills. To digitize a design you need to dissect the design into sections and layers and design how each area will look with another.

Once you have your basic design digitized, you then have to spend time with the special software tools tweaking out the design so that it will look good once your embroidery machine embroiders it. Because thread embroidery designs are three dimensional not all designs will look good once they have been digitized. The software is very helpful in this area and in showing you which areas to change.

To be successful with embroidery digitizing software you must be an experienced sewer and knowledgeable of the various types of fabrics on the market. Fabric moves differently when sewn and you will have to account for this in your designs.

Embroidery digitizing software requires you to have a fairly powerful personal computer. You will need one with a lot of system memory, a strong processor, a USB port, and a lot of free disk space. The better the personal computer you use, the easier it will be for you to design your embroidery projects and the easier it will be for your computer to transfer them.

When you are looking to purchase digitizing software there are a few things you should be looking for. The first is that the software itself should be easy to install and use. You should be able to digitize on your computer screen by being able to control scaling, match components to the onscreen grids, zoom in and zoom out, and pan from one area of a design to another.

Many digitizers today can easily allow you to expand or shrink your designs and they will automatically adjust your stitch count and density to meet the new design size. This is very important and can save you a lot of time.

Another important thing you want to have in your digitizing software is the ability to see the true thread colors both on your computer monitor and on your color printer. This allows you to make sure you use just the right colors in your designs and that the embroidered design meets any logo requirements as well.

As you can see, computer digitized embroidery is not a simple process. However, once you learn the basics it can be a very satisfying craft or business venture for you. You will be truly amazed at your results after learning the software and creating your first few designs.