A Step by Step Guide to Embroidery Digitizing

Digitizing Your Designs

Simply put, embroidery digitization is the process of digitizing your designs (or those given to you by clients) into an embroidery machine ready format. This digital image can be loaded on to an automatic embroidery machine, which then produces the embroidered images on the final fabric. However, if you think it is a simple click of the button process (like scanning a photograph), you are very much mistaken. Digitization of designs for embroidery involves a series of steps, which are summarized below.

Step 1- Making the Image Embroidery Ready

The very first step in the digitization process is to determine if the image needs to be edited so that it appears exactly as it should when embroidered. This is where the expertise of professional embroidery digitizers comes in. These professionals are able to judge what changes if any are needed to make the image perfect for embroidery digitization. For instance, if the embroidery has lettering, these may need to be magnified to be clearly visible when embroidered on fabric. The image is edited in a graphics program and then opened in the embroidery software. The next step is to assign the embroidery path to the design.

Step 2- Assigning the Embroidery Path

This refers to the path which the machine will follow while embroidering the design. Assigning the right path is important to ensure finesse in the final look of the design. Incorrect pathing instructions may result in gaps in the design and visually uneven designs. The next crucial step is assigning the stitches to the design.

Step 3 – Selecting the Stitches on the Design

Each part of the image is assigned a specific stitch type that will best suit it. The idea is to make sure that the stitch best represents the image and is as close to the image as possible when embroidered on fabric. The type of stitches chosen depends on several factors such as requirements of the design as well as the final fabric on which the design would be embroidered. In this step, instructions are also fed into the image as to the color of threads to be used and the type of thread – nylon, metallic, cotton, or silk- to be used. The density of stitches is also specified here- where they will be very dense of light.

Depending on the type of digitizing software and the requirement of the design, each part of the design is digitized separately, or the image may be digitized as a whole. The former allows for crisp demarcation of colors in the embroidered design, while in the latter case, there is a softer effect created due to the blurring of colors.