Embroidery patterns used to be set up manually. You would draw the picture you wanted to embroider, poke little holes in the paper with a pin, and then you would use charcoal or chalk to mark the fabric through those little holes. This process was very time consuming and the result was never so perfect.
With the advent of computerized embroidery machines, a whole new world of digitized embroidery patterns has opened up. If your pattern isn’t already digitized, you have several choices. You can send it to any of a number of companies that specialize in digitizing embroidery, or you can digitize your own pattern.
Sending your artwork to a company that specializes in digitizing embroidery is the easiest way to go. However, you may decide that you want to learn to digitize your own embroidery patterns.
To digitize a pattern, you need your own artwork in either a vector based format or a bitmap, such as you would get with CorelDraw or Adobe Photoshop. For your first design, your best bet is to start with something simple. A good choice would be a monogram, or a two color design such as a football or baseball.
Once you have chosen what you want to digitize, the next challenge is to create a map with a starting point, ending point and the paths the stitches will take along the way. This part can be a little more complicated and is by far the most challenging part of the embroidery digitizing process. You need to decide which stitch types, stitch directions, and densities go in each area of your design. If you leave spaces for jump stitches and the need to reposition the needle, you may end up with broken thread.
Next you will actually digitize the pattern. Whether you are using a digitizing tablet with a puck, or a computer and mouse, you would enter the coordinates for each stitch change.
Just when it seems like you’re actually finished with the work, you need to verify that the embroidery pattern that you just digitized is going to work the way you had planned. Test the pattern on a piece of fabric similar to what you will be embroidering the final design on. With the test, you will be able to see whether the stitches are positioned the way you want them. Plus, you will be able to tell whether the pattern works the way you expected it to.
If you need to make adjustments, now is the time. Go in and make changes with the digitizing tablet or computer. Save the adjustments and stitch another test run. This is the time to make all those adjustments that need to be made.
Don’t be disappointed if the pattern doesn’t turn out the way you want it the first time. Just keep adjusting it until it matches what you want. Digitizing embroidery is an art form. Just as you wouldn’t expect to be able to paint a masterpiece or play a Beethoven Concerto the first time you tried, you need to expect to have to practice the digitizing too.
Although after reading this article you might feel that computerized embroidery digitizing is more hard, but it is really less time consuming and give you outstanding results.