Sunday, 5 August 2012

Embroidery Digitizing

An important part of custom embroidery is digitizing.  Digitizing is the process of converting artwork into a stitch file that can be read by an embroidery machine and interpreted as different stitch types. So what are the steps that lead to a perfectly digitized design?

Preparing Artwork for Embroidery Digitizing

The digitizer has to analyze the design to find out if it needs to be edited for embroidery. Artwork designed for print media can not always be embroidered properly; they have to be simplified first. Other changes that may need to done are resizing the image, eliminating outlines and enlarging small text.


Once a design has been modified using a graphics software, the file is used as a template for an embroidery program to create a stitch file. The digitizer will then have to decide how the pathing in the logo will run. The sequence of stitches in a design is known as pathing. The execution of the design is greatly determined by the pathing. If the sequence in the embroidery isn’t correct, the design might have gaps and turn out to be uneven. The pathing also effects the length of running time of a design on the machine. Though this might not seem important, a design with a shorter run time will be less costly.

Assigning Embroidery Stitch Types

Next, each section of the design is assigned stitch types based on what stitches will best represent the artwork.  First, the digitizer adds the underlay stitches.  Although underlay stitches are not visible in a finished logo, having the correct underlay stitches is necessary for creating a great looking logo.  Underlay helps stabilize the fabric to the backing, lay down the nap of the fabric so that the remaining stitches have a smooth surface to embroider on and also add density to the design.  Stitches tend to sink into the fabric or the fabric shows through the design if the underlay isn’t proper.Although there are only three basic stitch types: run, satin and fill stitches, there are variations of these stitch types.  For example, fill stitches are used to cover large areas; but, the digitizer must decide what type of fill stitch to use, the direction of the fill and where the fill should start and stop in the design. The type of fabric the logo will be embroidered on must be considered when the stitches are being decided and appropriate adjustments should be made.  Stitches will sink into fabrics such as polar fleece and lay on the surface of denser fabrics such as nylon.  A logo that was originally digitized for denim won’t look as good when embroidered on a pique knit where the stitches sink into the fabric.

The Push and Pull Factor

“Push and Pull” is another important aspect of embroidery. While being embroidered, it is possible that a design may move. This will cause shifting in some stitches. There is higher chance of shifting when using long stitches, heavy fabric, tightly wound bobbin thread and large areas of thread. The digitizer should rectify the effects of “push and pull” and make adjustments.

The Embroidery

Even though it might seem that left chest business logos are easy to digitize, designs that have detail, small text and color changes take more time to set-up. It takes a lot of time and experience to correctly digitize designs as it is a very exacting process. The digitizer must be aware of how different stitches will appear on fabric as compared to when he sees them on the software. A well digitized design will make your logo look better so it is important to hire someone who does quality digitizing.


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