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The Embroidery Process:

Everything You've Ever Wondered

Embroidery is one of the most appealing ways to bring your logo to life on items that can be difficult to print on, like hats and caps, bags, blankets and more. 

These are the basic steps for creating embroidery with a computerized embroidery machine:

  • Create a digitized embroidery design file

  • Load the final design file into the embroidery machine

  • Stabilize the fabric and place it in the machine

  • Start and monitor the embroidery machine

Design Files

Digitized embroidery design files can be either purchased or created. A person who creates a design is known as an "embroidery digitizer." The digitizer uses special software to create an embroidery design file that the machine can translate into stitches.

Editing Designs

Once a design has been digitized, it can be edited or combined with other designs by software. With most embroidery software the user can rotate, scale, move, stretch, distort, split, crop, or duplicate the design in an endless pattern. Most software allows the user to add text quickly and easily. Often the colors of the design can be changed, made monochrome, or re-sorted. More sophisticated packages will allow the user to edit, add or remove individual stitches. 

Loading the Design

Once the design is finalized, the file is loaded into the embroidery machine. Different machines expect different files formats. The commercial format DST (Tajima) is the most popular.

Stabilizing the Fabric

To prevent wrinkles and other problems, the fabric must be stabilized. The method of stabilizing depends to a large degree on the type of machine, the fabric type, and the design density. 

For most embroidered items, the item to be embroidered is hooped, and the hoop is attached to the machine. There is a mechanism on the machine (usually called an arm) that then moves the hoop under the needle.

Embroidering the Design

Finally, the embroidery machine is started and monitored. Depending on the quality and size of the design, stitching out a design file can require a few minutes or an hour or more.