Author Archives for OML Embroidery

About OML Embroidery

Do you want to learn embroidery? This is the place to be - OML Embroidery's youtube channel! We have been creating and stitching embroidery for a long time and have been in business for more than 15 years and we have more than 15 years digitizing experience. Embroidery is our passion. We know embroidery and embroidery designs and we can help you create your own embroidery designs all by yourself!! Why pay tons of money for embroidery designs when you can do it all yourself, and have fun doing it! We provide you with step by step instructions and how to articles so you can be confident and create beautiful embroidery. Make sure you check out all of our FREE classes on youtube - there are lots of quick tip videos and full length classes available for free: click here: Subscribe NOW and support the channel to keep getting FREE embroidery classes :) Subscribing, Liking and Commenting are FREE - and so are the classes! All you have to do is participate!!

Part 1: UNDERLAY – How to Create Professional Designs




Its hard to explain the importance of underlay in embroidery projects.  Its much easier to show you what happens when you don’t use underlay.

Take a good look at the picture above.  You don’t even have to look closely to see that it is a very very poor example of embroidery digitizing.

There are many mistakes in this example and we are going to talk about the first one:  underlay.  We will continue to examine the design so everyone can learn what NOT to do in designs.

When you go to a website to get some digitizing done, you sometimes pay a flat rate, and you sometimes pay per 1,000 stitches.  In the latter case, the digitizers will increase the amount of stitches so that they can make more money.  This is just as bad as the example – the end result design will be thick and be offset and will still have many faults.   Please always check your designs before stitching them out to make sure you won’t break your machine or at the least break needles.

This is why you need to learn to digitize for  yourself – you can make sure that each design is done properly and done professionally.

Lets get back to the picture.  You have to notice right away that the red stitching is very very sparse and you can see the fabric underneath.  Does that look good to you?

This example is of course a patch – we make professional patches – and NO this is NOT one of our patches.  This is a patch we are fixing.  In the world of patches, things are opposite.  They usually don’t get paid for the digitizing, so they cut down the stitches to make the production faster.  More patches stitched, more money for them.

This patch needs some major corrections.  First of all the underlay on the Engineer Castle symbol.  Lets look at the stitching – it doesn’t look solid, the stitches look random and as I said before, you can actually see the material below.  This looks awful.

Some of the issues can be solved with underlay.  Underlay sets the base for the actual embroidery design.   Never forget your underlay!  It provides the design with stability,  underlay can raise up the design stitching and in the case of embroidering on towels or fancy material, it will provide a base to lay down the material so that it won’t come through the actual design.

When we re-created the design, we added 3 types of underlay – edge, zigzag and centre underlay.    This makes the design look amazing!

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 4.04.52 PM

Look at the sharp edges of the engineer castle – that is because of the edge underlay – it provides a base for a sharp, defined design and the edges will always be neat and tidy – they stitching of the actual design will not sink into the background material.

Also, look at the lettering.  Whenever you add lettering you want the lettering to be clear.  This patch is 2inches by 3 inches in size, so the lettering is quite small and we made sure that there was edge underlay so the edges of the lettering is defined and readable.  We also added zig zag lettering so that the lettering looks a bit raised – and stands out from the backing material.

So, for Part 1 in Mastering Digitizing – know your underlay.  Use it and make your embroidery designs look professional and well done.




Embird Quick Tip: How to digitize efficiently using shortcuts

Quick tip on how to digitize a simple design quickly and easily using shortcuts, rather than manually digitizing the whole design, one anchor point at a time.  This digitizing shortcut is very easy to learn and makes perfect embroidery design.  Think like a digitizer and pick out  shapes that can be merged together to make one object.  Digitize like a pro – make awesome designs more efficient!  Think outside the box, and see simple shapes to make amazing embroidery designs.


New Embird Tutorial video – all about stitches!

If you have finished the first two tutorials for an introduction to Embird, or you are familiar with embroidery digitizing, you can move on to our their video that is all about stitches.  The video is full of information, quick tips and shortcuts to help you on your way with learning digitizing.  By the end of this 45 minute tutorial, you will be armed with digitizing skills to help you get started creating your own designs and editing designs.


What is Embroidery Digitizing???

Machine embroidery digitizing is an art form.

Using embroidery digitizing software, a skilled embroidery digitizer transforms an image or text to stitches, creating the image in a file format an embroidery machine can read.

That’s a fine definition but the reality is somewhat more involved. Just as typing words into a word processor does not make one an author, being able to open digitizing software on a computer does not make the operator an embroidery digitizer. Embroidery digitizing is not a click-the-button-and-sit-back process.
Digitizing an image for embroidery requires an artist’s ability to see the big picture and the smallest of details. Experienced embroidery digitizers mentally dissect each image, breaking it out into sections and layers, noting how each section relates to the others, how the colors blend and merge and how the shadows play with the light to create the mood or atmosphere the image evokes.
Then the digitizer utilizes the software’s tools to separate those sections for redrawing or resizing, stitching in underlay and overlay threads, assigning stitching sequences, using thread to apply shading, and colorizing. The design put back together to create that original impression, as much as is possible, in thread and it is ready for its first sew out.

Sometimes digitizing an image to thread is often not possible nor feasible. Thread is three-dimensional; it is not oil paint or digital pixels. An embroidery digitizer must have an artist’s creativity and problem-solving skills. A digitizer’s canvas is the computer monitor, the keyboard and mouse are the brushes and the embroidery digitizer’s pallet is the embroidery software.

But the embroider’s canvas is the fabric, her brushes are the machine, needles and thread and her pallet is the program produced by the digitizer. The machine is only a robot awaiting instructions and then doing precisely what it is told to do in the order it is told to do it. Ruling out mechanical problems or operator error, if a pattern does not sew out correctly it is not the machine or embroider’s fault.

The digitizer’s work is not confined to a computer screen. Knowledge of fabric types and the push-pull factor of each is also required. The embroidery digitizer also needs to know about needles, thread, and stabilizers and, perhaps most importantly, must creatively expand the ‘boundaries’ of machine embroidery.


What do you want to learn about Embroidery?

Easy Digitizing Mistakes

In the embroidery industry there are thousands of digitizers that still make basic mistakes when making designs. Issues from a poorly digitized design could be unnecessary trims, unnecessary jumps, too many color changes and not enough compensation, to dense, and the list goes on.

  1. Lack of Planning

This is usually seen on new digitizers as they are able to draw the design and on-screen it looks okay, but when they so it out your machine your machine jumps unnecessary and there are too many trims. Making the sew out slower than it needs be. You will also likely to have simulated thread breaks caused by lack of lock stitches and or trimming on small letters.

  1. No Underlay or wrong style for application

This is one of the hardest things to learn is which underlay works best for the stitch types, the wrong underlay or no underlay can distort the design and cause issues while embroidering it, specially on different fabric types.

  1.  Improper Pull Compensation

You need to understand Pull Compensation and you need to know how much is enough vs too much or too little, a poorly digitized design may have underlay sticking out as the compensation was not right for the design, or there are too much underlay and the designs is distorting. Below is a chart to gauge one aspect of the compensation factor, elasticity.  The other factors include, type of backing, type of underlay and design characteristics.

  1.  Improper Density

This is another giveaway of a new digitizer, producing designs that are “ bullet proof “ meaning that the density is too high (often when using layers of thread you can reduce the density by 1/3 to compensate for the different layers), or too little density and the underlay or garment will show through. The other factor is the fabric , towels need underlay to hold the nap down and bit more density than the standard to prevent the gaps where strands can poke through.

  1. Stitch Direction

This is one issue that is up to the designer, but I don’t usually like plain, flat designs where the fill type is the same throughout the design. Using different stitch angles gives the design character, and often will make the design look more attractive than all the stitches going the same way.

  1. No Lock Stitches

Generally putting lock stitches is optional on some materials however some will require it to make sure it doesn’t unravel, I like it on jackets, knits and jersey material and especially on sports apparel or spandex. Having lock stitches will help prevent the stitches from unraveling.

  1. Fill Types

A problem with many digitizers they do not know how the fill types affect the design, years ago Pulse used to provide a book with a pattern of the different types of fills, this would give you a visual on what the end result would look like. Too many digitizers use the same old patterns for all their designs. I recommend choosing the fill type suited to the design.

8 Stitch Lengths

This can impact underlay when it sticks out from the sides of letters, or might be a cause to higher densities, and or coverage. Small letters you see this a lot, if a letter is 4 mm high and the stitch length is defaulted to .12″ (3 mm) than the default settings is not going to work.  .05″ will drop the stitch length to 1.2 mm this will allow the underlay to conform to the smaller text sizes, not compensating for this the underlay will not cover the design, stick out or cause other distortion issues.

  1. Wrong stitch type for width

This is something you should as a digitizer have an idea, you will see issue like a satin stitch being too large causing loopy stitches, needless trims, gaps in the design, or too dense for the area. We did cover some of these terms in the blog for Stitch types, but general    Fills  .04″ to Infinite,   Satin 03″ to 40″,  Steil 03″ to .20″   runs stitches don’t have limitations –  its one stitch after another except on program fills and they are used like a fill. But you can adjust them to reduce the size.

  1. Wrong application for design

This is one that people often get wrong, ie a left chest design doesn’t always work for caps as it pushes the design or distorts the design on the hat, hats generally require a design to sew out from the center to the left and center to the right to push in equal directions, other comparisons you would not want a design designed for knit fabrics used on nylon as you often see the design pucker.

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