Beginner Digitizing

I have almost decided that I need to write a book!


Well, honestly i would not know where to start, so i guess I will just keep blogging and hope that people are interested in learning.

People ask a lot of questions – and questions are great, questions are how we learn and questions make a big difference.  More often than not, I am getting the same question, roughly worded this way “I am an illustrator/graphic design/use AI etc and I now want to take my vector designs and turn them into embroidery to sell them”

OK, great idea!  If you have created some awesome vector illustrations, why not create some embroidery designs too?

I think some people think that embroidery digitizing is easy, they really think you can “turn” vector art into embroidery art.  You can of course, with a few clicks and use auto digitizing, but are those types of designs any good?  No.  No they are not.

Embroidery digitizing is a skill to learn, a trade, a craft and definitely art.  So when someone decides to be a graphic artist, they put the program on their computer, and BAM they are a graphic artist?  NO. It takes hours and hours of work, learning, reading, research, classes and experience to become even a low level graphic artist.  So why do you think digitizing embroidery is any different?  It isn’t.  You have to have the right software, a decent computer, and embroidery machine and lots of time and effort.

Ok, OK, i am ranting a bit, I don’t mean to, but embroidery digitizing is a skill and it is art. And I take my profession seriously.   An artist takes time to develop, it takes effort and a whole bunch of work!!  Dedication is another part of it too – you have to be dedicated to learn your art.

And you have to have an embroidery machine – or know someone who has an embroidery machine.  Before you can be a digitizer, you have to understand embroidery.  You need to know and recognize the different kids of stitches, where to use them and why you can or can’t use them – you can’t learn all of that from a computer screen, its just not the same.  You have to understand the machine, hoop sizes, different embroidery thread, different bobbin thread, different needles and why…and it goes on and on and on.   You need to understand different stabilizers to make your work stitch out perfectly, you need to understand hooping and placement and you need to understand stitch density.  You have to understand that if the density is not right, the whole design will be ruined!  You have to also understand push compensation and pull compensation.  There is no way that you can understand that concept without stitching something out and seeing the puckering on the fabric, or the out of registration objects, because you needed to add some pull compensation.  Whenever I am training someone to work with us, I usually make them spend a few days watching designs stitch out and asking questions – or more than a few hours if they are not picking up on it LOL – they will hoop designs, they will use different backings, etc.   I do that for as long as possible before they sit down to a computer.  Then they have at least a beginning understanding of embroidery, then they can build on that understanding with digitizing.  Once they stitch out their own designs, then they can see right from wrong and will be able to pick out their mistakes.  After all, if you have not seen the right way, how will you be able to know what a mistake even is?

When people ask me “where do I start” that is my answer:  KNOW EMBROIDERY BEFORE YOU START DIGITIZING.   That is a great place to start.  Once you are familiar with all the concepts of embroidery, you will become a better digitizer.

Don’t try and skip steps and wonder why you are having issues – you need to take each step, one at a time, and understand each step.

For everyone that is learning digitizing – CONGRATULATIONS and welcome to the world of embroidery digitizing!  Be proud of all of your accomplishments- even your first digitized-by-you design is a huge accomplishment – that means you have done hours of work,  research, learning, not to mention hours stitching out designs!  Congratulate yourself and feel good about it – it really is a milestone that you can build on to become a great digitizer.   Be dedicated, keep working hard and know your software, and you are well on your way to becoming a digitizer.


11 responses to “Beginner Digitizing”

  1. Sue Harris Avatar

    So nice to hear this said. I am very much a beginner with so much to learn but some people just think that you can press a button and hey prest you have a perfect design!

    1. OML Embroidery Avatar

      Yes, so many people think that embroidery digitizing is easy – and one click you are done…so they don’t understand why a design can take hours or days to create….we get that all the time. Thanks for commenting and helping me make my point. Digitizing takes a lot of time and work and dedication to create nice embroidery designs! keep working hard – the results are well worth it!

  2. Sonya Avatar

    Great post, Sue! And let me just say…if you ever *did* write a book; I’d snap it up in a heartbeat! 🙂

    1. OML Embroidery Avatar

      Woohoo! Thanks!

  3. Tara Avatar

    Yes it does!!! I really want to learn it better. Thank you so much for all of your help.

  4. Karen Kelly Avatar

    Thanks again for being so informative! I have learnt so much from you, so thank you.

  5. Jimmie Jensen Avatar

    You are so awesome to take valuable time out of your life to help those of us who want to digitize. My need to learn is for myself. I do not want to turn my newest hobby in to a full time job like I did the last hobby that I loved and worked with the public for the last 20 years.

  6. janice wood Avatar
    janice wood

    Interested in your comment about becoming experienced in embroidery before going into the study of digitizing. I’m a new owner of an embroidery machine and really wanted to do digitizing right away with the aid of your tutorials. But, you feel I should spend some time doing the embroidery that came with my machine or I buy before studying the Digitizing?
    As to your tutorials, I’ve downloaded the un-registerd versions of embird and was going to follow your tutorials to learn how to use the modules. Does this make sense considering it’s not a complete version?


    1. OML Embroidery Avatar

      i think you should watch a few designs stitch out and see how things stitch – the connections, the style, the angles, etc. it will be a big help and help you take the first step in learning everything. the only problem that I can see if that if you have the trial version of Embird, you can’t save or stitch out any of your work! that is a big part of the learning too, watching your work stitch oiut – you can see your mistakes, you can see where you need to make changes and really fine tune your digitizing skills.

  7. Jimmie Jensen Avatar

    I do not know what I would do if I did not have access to your tutorials. Thank you so much.

    1. OML Embroidery Avatar

      thank you for your support!!

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