Beginner Embroidery: WHAT SOFTWARE SHOULD I BUY?

People ask me for my opinion on what software is the best…and its super hard to give an answer.  Super hard.  I don’t work for any of the software companies out there, so I do not have any ties or responsibilities to them, but its still a hard answer.  People are always asking me “what software should I buy? ”  or “should I get the cheapest one?”  or “how do I decide which software to buy?”.  Those are all tough questions.

So before shopping for software of any kind, you need to make sure that you know as much as you can about embroidery in general.  I did a blog earlier on digitizing for beginners and it was all about knowing embroidery, not beginner digitizing.  I think that is really important…it doesn’t matter what software you use if you don’t know anything about embroidery, its going to be very difficult for you to digitize anything.  No, I am not saying that you can’t do it, of course people can, but I think that you need to understand embroidery before digitizing.  Check out my earlier blog and you will see what I mean.

Back to the software and the questions that I get.  I really can’t give anyone an answer.  The best software out there is the commercial level software  – and I have one of them!  DG15 is priced way way up there for a reason – and it is one of the best digitizing software out there.  But I am not going to answer like that, because most people don’t NEED  a commercial level software, and they won’t ever need it, honestly.  The price tag is huge, and I won’t recommend anyone to spend $10,000 on software if you don’t need it and won’t need it.

So then I get asked ” what software do you like best?”  and the honest answer is I LIKE THEM ALL.  Each software has is own merits, some more than others but each of the software that I work on I like.  Nobody asks me what software I want.  My answer would be WILCOM E3 COMMERCIAL EDITION WITH EVERYTHING ADDED.  I have wanted Wilcom for around 15 years…and still don’t have it!!  But remember, I am a professional digitizer, and have been for a long time…my wants are different from yours!!

I guess my point is, the software you need is depending on what you are going to do with embroidery.  I can’t be used as an example because I do just about everything, and if I don’t do a certain style of embroidery, you can bet that I will be learning it soon!!  I make patches for a living, so I digitize every single day and stitch every single day – but patches are weird, and have different rules – so software that works for me, may not be the best for you.   So you need to find the right embroidery software for YOU.

Do you add lettering to pre-made designs?  then one of the Hatch modules, will work just fine for you.  But if you want built in fonts, then you need to have Embird and buy the built in fonts.   If you want to use a ton of pre-made fonts that are sold in a group (meaning each letter is a separate file) then you should probably get Embrilliance with the Alpha Tricks module – it makes adding the fonts super easy, and you can use them as regular fonts by typing on the keyboard.  But again, for me, thats not what I do, so its not applicable.  Do you see what I mean?  Some people don’t care about digitizing, they want to add lettering.  Some people don’t add lettering, they want to digitizing.  Some people want to do a little digitizing, some people want to do more, and learn more.  Personally, I can’t buy just a part of a program, I have to buy every module of it – i do everything remember – so I can’t have my work flow limited in any way.  I will seriously go crazy.  But again, thats just me.

When asked this question, I usually respond with “what do you NEED TO DO WITH EMBROIDERY”  if the answer is “i only do appliqué” then you need to find a program with its focus on appliqué and has tools that you can use and learn.  If you only do monogramming, then you need software that has a focus on monogramming (btw, Wilcom Hatch has a brilliant module on monogramming, I love it).

I also always suggest that you try the software before buying it.  For example, Hatch has a free trial on their software, and the 30 day free trial is fully functional software – meaning you can save and use the designs that you create.  BRILLIANT.  ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT.  Embird also has a 30 free trial of the software, but it is limited because you can’t save anything or send anything to your machines.  Good, but not as good as Hatch on that one.  But you can still download the trial of embird and see if you like the program.  Heck, download both and see which one you like better.  Why not???  You might be surprised at what you figure out – and 30 days is a long enough time to use the software enough, learn enough to make a decision about it.

Now, if you are making your decision based on money, you are going to limit yourself.  To me, amazing embroidery software is worth its weight in gold.  And I really mean this – I have software that I use every day for my job making patches, but I still bought the full version of Hatch.  I didn’t need to, I have programs that are paid for – and I really don’t need 4 embroidery software programs plus a commercial one – but Hatch is awesome and I love how it works.  So I bought it.  and I use it every day.  I try and put things into perspective…does the program make me happy?  is it easy to use?  is it FUN (yes, fun is a consideration for me, embroidery should be fun)?  am I getting the results that I want?  am I getting great stitch outs?  all of those things I take into consideration, and after two weeks of using the Hatch trial, I had no issue buying the full program.  None.  I just love it, and it makes digitizing fun!  Yay.

I really can’t answer the question for you ” which software do you like best”  because I like them all.  “which software should I buy” I still can’t answer, because it depends on your level and what you do with embroidery.  So please ask “what embroidery software do you want?”  I CAN answer that one.  WILCOM E3.

WHICH SOFTWARE SHOULD I BUY? is a question that is up to you:  do your research, join some groups, do some homework, download the trials, see what the embroidery software can do for you!!  After all, embroidery software is supposed to make your embroidery life easier.  So if your software isn’t making you happy, why buy it?  and if you are using software now and you want to do more, then its time to make a change and look into something different.   Keep growing, keep moving up and most of all keep digitizing!!!

I would also advise to check out software for yourself.  Try Hatch For free for 30 days.  No credit card required, and it is a fully functional version of Hatch in every level – for free!



14 responses to “Beginner Embroidery: WHAT SOFTWARE SHOULD I BUY?”

  1. Mary-Mike Avatar

    Thanks for your insightful comments. I’ve been struggling with Embird for years and with Brother PES software for many years prior to that. I’ve been a home, hobby embroiderer since the first home machines came out but just couldn’t make the digitizing software do what I wanted. That changed when you posted your new Wilcom Hatch tutorials. I downloaded the 30 xay trial as you suggested and have successfully created, converted, and sewn out several simple, but original designs. I’m thrilled and can’t thank you enough! I wouldn’t have taken this step without your tutorials and encouragement. After playing with Hatch for several days I knew I’d found what I’ve been searching for all these years and bought the digitizer package last night. Hatch makes sense to me in ways Embird and PES never have. And the tools and functions are so darn much fun I can’t wait to get back in and play some more! I’m in love and so grateful that you introduced this to your readers. It was also great timing because Wilcom is having a Mother’s Day sale for folks using the free 30 day trial so I was able to get the package at a discount. Please keep the hatch videos coming. Wilcom has some nice tutorials but I like yours much better. Your explanations are clear and concise and your enthusiasm is contagious! Thanks again. OML and Hatch ROCK!

    1. OML Embroidery Avatar

      WOW! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO POST THIS….and I am so happy that you have found Wilcom Hatch and love it as much as we do!! I am excited that you are finally making progress – keep up the good work. KEEP PLAYING AND KEEP HAVING FUN!! I am glad that my enthusiasm is contageous, too. I have a hard time keeping it under control for some of the videos, hahahaha!

      Again, thank you for taking the time to post your story – its so wonderful to read, and absolutely made my day!!! You should join our Facebook group (i think you have already?) and pass on the enthusiasm too. You can post this in the group and on OML Embroidery’s page, I think others might be inspired, too.

      1. OML Embroidery Avatar

        Can I have your permission to post this everywhere? on a separate blog, Facebook and in the group? And also please help spread the word about Hatch by sharing everything you can – every little bit helps! Thanks – and I await your response 🙂

  2. Mary-Mike Avatar

    Certainly! Feel free to repost where ever you deem suitable. I’m so excited about Hatch and OML and want the you are a dynamic embroidery duo! Thanks again.

  3. Sonya Avatar

    I’d been looking at the Hatch software on the Wilcom site and having a very long “maybe some day” type conversation with myself about it. But after seeing your YouTube videos; I downloaded the trial version and started playing with it. It didn’t take me long at all to realize that the software was exactly what I’d been wanting (and looking for) for a long time. After 3 days of testing it out, seeing how user friendly it is and finding so much support out there in the form of videos and the folks at Wilcom; I took the plunge and bought the Digitizer package on the 12th. The Mother’s Day coupon didn’t hurt either. 🙂

    I originally became interested in machine embroidery quite a few years back when I became involved in historical reenacting and I wanted to use my machine for embellishing garments for myself and other family members. But I soon realized that the embroidery patterns I could find weren’t quite right for my intended projects. So, I decided I wanted to learn to digitize to get the patterns I needed. That quickly became frustrating and machine sat unused in my sewing room for I don’t know how many years. :-/ Fast forward to recent events….my oldest daughter had a baby girl in September and my youngest daughter just had a little boy a couple of weeks ago. There’s nothing like adorable little grandbabies to get your creative impulses going again! I took my embroidery machine out of the box thinking it was about time to actually use it and what better thing to start on than baby items? Let’s just say that working to get my grandson’s name embroidered on a baby cap for him hooked me big time. And the wheels immediately started spinning on what else I could finally tackle. 🙂 I knew there had been improvements in home embroidery machines in the years since I’d last used mine. And I figured/hoped that the same was true of software for home users. The stars aligned perfectly with my revisiting the Wilcom site, seeing your very informative tutorials and being able to buy the software.

    I know that it will take time for me to learn to digitize, but I’m not frustrated or worried about that at all. And, with the abilities of the Hatch program; I know I’ll be able to do exactly what I want. Between the embroidery patterns I have as well as the many, many, *many* graphics files I have on hand for my Photoshop Elements programs; the sky really is the limit and I’m so excited to get started on this wonderful creative adventure. 🙂

    Thank you for your enthusiasm and for you generosity in sharing your knowledge with those of us who are so eager to learn!

  4. Rose Avatar

    I wish I had seen this before purchasing Embird. I’m finding it difficult to use in even the basic form. I had 4d with Viking and lost the dongle during a move. So have been looking for something ever since. I enjoyed the 30 day free trial with Embird, but only bought the basic.

    So now I will try Hatch free trial and see if it’s any easier. Thank you!

  5. Elvira rocha Avatar
    Elvira rocha

    Do you have anithing for singer embroidery

  6. Val Reid Avatar
    Val Reid

    Hi I have the Hatch Customser and keep wondering about the digitizer programme after seeing the comments on yout blog I think I may now upgrade to the digitiser . Val

  7. Crafty1 Avatar

    Hi! I just found this post. Is Hatch good at taking a JPG, JPEG, PNG or SVG file and making it into something I can stitch out on a single needle? Thanks in advance for checking back in 🙂

  8. Cheryl Avatar

    I am seriously thinking about ordering a digitizing software, but I have a mac. What program(s) do you recommend. Is Hatch or Embel mac compatible?

    1. OML Embroidery Avatar

      Every program is Mac compatible as long as you use Bootcamp or Parallels and have a copy of windows. I have two mac computers that I use Wilcom E4 on – most of my videos are done on a mac!!

  9. denise zobel Avatar

    i think that your a wonderful teacher! i have had the same problem as Mary-Mike except i have that awful generations!I can not get the program to do what I want I have spend lots of money on upgrades to no avail i have had hatch when it first came out but you only had a few videos but i got another free trial and i definitely will be buying it now. I have seen so many videos and have learned alot! thanks again for all your help!!!!

  10. deezee320 Avatar

    i think that your a wonderful teacher! i have had the same problem as Mary-Mike except i have that awful generations!I can not get the program to do what I want I have spend lots of money on upgrades to no avail i have had hatch when it first came out but you only had a few videos but i got another free trial and i definitely will be buying it now. I have seen so many videos and have learned alot! thanks again for all your help!!!!

  11. Linda Avatar

    Thank you for this information. I’ve been looking for something easier to use than PE Design. I’ve tried the free trials of Embird, embrilliance, and a few others but they’re so complicated! I hadn’t heard of Hatch until reading your article. I downloaded the trial and am watching tutorials, and it looks exactly like what I’ve been searching for. Again, thank you!

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