Beginner Embroidery Lessons

Part 4 of the Dream Machine 2 + Scan n Cut DX225 series – the grand stitching finale!

This was a fun project to work on!  It’s so creative, and the sky’s the limit!!

In the first video, we created an applique design from an existing design on the Dream Machine – we did some outlines and some satin stitches offset so we don’t cover up the beautiful embroidery AND we put it all together in the correct order.  Once we finished this part, we set up the applique to send to the Scan N Cut DX225 cutter!  We added a bit of extra space around the design – which turned out to be too much space, LOL) and cut the fabric.  We used the special thin fabric blade and cut it perfectly!  I also did an experiment with the new GudyStic temporary adhesive that I love so much – and I got decent results – but I will be working with it more to come up with some better ideas.

In Part 4, the video below, we take all of our applique design components – the placement stitch, the tack down stitch and the satin stitch for the applique as well as the original design plus the pre-cut applique pieces and put it all together at McDreamy (my Dream Machine 2).  Watch the video and see what you can accomplish with a little bit of imagination and embroidery technology!!

Learn. Stitch. Smile

Be confident in every stitch!!


Let’s keep making FREE Digitizing/Embroidery classes!

Have you joined the facebook group OML Embroidery University yet?  I am so happy with this group – it’s a fantastic place to be for embroidery. I wanted to take a few moments to explain to everyone what I am doing with this group and the youtube channel: I want to explain my goals and expectations.

The first goal is to provide everyone with some serious learning classes and quick tips so that they can learn embroidery properly, and be more confident in their work and learn to digitize at a level different from others – a higher level. I want everyone to progress with their embroidery skills..and practice those skills both embroidery and digitizing. We have challenges, we have contests and we have full length classes for free. Everything is free!

I would like everyone to realize that planning, recording, editing and uploading classes takes a lot of my time. Sharing everything on facebook and youtube takes even more of my time. It all ads up. I really do spend a lot of time making these classes for you. I do not get paid anything at all. So yes, the classes are free and I am working for free.

Obviously, I won’t be able to do this long term. But there is a fantastic solution to this whole problem. Youtube. Yes, youtube. I can get paid by youtube and CONTINUE DOING FREE CLASSES FOR YOU. Yeah, it can work like that. I decided to try this approach to the classes for one simple reason: People were having a hard time paying for classes. I heard that many times and it made me think – I want everyone to learn embroidery properly and be successful in every single stitch they take. But again, I can’t keep doing this for free – no one works for free and I have the same bills that you do. So that got me thinking…How can i make this work, there has to be a way. and there is. Youtube. and it can work.

HOW CAN YOUTUBE WORK? that’s easy. Participation. Every time you watch the entire video, it helps. When you like and comment it helps. when you get other people to watch the video by sharing it helps. Every interaction on youtube will help me get paid. There are ads on youtube and I get paid a teeny tiny amount every time you watch them. Every subscriber makes the channel bigger and more available to everyone. and if it is big enough, youtube will start sharing the videos more…and they will be trending and more people will subscribe…see how the snowball effect works here?

So what can you do to make this happen? participate is the answer. People told me that they would do anything for free classes REAL CLASSES that they can learn from. To those people, here is your chance. Participate. Make it your mission to make the channel POPULAR and the biggest embroidery channel in existence. If we make it big enough, we may get sponsors – ok yay for me, right? not necessarily – If my classes are successful on the channel, I might be able to get free embroidery software to do more free classes with different software. Wouldn’t that be awesome? classes in as many software as possible? OK, that may never happen, but it would be cool! I have purchased software on my own, i just won’t be able to pay thousands for more.

So, everyone out there Do your part and make this happen. Do it for you – do it for your skills and learning. Make sure everyone knows OML Embroidery’s channel for free full classes. Make it your mission.

Oh, before anyone asks or thinks that I make a ton of money from youtube, right now I make a whopping $.25 a day (i am being generous here). Yeah, i can’t live on that either. My goal is to hit minimum wage. Or work at McDonalds for minimum wage, LOL.

Let me know in the comments. Personally I think we can make it, and have a ton of fun along the way. But do remember I can’t work like this for free for ever, so lets make it happen. Just a few clicks and you are done. I promise that your skills will improve in the end!
Again, I won’t keep “begging” to get this done. I will remind everyone to participate, but if it doesn’t happen in the long term, I will have to stop making videos. No, not immediately, I will work super hard until the new year and see where we are.

LET’S DO THIS. BE ON THE GROUND FLOOR FOR SOMETHING BIG. After all, you will get a lot out of it!!! I can’t do it without you. All of you

Thanks everyone!


Going Old School, hard work pays off

There seems to be a trend gong on spanning a generation or two, but people have forgotten all about hard work!  It seems that everything should be free, or easy and something that is free or easy is worthwhile?

I am not that old, but the way I grew up was following the old sayings “you reap what you sow” and “work hard for what you want” and “anything easy or free is not worth your time” sort of thing.  Ok, I am paraphrasing a little bit here, but you get the idea.  What has happened to working hard?

I have a daughter, and I insisted that she learn the value of money, independence and the fact that you have to work for what you want – my job is not to simply give you everything and then send you on your way.  She has been working two of the 6 needle embroidery machines, with supervision, since she was 11 years old.  She has had an iPhone since they came out, but not for free.  She had to work for us a certain amount every week to pay for her iPhone – and her work was whatever we needed on that day.  My kid learned the harder, old school way.    And it is a good lesson indeed.

Personally, I work 7 days a week (I am supposed to have Sunday’s off, but it just never seems to work out that way, ever) and I have done this for 15 years with the companies that I own.  It’s just the way it is.  Sure its great to work at home, it certainly does have its advantages, and some big advantages, but it’s not all pretty flowers here either!  One thing, you never leave work.  Ever.  I am always here – even when I am not working, I am still here.  No, I am not complaining at all, don’t get me wrong, and don’t post comments on how i should be more thankful, blah blah blah, that is not what I mean, I love my job, every single minute of my work.  I mean that I work hard, all day every day to get where I am today, and stay where I am today.   My mother in law says this to me often “don’t you ever stop?”  Nope.  It’s just the way it is when you work at home, and have some goals set out in front of you.

My daughter’s generation has a strong sense of entitlement, as many of you have noticed.  I find it hard to take sometimes – they feel that they are entitled to an Ipad, Iphone, computers, playstations, and cars, apparently, along with their education paid for because they don’t work.  Wow.    This is completely different from my generation.  Did I say Wow?

How does this idea translate into embroidery?  Easily…I see it all the time.  While I understand that embroidery and learning to digitize is a skill, a professional skill that some people have a hard time grasping at first, but those people need to understand that they have some work to do!  And if you want to become a digitizer, GET TO WORK.  Do your homework, do the legwork, take classes, watch every single video that you can find – learn as much as you can ever single day – and put some hard work into your hobby or profession.  Embroidery digitizing is not going to be given to you on a silver platter – here is all of my 15 years experience, and all of my hard work and hours and hours of work, missing my kids, not taking time for myself – but here it is for you, for free.   While I am super happy to help everyone at any time, and I spend hours a day volunteering my time, when I realize that someone has not worked hard, or at all even, to learn the skills needed, i find it hard just to give answers and wait for the next set of questions because they still don’t understand.  To me, I am wasting my time…this person needs to do some work, needs to study, needs to learn, needs to do stitch outs…put some effort in!!  I have encountered a few people here and there that have done all the leg work, home work,and hard work and still don’t get it, and I am happy to take my time and help them out as much as  possible until they get their “ah ha ” moment and all begins to be clear.

That is the idea of the day – work hard for what you want,  work at it, be passionate about it and you will have success in one way or another.  Life is much more satisfying if you work hard for what you want – when you accomplish the goal that you have been working on – your first design, your first ITH project, your first time using your embroidery machine – once you accomplish these tasks properly, with elbow grease, you will be so proud and happy and feel the accomplishment.  It will also empower you to push further, learn more and do more.  Isn’t that great?

Happy Digitizing everyone, and remember to learn something new every day!


Stabilizer: How important is it?


Knowing what stabilizer to use is very important when you are creating or completing embroidery.  You need to know the correct one, every time.  When I first started doing embroidery and digitizing many years ago,  someone said this to me:

You are only as good as your hooping skills.

That didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me at the time, but it sure does now!   Let me explain this to you in a few ways.  Hooping skills mean being able to hoop the garment or hat properly, but also using the correct tension and the right stabilizer, and adding a topping stabilizer as needed.  You can be an awesome digitizer, but if you can’t hoop properly, you won’t be able to sell too many designs because your “show off” picture won’t look great..  Take that into consideration when you are creating designs or doing test stitch outs – it may not necessarily be the digitizing that is at fault, it is often your hooping skills.

First, let’s take a quick look at the word stabilizer – which is a bit different in embroidery, but has the same meaning:


stabilizer in embroidery

definition of “stabilizing” from

“to make or hold stable, firm or steadfast”  That is what the different forms of stabilizer will do – it keeps the material stable for you to embroider.  Have you ever embroidered without stabilizer? This is possible on some fabrics, but otherwise the embroidery won’t look good for very long – it will get wrinkled and terrible looking before long, especially after washing any garment.  So that’s the key – the stabilizer is to make the fabric stable and secure and keep it in place while you embroider.

What happens when you use the wrong stabilizer?  Quite a few things can happen, but let’s look at a few of them.

OUT OF REGISTRATION:  this is a big one, that happens all the time.  If you are stitching a design with a thin single stitch outline, for example, you need to have the fabric stabilized properly, or the outline will be out of registration.    That means that the outline running stitch will not match up with the embroidery – it will be outside where it should be or inside – either way, your embroidery design will not look right.  Some registration issues can come from pull compensation or too many layers, but often it can be because poor stabilization technique.  The solution?  Stabilize it better.  If you are using the thinner tear away stabilizer, switch to the thicker and more solid cut away stabilizer.

CRAPPY LOOKING EMBROIDERY:  I don’t know how to describe this in better words – if your embroidery looks less than sharp, letters are not clear and things don’t look right when you are stitching them out, kind of messy maybe- even though it looks great on the computer -stabilizer is the first thing I change.  Depending on the fabric, you may need to use 2 layers of stabilizer to make the embroidery look good.  Of course, there may be many other contributing factors, but stabilizer is certainly one of them, and it’s also the easiest to try – if it works then you have saved yourself tons of time at the computer trying to figure out some solution!

STITCHES DISAPPEAR:  Yep, this can happen.  Say you are doing to do a simple monogram on a towel, like a bath towel or something of that nature, if you were to use the wrong topper (which is still called stabilizer), the stitches will disappear into the towel, and you will wonder what you are embroidering!  Even though this stabilizer is on the top, it’s still stabilizer – water soluble stabilizer (or WSS for short) sits on the TOP of the towel to provide a good base for the stitches – so you can see them when you have finished  Of course, you must use stabilizer on the bottom too, but either tear away or cut away.  The WSS on the top will hold up the stitches from the nap of the towel, enabling you to have beautiful stitches, even on the thickest of towels.  WSS can be used in a few different ways, but it is necessary for embroidering on towels or anything else with a big nap.  WSS in some form or another is necessary – and the design, any design will look terrible without it.

There are many other examples of what can go wrong if you don’t have your hooping skills up to par!  Learn embroidery, learn to hoop properly to have amazing stitch outs and better embroidery.   Seriously, you can be a better digitizer by keeping up with your hooping skills.

REMEMBER:  YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR HOOPING SKILLS.   So hoop properly and show off your embroidery!

mother of dachshunds embroidery design


Learn How to Digitize: Cute Cat Design

learn to digitize embroidery

Learn how to digitize this cute cat design, step by step

Wilcom Hatch/Janome Digitizer MBX V5 beginner embroidery lesson, beginner level.

Learn how to digitize this awesome and cute cat design – learn step by step by step how to digitize this super cute embroidery design.   In this class, we use some different techniques to complete the design and learn a few different ways to accomplish the digitizing – there are always different ways to digitize the same design.  By the end of the class, you will learn how to properly place nodes – left and right clicks for straight and curved lines – and doing them in the right order, remove overlaps, the clone tool and the reshape tool to name a few.

Many people ask the question ” if I have a 6×10 design that I have created, can i change it to a 3 x 3 design”?   The quick answer is “yes” although you are going to have to make some changes.  Once we have finished digitizing the design that we created, we then take the design and make it considerably smaller!  We look at the design and fix the errors – changing the stitch types, angle lines and make the design look great at a small size, too.

Janome Digitizer MBX V5 and Hatch are practically the same program – Wilcom makes both of the programs!  The programs are almost exactly the same and work the same – so we consider each program to be interchangeable – the digitizing tools are split up on the tabs on tleft-handand side list, but they are pretty easy to sort out.  Janome Digitizer V5 has one or two different tools, but the rest of the program is the same.   How awesome is that?  The two programs are so closely related, they are almost sisters!

So check out this new class, and learn to digitize like a pro!  Step by step instruction will help you through the digitizing process.


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Beware of some Youtube Videos

This blog post might be a bit of a rant, but also somewhat of a warning, too.  I was trying to do some research on some new techniques for embroidery (reverse applique and the ever intriguing cross stitch), and I came upon some videos that shocked me.

OK, let’s start by saying that I do have many many years experience, but I don’t know everything, ever.  I am ALWAYS up for learning new things.  Don watches each and every video that we produce, for quality control, but also that he learns something each time!  I am far from a know it all, and I am always open to learning a new technique, reviewing old techniques and even going back to beginner digitizing to refresh my skills – it’s a never-ending need for knowledge.  It’s just how I do things 🙂

Enter Youtube.

Youtube is a  fantastic venue for learning (I have many youtube instructional videos), as long as you are careful about what you are watching.  I was going through some videos, again, trying to glean some information on a few things, and I was shocked and appalled, and frankly a bit worried about some of the videos that I found.  I called Don over to watch them with me, just to make sure I was not exaggerating anything – it’s always good to have a second opinion.   Don was just as shocked as I was!  I was in a bit of a panic thinking of the new digitizers out there possibly thinking that this was how to digitize embroidery and how many serious and frustrating issues they would be having if they learned from this video.

While there are many, probably thousands of excellent embroidery tutorials on youtube, you have to be careful what you are looking at, that’s for sure.   You need to use your own judgement as to whether the tutorials are valid or not.  However, when I search out a title “how to digitize a design…” I expect some valid instruction!  Of course, there are many ways of accomplishing the same task, some are shorter, and some are longer ways around – and those types of ideas are not wrong, just different – everyone has their own ways of accomplishing the same goal.  Those are not the videos that I am talking about – I am speaking about the videos that if you follow their instruction, you will be going backward in your embroidery skills!  Yes, I found more than one of those, and the person or people doing these videos portrayed themselves as Digitizers or embroiderers!  Apparently from the videos, they had no idea what they were doing – and the mistakes that this person was “teaching” were beyond errors – they were terrible ideas that if you incorporated them into your designs, you would not be able to stitch them out!  And if you kept on using these “skills” you would not be able to accomplish any embroidery!  I AM SERIOUS.   WOW.   Perhaps if the person titled the video “watch me struggle through a design, and learn with me” or something like that, you might have had an idea of what you were learning.  Not so.  One of the videos started with “how to…” implying that this was a way to digitize.  No, not even close.   Do you see what I am saying?  Pay attention to what you are watching in general – just because it is listed as a “how to” video, doesn’t mean that it is telling you how to do something.

Ok. Ok. So don’t be picking on me for saying any of this – I am well aware that everyone has to start somewhere, and there is nothing wrong with that – but if you are just starting out, are you qualified to offer instruction?  Yes, if you have discovered a new tool or have a particular way of doing something that you know how to do, and have stitched it out – yes.  Absolutely yes, share that with everyone!   Those make great videos.  But if you are making up new rules on how embroidery works, you may have to assess your ability to teach, and maybe work on building up your skills instead?  If you can’t digitize a design, then should you be teaching someone else to digitize a design?

One of the first clues as to the level of your “teacher”  is what designs that they use.  If they are using a design that STILL HAS A WATERMARK ON IT, then you should probably move on to another video…if they offer you the design to work on, then definitely move on to the next video.  Why?  Because you should not digitize from a design that has a watermark on it for many reasons – the first being that it is a copyrighted design – hence the watermark!  If they are offering it to you for “free” the have no right to do this!  Watermarked art would tell me that this person has no consideration for any rules, and they don’t understand how everything works – or they don’t care.  That may be a bit rough, but please don’t digitize designs with a watermark on it – that is meant to give you a clear message – so listen to it!.. Someone teaching a design that is still watermarked also tells me that the did not take any time to plan out their video – and if they didn’t take much time to plan out their video, then how is the video going to be useful to you as a learning tool?

Again I am not saying that all videos are bad on Youtube, there are some excellent, helpful and fun videos out there for digitizing.  I am saying that you need to use your embroidery brain when you are learning from some videos – if the person can’t complete the task at hand, then there are probably mistakes in their video that you don’t want to learn!

In conclusion…pay attention to what you are learning on Youtube videos – pay attention to the technique and skills shown to you.  If it doesn’t seem right, or the teacher can’t finish the task at hand, or there are some red flags, then move on to the next video.  Keep your embroidery skills safe by using the skills that you already have to figure out if the video is valid or will help you learn a new skill or method.

PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU WATCH.  Just because it’s on Youtube, doesn’t mean that a video is educational.  Pay attention and use your judgment and decide if the video is valid or not, do not blindly follow along with what you are seeing.


Class 5: Digitizing from a Photograph with no copyright issues.

This is the newest class released just yesterday: Digitizing from a Photograph. While it was recorded using the Hatch software, it is going to be applicable to ANY embroidery software. Yes, I have instructions with Hatch, but you can easily translate them to the software that you use. And why would you do this? because this is a great class for anyone and everyone.

At the beginning of the class, I talk about digitizing and clip art. Everyone seems to think that you need clip art to digitize. No so. One of the main reasons that I don’t use very much clip art is that most of the time you are violating some kind of copyright issue by using it for embroidery, or by selling the embroidery design – be aware that you can get in some big trouble for this!

I am going to take a moment to briefly touch on this copyright issue – just briefly. To me, there are two kinds of digitizers: Ones who sell Disney designs or create their own Disney designs (exchange Disney for Marvel/Superheros/movies, etc) and make some quick cash, and those who come up with their own ideas. I see so freaking many Etsy stores and websites that sell Disney designs…and are getting away with it FOR NOW. Does anyone realize the risk they are taking? Disney for one, will catch up with you – and you are going to lose everything when they do – the longer you continue to sell their designs, the harder you will fall. The sad part is the people the buy the Disney designs and continue to do so – the sellers literally clean up for a time – but don’t be too jealous, it’s not going to last too long – and when it’s over, they have to pay back ALL OF THE MONEY they have made, plus a fine and possibly be criminally charged. Is it really worth it? NO. I have heard stories…scary stories, of people designing their own Disney stuff, and then losing their shop, their house and every piece of equipment that they used…and then claim “it’s not fair” . Yes. Yes, it is. So my advice? DO NOT DIGITIZE ANY COPYRIGHT DESIGNS. NEVER. EVER. Its just not worth it. If y’all think you are never going to get caught, think again. Especially with Disney.

And if y’all are going to post any copyright designs in any group, I am going to delete it. I have heard of two Silhouette Cameo group admins that got into a lot of trouble for people showing, sharing and using files that have copyright designs. One lady put up a Transformer design in the Wilcom Hatch group, and I deleted it because it’s a copyrighted design…and boy oh boy was she mad at me for daring to delete her picture. Really? I am not going to get into trouble for you, that’s for sure.

OK. Enough said.

So, how do we get around any copyright issues? TAKE A PICTURE. USE THAT PICTURE AS A BACKDROP FOR YOUR EMBROIDERY. Anything that you see outside in public is public domain. Now, I said in public – you can’t go into the Disney Store and take a picture of a Disney character and claim that it is public domain, that’s not public, they still own the character. I am talking about in your backyard..on the street, in a public park…or old buildings (with permission) or even your own house! Why not? There are no copyright issues at all – you never have to worry about a company coming back to you in two years claiming any violation – you just show them the picture that you digitized from and BAM its over. Its a fantastic idea, but some people don’t know where to start.

Enter class 5, digitizing from a photograph. It’s all about ideas. Even if you don’t have Hatch, you can gain some inspiration, ideas, and instruction from this class!! ITS ALL ABOUT IDEAS.

The class consists of ONE PHOTOGRAPH. That’s right, just one. And I make 11 designs from that one photograph!! BRILLIANT! There is no need for any clip art, go into your backyard and take a picture of what you like, and digitize it! The picture we used is nothing fancy – but 11 different designs??? You can’t do better than that! Actually it’s 12, because I did a very detailed design from the picture as well. We do a simple design with flat stitches and outlines, 4 different ways of doing the same design in appliqué, we had curves and fancy stitches and then we do some detail work. The possibilities are endless.

class 5 total flowers

You should take an hour and expand your knowledge base, your whole digitizing job depends on it – learn how to digitize anything from a photograph!! Your backyard is full of ideas – learn how to capture them in embroidery. The class is one hour long, and costs only $10.00, and it will expand your whole embroidery world.

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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.


Stitch files vs. working file. Whats the big deal?

Trying to edit or change stitch files is the biggest mistake new digitizers make.  You can save yourself lots of frustration if you understand this embroidery rule clearly.

Some new people find this concept confusing:  stitch file vs. working file.  Here is one way that I explain it to people:


Definitions:  stitch file – the stitch file that your machine understands PES, JEF, XXX, DST, etc.

Working file:  depends on your program, but are NOT any of the above files – Hatch and Wilcom are .EMB files,  Embird is EOF,  DG15 is PXF etc.   And no, you cannot take an Embird EOF file into Hatch and work on it – each embroidery software program has its own working file, and these are not interchangeable either.

The only way you can BEND this rule is to simply add lettering to a stitch file.  But thats not what we are talking about here- thats adding lettering to a file, not editing the file.

So yes, we are talking about editing  – changing things, not adding things to the file.

We have that clear.  Stitch files and working files are completely different files.

Then people ask – so what if I take my stitch file (a PES for example) and CALL IT A WORKING FILE.  (example, open up a PES file and do save as EMB), now its a working file, right?  NO.  IT IS STILL A STITCH FILE – NOTHING CHANGES.  YOU CAN’T “CONVERT” A STITCH FILE TO A WORKING FILE, IT JUST DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT.   Thats one embroidery rule that you cannot change.  If you take an apple, and paint the outside an orange color, is it now an orange?  NO.  It is still an apple no matter what you do to it.  Its still an apple.   Thats exactly what people try to do with the stitch files- give it a nice name for a working file (similar to the orange paint) and think that everything changed.  It doesn’t…the stitch file is still a stitch file and the apple is still an apple.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense.  What you are working on is different from what your machine understands.  If you could take any embroidery file and “magically” turn it into a working file and change the size, edit nodes and have all the editing functions, no one would buy very many designs from digitizers, would they?  If you could change everything that they spend hours creating in a certain way, their embroidery art, if you will – then there would not be many digitizers in business.  The digitizers have the working file, they create it, and they put it out in a stitch format for you to stitch out on your machine.    It is the digitizer’s creation.  And if you create a working file, its YOUR creation.  After all, you really wouldn’t want anyone to change your work, would you?

The stitch files have one purpose:  they are meant to be sent to your machine, and stitch out.   You can resize the whole stitch file a tiny bit, but be aware, you will be introducing errors and problems (and sometimes a big huge mess that breaks machines) if you change the size of the stitch file, or try to do any editing, because stitch files are meant for stitching.  So stitch them out, and enjoy.  Thats it.

I was having this conversation with a friend of mine, and she came up with a great example of visually showing everyone the difference between a stitch file and a working file.

Here is the working file in Wilcom Janome MBX v5


Look over to the right those are the objects in the (funny) shapes that she did.  Each object has a place in the resequenced list – there are only 4 objects in this file:  and each object has a symbol beside it, telling you what kind of stitch was used.  You can easily make many many edits:  click on the object, make it bigger or smaller, change the stitch type, add nodes, remove nodes, add underlay – the list goes on and on.


Here is the same file but as a STITCH FILE:


The design on the screen looks exactly the same, right?  4 objects…but now look over to the right in the objects panel.  Wow, what a difference – there are way more than 4 objects!  Each little piece has a few parts to it…AND THAT IS WHAT THE MACHINE UNDERSTANDS – STEPS TO STITCH.  THATS IT.  So now, if you wanted to change the stitch type on the orange embossed square?  How would you do that?  you can click on the orange, but you have to pick all 10 of the orange parts…and then there are no options to change anything.  That is because it is a stitch file.

That is how you can easily tell the difference between stitch files and working files.

THE EXTENSION:  PES, JEF, XXX, HUS are all files for your machine.

EMB, PXF, EOF are working files, your machine will not understand any of these files.

Take the quote at the top and put it on a sticky note on your computer or desk.  Remember it.  It will save you so much frustration!  most newbie problems begin with trying to change a stitch file.

So if you want to change a stitch file, STOP.  You are not meant to change anything on a stitch file.  Add lettering if you want to – but that is adding not changing.

Thems tha rules.

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