Embroidery Case Files: Density Matters
“I WANT A SMALLER VERSION OF MY DESIGN: I HAVE SOFTWARE, SO WHY CAN’T I TAKE THE DESIGN AND MAKE IT SMALLER? IT LOOKS FINE ON MY COMPUTER SCREEN, BUT DOESN’T STITCH OUT VERY WELL.”
I see this question asked again and again in all different groups. I have a perfect example of why you can’t do this, and I opened a case file to show you exactly what happens when you take a large design and try and make it smaller. Unless you have the original working file, editing a stitch file is a lot of work. If you reduce a stitch file, it usually becomes bulletproof ( or like a hockey puck, as we Canucks say) and you have all sorts of issues. If you have not seen Embroidery Case Files 4: Density Matters, check it out before we continue the discussion.
Wow, did you see that logo? Did you HEAR HOW THICK IT WAS? Yeah, density matters. Density matters a lot. It matters to your machine, your business customers and to your embroidery skills. It just simply matters. Taking a BIG design and making it significantly smaller is a shortcut that you don’t want to do – it will cost you time, money and customers in the end. And maybe even a whole lot of wear and tear on your machine, along with more than one broken needle. It is possible to do a lot of damage if your embroidery machine is being forced to stitch something too dense and you break needles – you could bend parts, and you can even put your timing off. Any of those issues could cost a lot of money and time to fix! Unless you have the original embroidery working file, I would stick to only reducing files a small amount to avoid any issues.
Now you know one more of the Embroidery Rules: you can’t take a large design and make it significantly smaller for a stitch file. You just can’t do this and expect good embroidery. You can slightly bend the rules if necessary – reducing a design somewhat for some reason – but you shouldn’t have to do that often. You will notice that most designs will be created to fit in the different standard hoops – so just make sure you pick the right size for the hoop that you want to use. Most digitizers say right on their site that they do not recommend ANY changes to their designs in any way – they won’t guarantee a great stitch out if the embroiderer makes any changes to their designs.
Back to the video – did you see the detail work on that logo? You can clearly see that it was a massive design made into a smaller one. There are way too many details for such a small design – I point out the highlights on the lettering. Too much detail work on small designs can mess up the design. If you notice below, the word looks like “Ruckets” instead of Rockets because there are so many layers of detail work, it has taken away from the actual lettering of the logo.
You can see that there are layers of white outside the main lettering – small satin stitches and lots of them! That is over a base of black and red again, then the highlight on top of that. Wow, that makes way too many layers. But can you see how the detail work is just not necessary at this size? Can you picture it on a large scale? There would be enough of a gap between the red of the “e” and the outside white edge to make the highlight look useful and give the desired effect. At a small size, it just makes it look like Ruckets.
So, what is the solution? (say it with me, everyone, and with enthusiasm, please)
DIGITIZE AT THE SIZE YOU WANT YOUR FINAL DESIGN TO BE.
You can’t really break that rule…so if you create a design that is big, and you want a smaller version, the best way is to start again, and digitize for the smaller size – omit the details that will not have any effect on the final design (such as the highlights in the letters), and make your small design look good. With the right amount of detail work and using the correct stitch types, you can make a small design look just as good as the large one. It takes time and practice to learn these skills, so keep working at it.
Remember that embroidery digitizing and stitching is a SKILL. You have to learn a skill, and you have to keep learning to keep up with that skill – the learning should never stop.
SASSY PRO TIP: if you are stitching out a design, whether you created it or you bought the design, and if you changed the design or not – if you start breaking needles, or hear some new and loud noises from your embroidery machine – it doesn’t matter if you are working on a single needle, 10 needle or commercial machine – if you hear anything different or loud STOP YOUR MACHINE. Like, immediately. Figure out what the issue is – tension, bird’s nest or density issues. But seriously, stop stitching – don’t take a video and put it on facebook – a noise usually means something is wrong or is going to go wrong, so save your machine while you can. That is my sass for the day.
Until Next time,
Stitch you later. And, oh,