Enterprise Get Started
Printful glossary logo
Sell with Printful
Design creation
Creative services
Photography services
Fixation agent (pretreat)

Embroidery digitization

What is embroidery digitization?

Embroidery digitization refers to converting artwork or designs into digital files that embroidery machines can read. It involves using embroidery digitizing software to create embroidery design files that are used for machine embroidery. This process allows precise and accurate reproduction of intricate designs on various materials. Custom embroidery and auto-digitizing are some of the applications of embroidery digitization.

How does digitizing work?

Digitizing for embroidery involves converting an artwork or design into an embroidery file that can be read and stitched by an embroidery machine. Here’s an overview of the digitizing process:

  1. Design preparation. The design or artwork to be digitized is prepared by cleaning up the image, adjusting colors if necessary, and selecting appropriate embroidery fonts if a text is involved.

  2. Digitizing software. An embroidery digitizing program is used to create the embroidery file. This software allows the digitizer to map out the design, define stitch types, and specify details like stitch direction, density, and underlay.

  3. Stitch types. Digitizers use various stitch types, such as satin stitches, fill stitches, running stitches, and more. These stitch types are selected based on the desired effect, texture, and intricacy.

  4. Manual or automatic digitizing. The digitizing process can be performed manually by a skilled digitizer who assigns stitch points, or it can be done using automatic digitizing features available in some software. Manual digitizing often yields better results for complex designs and fine details.

  5. Embroidery file format. Once the design is digitized, it’s saved in an embroidery file format compatible with the specific embroidery machine being used. Standard file formats include DST, PES, EXP, and VP3, among others.

  6. Testing and production. Before running the design on an embroidery machine, testing the digitized file on a sample fabric or material is recommended to ensure the design stitches correctly and produces the desired result. Once validated, the digitized design can be loaded onto an embroidery machine for production.

It’s worth noting that the specific steps and terminology may vary depending on the digitizing software, embroidery machine manufacturer, and individual preferences. Some digitizing software may offer free trials, allowing users to explore and evaluate the software before buying.

How to digitize embroidery for free?

Several options are available to digitize your embroidery for free:

  1. Online embroidery digitizing services. Some websites offer free embroidery digitizing services, where you can upload your design and have it digitized by professionals.

  2. Free embroidery software trials. Many embroidery software companies provide free trial versions of their software, which you can use to digitize your designs. Some popular software options include Wilcom TrueSizer and SewArt.

  3. Open-source embroidery software. There are open-source embroidery software programs available, such as Ink/Stitch and MyEditor, that you can download and use for free. These programs may have fewer features than paid software but can still be useful for basic digitizing.

  4. Manual digitizing. With good hand-eye coordination and attention to detail, you can manually digitize your embroidery designs using Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, or another graphic design software. This method requires more time and skill but can be a cost-effective option.

Remember that while free options are available, they may have limitations compared to paid software regarding functionality, design options, and support. Researching and choosing the best embroidery digitizing software or method that suits your needs and skill level is essential.

Why is embroidery digitizing software expensive?

Embroidery digitizing software can be costly due to development and maintenance costs, advanced features and functionality, user-friendly interfaces, software updates, support, the learning curve, and the reputation and reliability of the brand. Cheaper or free options may have limitations in terms of features and support.

Fixation agent (pretreat)

Are you ready to start your own clothing line?

Get started