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Embroidery Digitizing Process
Embroidery Digitizing Step 1. We start with Design files before we start any embroidery.
Digitized embroidery design files can be either purchased or created. Many machine embroidery designs can be downloaded from web sites and one can be embroidering them within minutes. Please note that there are many different brands of embroidery machines, and each may use a different format. When purchasing or downloading free embroidery designs, you need to make sure you get the format used by your embroidery machine. If your format is not available, you can get a conversion program to convert from one stitch file format to another stitch file format – from PES to HUS or from DST to PCS, for example. Different conversion software programs are available.
A person who creates a design is known as an “embroidery digitizer” or “puncher”. The digitizer, or puncher, users digitizing software to create their embroidery design. The digitizer creates the design in the native file format for the digitizing software. These are ‘Object Based’ design and allow the digitizer to easily reshape and edit the design later.
The native file formats retain important information such as:
- Object outlines
- Thread colors
- Original artwork used to punch the designs
As a digitizer it is critical to maintain and keep the original digitized design file. Converting the design to a stitch file such as DST, PES and DSB will lose many of the valuable information, and make editing and changing the design very difficult or impossible.
Software vendors often advertise “auto-punching” or “auto-digitizing” capabilities. However, if high quality embroidery is essential, then industry experts highly recommend either purchasing solid designs from reputable digitizers or obtaining training on solid digitization techniques.
Embroidery Digitizing Step 2. Editing designs
Once a design has been digitized, it can be edited or combined with other designs by software. With most embroidery software the user can rotate, scale, move, stretch, distort, split, crop, or duplicate the design in an endless pattern. Most software allows the user to add text quickly and easily. Often the colors of the design can be changed, made monochrome, or re-sorted. More sophisticated packages will allow the user to edit, add or remove individual stitches. For those without editing software, some embroidery machines have rudimentary design editing features built in.
Embroidery Digitizing Step 3. Loading the design
After editing the final design, the design file is loaded into the embroidery machine. Different machines expect different files formats. The most common home design format is PES. Common design file formats for the home and hobby market include: ART, PES, VIP, JEF, SEW, and HUS. Embroidery patterns can be transferred to the computerized embroidery machines in a variety of ways, either through cables, CDs, floppy disks, USB interfaces, or special cards that resemble flash and compact cards.
Embroidery Digitizing Step 4. Stabilizing the fabric
To prevent wrinkles and other problems, the fabric must be stabilized. The method of stabilizing depends to a large degree on the type of machine, the fabric type, and the design density. For example, knits and large designs typically require firm stabilization. There are many methods for stabilizing fabric, but most often one or more additional pieces of material called “stabilizers” or “interfacing” are added beneath and/or on top of the fabric. Many types of stabilizers exist, including cut-away, tear-away, vinyl, nylon, water-soluble, heat-n-gone, adhesive, open mesh, and combinations of these.
For smaller embroidered items, the item to be embroidered is hooped, and the hoop is attached to the machine. There is a mechanism on the machine (usually called an arm) that then moves the hoop under the needle.
For large commercially embroidered items, a bolt of fabric can be worked by a long row of embroidery “heads”, producing a continuous pattern of embroidery. Each embroidery head is a sewing machine with multiple needles for different colors, and is usually capable of producing many special fabric effects including satin-stitch embroidery, chain-stitch embroidery, sequins, appliqué, cutwork, and other effects.
Embroidery Digitizing Step 5. Embroidering the design
Finally, the embroidery machine is started and monitored. For commercial machines, this process is a lot more automated than for the home embroiderer. For most designs, there is more than one color, and often additional processing for appliqués, foam, and other special effects. Since home machines only have one needle, every color change requires the user to cut the thread and change the color manually. In addition, most designs will have a few or many jumps that need to be cut. Depending on the quality and size of the design, stitching out a design file can require a few minutes or an hour or more.
Not all machines are for embroidery only. Some are a combination of embroidery and sewing. Some of the more advanced features becoming available include a large color touchscreen, a USB interface, design editing software on the machine, embroidery adviser software, and design file storage systems. Commercial embroidery machines can be purchased as 1, 2, 4, 6, 12, 15, and 18 head machines. Industrial embroidery machines are available from 12 to 56 head models.
Embroidery Digitizing info provided by Wikepidia.com