What Is Digitizing For Machine Embroidery? The Complete Guide For 2021

Machine embroidery has become a buzzword and it’s incomplete without digitizing. To illustrate, digitizing is defined as transformation of predesigned graphics into embroidery design that works on the embroidery machines. Sure, it sounds simple but there is so much to focus on. So, with this article, we are sharing the complete guide on digitizing for machine embroidery!

Understanding Digitizing 

Digitizing is defined as a process of converting one file into a range of instructions that an embroidery machine can comprehend to sew the thread. Honestly, digitizing is no less than art and helps create accurate embroidered design. For this reason, digitizing is important, especially when you have to get embroidery done on some fabric. 
Similarly, the digitized files are essential for machine embroidery to work accurately. The digitized files are not common (nope, they aren’t vector files if that’s what you are thinking). These files have a PDF format and can be used in commercial embroidery machines. These files have the design path and thread colors and can be optimized with digitizing machines. 

The Digitizing Process 

The digitizing process can be pretty lengthy and we are sharing the instructions below; 
  • Underlay Stitching 

This is the first stitching of the design and is known to hold down the fabric to the fabric backing. In addition, it can lay down the garment fibers to ensure the primary portion stays on the top.
  • Path 

The embroidery digitizers are known to outline the embroidery path. This path is basically instructions for the machine to start the embroidery and stop it at the specific point. In addition, it outlines the embroidery order, when you sew in the design fill and when to create the border on the design’s edges. 
  • Pull Compensation 

It defines how the embroidery will work and appear on various fabrics. This is because various fabrics won’t stretch while some are rigid and stretchable. To illustrate, the spandex and polyester polo stretches are suitable for cotton t-shirts. Moreover, you can adjust the pull compensation allows proper design sewing on different fabrics. 
  • Types Of Stitches 

In the next step, the digitized files are integrated with stitching type that has to be used for embroidery. Normally, fill, run, and satin stitches are mostly used. In the section below, we are sharing more details about different types of stitches, such as;
Run Stitch – this is a continuous stitch which is done on the design’s width. It is suitable for thinner parts of the design, such as text and borders
Satin Stitch – this is a more common stitch and can be used for detailing and making thick borders
Fill Stitches – these are the tight and compact stitches and can easily cover the bigger designs. Fill stitches actually have various forms and can be used for creating patterns 

The Dos Of Digitizing For Machine Embroidery 


  • Consider The Fabric 

You have to consider the type of fabric you will be using for embroidery. This is because some embroidery techniques only work for certain fabrics, and if some fabric is too stretchy, it can result in puckering. Similarly, the knitted design won’t work well on denim because it has a specific level of stretch. So, always consider the fabric while creating the digitizing file.
  • Choose The Right Sequence 

You have to determine and outline the embroidery sequence since it directly impacts the embroidery machine’s functions. The right sequence is setting the placement stitch, underlay, and top stitch. Keep in mind that if you don’t set the sequence, it will result in instable design and bad stitches. You can use the digitizing software to create the sequence (it’s also known as path). 
  • The Stitch Angle 

It’s the stitch angle for embroidery designs. The angles can be diagonal, horizontal, or vertical, depending on the design. For instance, if you have to create a design with various stitches, setting various stitch angles is important to ensure the design comes out with right texture and contrast. 
  • Utilize Underlay 

It is defined as the base of design and can help stabilize the embroidery design. The underlays include zig-zags, edge runs, fill stitches, and center runs. Keep in mind that underlay helps create smooth surface for creating the embroidery design and reduce the distortion in design. Moreover, if you don’t consider the underlay, it will result in messy embroidery and will make the embroidery process challenging. 

Don’ts Of Digitizing For Machine Embroidery 

  • Don’t Use Excessive Jump Stitches 

For those who don’t know, jump stitches are defined as the extra threads that are left behind on the embroidery design. It happens when needle shifts from one part to another and drags the thread. There will be multiple jump stitches when the digitized design isn’t selected properly and happens when you don’t consider the design sequence. Anyways, having excessive jump stitches will not only result in distorted design but it will increase the timeframe needed to complete the embroidery. 
  • Don’t Use Incorrect Density 

It is defined as the distance between different stitches and it plays an important role in embroidery design’s appearance. With low density, the embroidery time will be reduced, less needles will bread, and thread won’t bread. On the other hand, if you use high density, it can tear the fabric, broken needles, stiff design, and thread design. So, keep the density low.
  • Don’t Use Auto-Digitizing Apps 

The auto-digitizing apps sound great and actually work for basic designs. However, they can make errors during the digitizing process and you will end up with wasted time and efforts. So, if you have to work on intricate design, it’s better to opt for manual programs or an auto-digitizing app with which you can customize the settings. 

Wrapping It Up 

To summarize, digitizing is vital for machine embroidery and can directly influence how embroidery will turn out on the fabric. With this article, we focused on the importance of digitizing, suggested process, and dos & don’ts of digitizing. So, are you ready to make some effective and accurate embroideries, then?