Designing Terms

1: Digitizing - The creation of a computer program used to run an embroidery machine. The program gives the embroidery machine the instructions where to place the stitches, when to stop the machine to change thread colors, for machines with thread trimmers where to put in the thread trims etc.

2. Cartoon – Artwork used to create a design, that is marked up to show how the stitches will flow, the amount to overlap stitches to compensate for the pulling in of the stitches etc.

3: Fill - An area filled with a series of stitches in parallel rows that can be made in a variety of patterns & textures.

4: Pull Compensation - Most embroidery is done on fabric, a flexible material, embroidery has a tendency to draw the fabric in, in the direction of the stitching causing the design to become distorted. The amount of the distortion depends on the stability of the fabric. Circles pull in & end up looking like ovals, filled areas pull in & don’t line up with outlines etc. in order to make the finished design come out correctly a designer has to compensate for this by actually creating circles by making them oval & making the filled areas extend far enough to make sure everything lines up & doesn’t split apart letting the garment show where the sewing doesn’t come together.

5: Push Compensation – This is the opposite of pull compensation, because thread has a thickness to it, as the stitches are put down side by side they start to push against each other & because the fabric gives the stitches start to expand the design sideways & once again circles end up looking like ovals & the fill areas don’t line up with the outlines etc. except in this case the fill ends up hanging out the side of the outline, the designer has to compensate for this by cutting the design back in the direction that the stitches are pushing out, enough to compensate for the amount the design has stretched.

6: Formats – there are two basic types of formats
A: Condensed – Most digitizing systems use a condensed format to do the programming for designs, it has more information than is necessary to run the embroidery machines & in most cases can’t be used as is, in most cases the programs have to export an expanded format to run on the embroidery machines. When the design is expanded most of the information that is used to do things like scaling with density adjustment, change fill patterns etc. is lost.
B: Expanded – This is the format that is used on the embroidery machines, Tajima is the most popular format but there is also Melco, Barudan, Happy, Toyota & a large variety of machines sold for in home use.

7: Short Stitches – Because the outside diameter of a curve is greater than the inside diameter the stitches are closer together on the inside, this causes the inside to bunch up & not look nice & smooth, to compensate, short stitches can be used on the inside at regular intervals so not all the stitches extend all the way to the center, that way you get all the stitches you need on the outside without creating a problem on the inside.

8: Underlay – stitches laid down to stabilize a design especially for stretchy fabrics, also can be used to raise areas & create dimension or to flatten fabric nap down so the design will sew smoothly.

9. Stitch Editing – Using software that can be purchased one can add or subtract stitches or blocks of stitches, add color stops etc to an existing designs. With some software programs you can add lettering, mirror, cut & paste, rotate, stretch & alter densities. Editing is a standard feature with all digitizing systems & also comes in stand alone packages that have a wide range of prices, some being quite affordable.

10. Stock Designs – This is the embroidery equivalent to clip-art. These are already digitized designs costing a fraction of what it would normally cost to have the same thing designed from scratch. There are many wonderful designs available on the market that most anyone can afford. Using a little imagination, some stock designs & a little lettering a person can put together some very nice personalized items. You can add a little butterfly to a cheap pair of jeans & all of a sudden you have a one of a kind look.