Beneath the Design

Posted by Barbara Bullard on

Spoiler alert- this is fairly technical.

I’ve been digitizing for a zillion years (well, almost, I started in 1996). You would think I could sit down at the computer, put in a few hours and have a perfect embroidery design. Well- ain’t necessarily so. There are so many possible errors in every design.   I thought you might enjoy seeing a little bit of the process of producing a design set.

I stitch every design I create to check for issues like the following:

  1. Are there unnecessary jump stitches?
  2. Do the jump stitches take the best path? Jump stitches should not go under subsequent stitching to make it easier to cut your jump stitches.
  3. Does pull compensation make your satin stitches too narrow?
  4. Are any travel stitches (stitches that take you from one part of the design to the other but are not expected to show) exposed? Do the traveling stitches stitch on top of another color instead of under it?
  5. Do the elements stitch in a logical order? It’s not good digitizing if, within a color, the stitching doesn’t go in a logical order. You don’t want your machine stitching at the top of the hoop, then the bottom, then the middle. Do the textures stitch out as you expected or do they need tweaking?
  6. Is the overall look what you expected? Are the elements too close together or too far apart?
  7. Do you need more color changes or less?

You get the idea.

I am working on a new design set (when am I not working on a new design set?) and have gotten to the test stitch-out phase of the work. Number 4 and 5 were easily corrected issues. But, in general the design looked good.  What surprised me is that I had a totally new to me issue.

Here is one of the designs:

I love the way this looks.  I’m putting it, and the other designs in the set on a jacket and it’s shaping up well.

Unfortunately, when you look closely, there are issues.


 In this design, there is an issue where two lines cross.  The bottom line has a blank space which was supposed to be hidden underneath the top line to ensure that the stitches on the top line are not stitching on top of other stitches.  The error is that the blank space shows. It should be underneath the other line.  Something to fix.

The satin stitch lines are not digitized correctly. The stitches should be perpendicular to the edges of the line.  Right now, those stitches are at an angle. Not good. Back to the computer for me.

  • There’s one more issue to be addressed, a technical issue. The design stitches out beautifully on smooth fabric. However, this black twill had a bit of a texture. You can see the line on the right in the picture above looks lumpy. It’s definitely not the smooth satin stitch I wanted.  I am pretty sure that is fixable.  I have to add more underlay (the stitches that run under the final satin stitch.) I believe more underlay in the form of lines of stitching parallel with the edge of the line will help hold the satin stitch above the texture.


I obviously have more work to do.   Just thought you might enjoy seeing some of the steps we digitizers take.


Bobbi Bullard


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