HOW IT ALL WORKS
BEGINNER'S LESSON FROM
If you've ordered custom embroidery before, you've probably heard the word "digitizing." What is digitizing? It is the process of cenverting artwork into a stitch file that can be read by an embroidery machine and interpreted as different stitch types. Digitizing is a careful process that requires time and experienced to be performed correctly. The digitizer must know how the stitches he sees in his embroidery software will embroider on different fabrics. A well digitized design will enhance your logo, so look for an embroiderer who provides quality digitizing.
After the artwork has been modified in a graphics program, the file is opened in an embroidery program where it is used as a template for creating a stitch file. The digitizer must decide how the "pathing" in the logo will run. The pathing is the sequence of stitches in a design from start to finish. This can affect how an embroidered design will "lie" when it's finished. If a design isn't embroidered in the correct sequence, you may have unwanted gaps of fabric or uneven text. The pathing will also affect how long the design will run on the machine during the embroidery process. Although you might not care what the running time is, a shorter, smoother design will cost you less.
Next, the digitizer applies stitch types to each section of the design based on which stitches will best represent the artwork, The digitizer starts by adding the underlay stitches. Although you can't see underlay stitches in a finished logo, having the correct underlay stitches is essential to creating a great looking logo. Underlay helps stabilize the fabric to the backing (another essential element in embroidery), lay down the nap of the fabric so that the remaining stitches have a smooth surface to embroider on and add density to the design. Not using the correct underlay can cause the stitches to sink into the fabric or allow the shirt fabric to show through the design.
There are three basic stitch types: run, satin, and fill stitches, and each of these have several variations. For example, fill stitchesare used to cover large areas, but the digitzer must decide what type of fill stitch to use, the direction of the fill, and where the fill should start and stop in a design. When making these decisions, the digitizer what type of fabric the design will be embroidered on and make appropriate adjustments. Stitches will sink into fabrics such as polar fleece, and lay on the surface of denser fabrics such as nylon. A logo that was originally digitized for denim, a fabric that allows stitches to lay on the surface, won't look as good when embroidered on a pique knit where the stitches sink in.