Sewing Machine Embroidery | Embroidery Software

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Machine embroidery is an embroidery process whereby a sewing machine or embroidery machine is used to create patterns on textiles. It is used commercially in product branding, corporate advertising, and uniform adornment. It is also used in the fashion industry to decorate garments and apparel. Machine embroidery is used by hobbyists and crafters to decorate gifts, clothing, and home decor. Examples include designs on quilts, pillows, and wall hangings.
There are multiple types of machine embroidery. Free motion sewing machine embroidery uses a basic zigzag sewing machine. Designs are done manually. Most commercial embroidery is done with link stitch embroidery. In link stitch embroidery, patterns may be manually or automatically controlled.
Free-motion machine embroidery
In free-motion machine embroidery, embroidered designs are created by using a basic zigzag sewing machine. As this type of machine is used primarily for tailoring, it lacks the automated features of a specialized machine.
To create free-motion machine embroidery, the embroiderer runs the machine and skillfully moves tightly hooped fabric under the needle to create a design. The "feed dogs" or machine teeth are lowered or covered, and the embroiderer moves the fabric manually. The embroiderer develops the embroidery manually, using the machine's settings for running stitch and fancier built-in stitches. In this way, the stitches form an image on a piece of fabric. An embroiderer can produce a filled-in effect by sewing many parallel rows of straight stitching.


A machine's zigzag stitch can create thicker lines within a design or be used to create a border. Many quilters and fabric artists use a process called thread drawing (or thread painting) to create embellishments on their projects or to create textile art.
Free-motion machine embroidery can be time-consuming. Since a standard sewing machine has only one needle, the operator must pause to re-thread the machine manually for each subsequent color in a multi-color design. He or she must also manually trim and clean up loose or connecting threads after the design is completed.
As this is a manual process rather than a digital reproduction, any pattern created using free-motion machine embroidery is unique and cannot be exactly reproduced, unlike with computerized embroidery.


Computerized machine embroidery
Most modern embroidery machines are computer controlled and specifically engineered for embroidery. Industrial and commercial embroidery machines and combination sewing-embroidery machines have a hooping or framing system that holds the framed area of fabric taut under the sewing needle and moves it automatically to create a design from a pre-programmed digital embroidery pattern.
Depending on its capabilities, the machine will require varying degrees of user input to read and sew embroidery designs. Sewing / embroidery machines generally have only one needle and require the user to change thread colors during the embroidery process. Multi-needle industrial machines are generally threaded prior to running the design and do not require re threading. These machines require the user to input the correct color change sequence before beginning to embroider. Some can trim and change colors automatically.
A multi needle machine may consist of multiple sewing heads, each of which can sew the same design onto a separate garment concurrently. Such a machine might have 20 or more heads, each consisting of 15 or more needles. A head is usually capable of producing many special fabric effects, including satin stitch embroidery, chain stitch embroidery, sequins, applique, and cutwork.
The computerized machine embroidery process;
Machine embroidery in progress
Machine embroidery is a multi-step process with many variables that impact the quality of the final product, including the type of fabric to be embellished, design size, stabilizer choice and type of thread utilized. The basic steps for creating embroidery with a computerized embroidery machine are as follows:
  1. Create an embroidery design file or purchase a stitchable machine embroidery file. Creation may take hours depending on the complexity of the design, and the software can be costly.Edit the design and/or combine with other designs.
  2. Export the design file to a (proprietary machine) embroidery file that mostly just contains commands for the embroidery machine. If you bought such a file, you may have to convert the file.
  3. Load the embroidery file into the embroidery machine, making sure it is the correct format for the machine and that the stitched design will fit in the appropriate hoop.
  4. Determine and mark the location of embroidery placement on the fabric to be embellished.
  5. Secure the fabric in a hoop with the appropriate stabilizer, and place it on the machine.
  6. Center the needle over the start point of the design.
  7. Start and monitor the embroidery machine, watching for errors and issues. Troubleshoot any problems as they arise. The operator should have plenty of needles, bobbins, a can of air (or small air compressor), a small brush, and scissors..
  8. Remove the completed design from machine. Separate the fabric from the hoop and trim the stabilizer, loose threads, etc.
Design files
Digitized embroidery design files can be either purchased or created with industry specific embroidery digitizing software. Embroidery file formats broadly fall into two categories. The first, source formats, are specific to the software used to create the design. For these formats, the digitizer keeps the original file for the purposes of editing. The second, machine formats, are specific to a particular brand or model of embroidery machine, they contain primarily stitch data (offsets) and machine functions (stitch, trims, jumps, etc.) and are thus not easily scaled or edited without extensive manual work. However, because these files easy to decode, they serve as easy exchange formats, with some formats such as Tajima's .dst and Melco's .exp being so prevalent that they have effectively become industry standards and are often supported directly by machines built by rival companies, or through provided software to convert them for the machine.
Many embroidery designs can be downloaded in popular machine formats from embroidery websites. However, since not all designs are available for every machine's specific format, some machine embroiderers use conversion programs to convert from one machine's format file to another, with various degrees of reliability.

Editing designs
Once a design has been digitized, an embroiderer can use software to edit it or combine it with other designs. Most embroidery programs allow the user to 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 allow the user to edit, add, or remove individual stitches. Some embroidery machines have rudimentary built-in design editing features.

Loading the design
After editing the final design, the file is loaded into the embroidery machine. Different machines require different formats that are proprietary to that company. Common design file formats for the home and hobby market include .ART, .HUS, .JEF, .PES, .SEW, and .VIP. Embroidery patterns can be transferred to the computerized embroidery machines through cables, CDs, floppy disks, USB interfaces, or special cards that resemble flash or compact cards.
Due to some commonality between the controllers and the software manufacturers, some of the formats are headers and additional information surrounding similarly encoded stitches. .TAP is a .DST file without the header. .EXP file stitches are very close to .JEF, .SHV and .SEW but without the surrounding data about thread color and hoop positioning. .10o is encoded in the same manner as .F01, .GT, .DSB, .DAT, .INB and .U01 but with different headers and surrounding information...

related topics:
Embroidery sewing machine
Embroidery design
Embroidery machine sewing application
parts of information: wikipedia.org

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