By Lindee Goodall

How to Analyze an Embroidery Design

Anatomy of a Design ebook image

  • Are you an embroiderer?
  • Do you want better embroidery results?
  • Would you like to be able to just look at a design and tell if it’s worth sewing
Dear Embroidery Enthusiast,

Chances are when you bought your embroidery machine you were shown how easy, fun, and quick it was to create beautiful embroidery. Hoop up a piece of fabric, thread up the machine, punch a few buttons—and Voila! A beautiful embroidery materializes right before your very eyes.

And chances are that since you’ve purchased your machine, brought it home, and starting embroidering your own projects, you’ve had some less than successful results– or maybe even downright disasters. What happened?

Did you blame it on the machine? On the design? On your technique? Do you even know what to blame it on?

Embroidery lasts the lifetime of the item you sew it on– and if the result is bad, that lifetime may have just terminated abruptly. With embroidery and fabric, it really is a “til death do us part” marriage. So just because you have a design, some thread, a machine, and some fabric doesn’t mean they are good marriage partners.

Embroidery can be fun and there are things to look for when pairing designs with fabric, thread, needles, and stabilizers. If you know your embroidery technique is sound, then you need to start looking at the design.

Just What Do You Look For?

Here are some of the things you need to look for:

  • How big is the design?
  • How many stitches are in the design?
  • How dense or open is the design?
  • What types of stitches predominate?
  • Are there a lot of varying stitch directions in the design?
  • Does the design have running stitch outlines?
  • Does the design have a lot of layering?
  • Does the design have excessively small details?
  • Is there proper underlay to support the design?
  • Is there proper compensation to offset the distortions of sewing?
  • Will the design overpower the fabric?
  • Will the fabric overpower the design?
  • What kind of stabilizer will you need to support this design on your chosen fabric?

Well, I could go on and on but I think you get the idea. Would you like to embroider smarter? Would you like to get inside the head of a professional digitizer and see what they’re thinking about when they create designs?

If so, you’ve come to the right place!

Why This Book

When I owned Cactus Punch, the bulk of our business was digitizing creative, production-friendly embroidery designs targeted for the home embroiderer and niche professional embroiderers. Today, there are “billions and billions” of designs but many of them are not sew-worthy. Embroiderers aren’t taught how designs are constructed. The manual that came with your embroidery software does not teach this. You’ll only learn this from an experienced, professional digitizer who has trained other professional digitizers.

When I returned to the embroidery industry in August 2008, I realized I couldn’t simply build another “Cactus Punch.” Embroiderers don’t need more designs. They need to know how to make their current designs sew better. They need to be able to sort out which designs are worth sewing in the first place. I don’t know anyone who has too much time. Why waste it sewing a bad design? Or worse, why destroy a perfectly good garment with a bad design.

I had always wanted to write a book but didn’t have the time. Plus, I wanted control over the book’s content. I’ll admit, it sure would have been nice to work with an editor and an artist! Many embroiderers were begging for a book on digitizing. Many wanted to know how to produce better embroidery. There are a lot of good books that teach the basics, written by embroiderers. I realized that Anatomy of a Design was what was really needed.

Anatomy of a Design will dissect a design and show you just how designs are built. Plus, you’ll learn a few “exploratory surgery” techniques to help you decide with the patient is worth saving or can be saved at all. Understanding the inner workings of a design will help you make better fabric and stabilizer choices.

Amp Up Your Embroidery!

You too can produce better embroidery when you have a better understanding of how designs are constructed and the effect those stitches have on fabric. Why waste time sewing designs that will never work on the fabric you’ve chosen—or for that matter on any fabric no matter what you do?

What’s stopping you? Get your copy of Anatomy of a Design ebook now!

Want to Know More?

Notice: The copyright of the article How to Analyze an Embroidery Design is owned by Lindee Goodall. Permission to republish How to Analyze an Embroidery Design in print or online must be granted by the author in writing. Here are articles I have written that you can freely use as long as you retain my bio info.

Embroidery Tip

  • Sewing with a dull needle is like shaving with a dull razor.

Mission

To inspire and nurture personal creativity and productivity by connecting embroiderers and digitizers with innovative, high-quality products and information that significantly elevate their enjoyment and experience while maximizing the use of technology. In other words, more toys and more fun!