Yes, I still do some custom digitizing as my schedule permits. If you're looking for cheap digitizing services, that's not me.
I'm an experienced digitizer with decades of practice (I started in 1994) and I use professional software. My previous background includes a degree in art and years of programming and sewing. I believe in quality and I take the time to do things right.
I've done custom digitizing for most of the machine companies, Sulky, Martha Pullen, major cartoon brands, corporations such as Borden, Iams, Valvoline, Proctor & Gamble, Richard Petty, plus many smaller companies as well as individuals. I can digitize both logos and lace.
You can see from the range of designs in my shop (all of which I've done myself) that I can do anything from standard filled designs to efficient redwork, intricate free-standing lace, applique and other techniques.
How I Charge
I charge by time, not stitch count, and it takes however long it takes.
Billable time includes all the time related to producing and testing your design, not just the actual digitizing time. Time is billed to the minute, not the quarter hour.
Your invoice will include a time tracking statement that details where that time was spent. Please contact me to find out about my current rates and availability. I can usually turn things around in a few business days when my schedule is open. Rush work is extra.
What I Need
For the shortest digitizing time, I need good clean artwork, preferably high resolution vector (AI or EPS).
I have worked from crayon, colored pencils, graphite pencil (and turned it into a 4 color design), photos, old embroidery, greeting cards, and napkin sketches. Other things include scans or photos of paintings and charcoal sketches.
I once digitized a design from a sweater. If I have to clean up the artwork, that's more billable time. If the image is a bitmap (jpg, tiff, png, etc.) it needs to be at least 300 dpi at actual size. Good digitizing starts with good artwork.
Obviously, if the work is not your own, I'll need a release statement from the copyright holder. I don't digitize anything that could violate a trademark or copyright. That includes any drawings you make that look suspiciously like a cartoon character, Disney princess, etc.
How It Works
Once we agree to work together and I have your artwork, I'll need a valid credit card. I didn't use to do this up front but I've been stiffed too many times.
I'll digitize the design. On complex designs, I'll send you a screen capture of how it looks so you can make any change requests before it's stitched.
Once you give the go ahead, I'll test sew it. I usually only need to test sew one time.
And yes, I have to sew it because there are things you see when sewing that aren't apparent on the screen. In the interest of minimizing time, I may not use the exact threads you'll use or do any specialty techniques.
Machine setup and sewing time are billable. It's likely I may be using different thread colors than you will unless you happen to use the same brand of thread I do.
Then I'll scan the design and send it to you for approval. You can still make changes and in all likelihood if you do, I'll need to sew it again.
Once you've put your final stamp of approval on it, I'll send you an invoice and charge your credit card. Then when the payment is received, I'll email you the design.
I can convert to any popular machine format (ART is not a machine format). I'll also include an PDF of the work sheet so you know where the color changes are. Actual test sewouts are no longer sent (they won't email)
What I Don't Do
I don't do any of the following:
- I don't send your design out to some service in Asia for digitizing. When you send a design to Lindee G Embroidery for custom digitizing, I do that work and Bill likely test sews it. It's done in house, in Tucson.
- I no longer do any production sewing. You're on your own to find that if you don't do embroidery yourself.
- I don't test on a garment. If you want something tested on a specific fabric, you'll need to provide that fabric for testing. That's testing, not production.
- I don't do any custom artwork. When I owned Cactus Punch, I had a staff of amazing artists. Yes, I have a degree it art, but my passion is digitizing—turning someone else's print art into embroidery art.
- I don't stitch on caps because I no longer have a cap attachment for my current machine. Maybe some day!
- I won't sent you sew out nor will I send you a CD, stick, or card. Everything is sent digitally.
- And in case you missed it earlier, I don't digitize any copyrighted materials without the proper releases on the owner's letterhead.
Why Have Custom Digitizing if You Don't Embroider?
Just as every business needs a web presence, every business needs a full identity package. When you source your logo for print and web, it's likely that you have those digital files.
When you take your image to an embroidery shop for logo-wear, typically they send the design out for digitizing and then they keep possession of it. That effectively holds you hostage to their services.
But what if they go out of business? You have to find another embroiderer, pay the "set up fee" again and have the design re-digitized. On the other hand, if you have the design digitized, you own the file and you can take copies of it to any embroiderer whenever you need to.
Even if you have your own embroidery machine, you still may want to send it out to a commercial embroiderer. Why? If you need to sew dozens of multi-color designs on a single needle machine, it may not be worth your time to do that. Or you may want caps stitched and you can't do caps on your machine.
Custom designs are typically more targeted to sewing on a particular kind of fabric and even a particular color.
Also, if you're looking for designs to stitch on both caps and garments, they need to be optimized differently.
And, if you want multiple sizes, that too may not be as simple as enlarging or shrinking and could require significant rework if the size differences are radical.
Finally, don't expect your embroidery design to be an thread replica of your artwork; it seldom works that way!
How Long Will It Take?
Digitizing is not a 3-click-and-its-done process. There's no way to "convert" an image into embroidery—well, not one that produces a professional result (even though some embroidery software developers would like you to believe that!).
The process is more akin to providing a portrait artist with a photo and asking them to recreate it in oils.
The time it takes from receiving your artwork until you get the finished design depends on my current schedule, how complex your project is, and how quickly you reply back on approval requests. Usual turn-around on a single design is only a few business days. Also, if you want it done "now," a rush fee will be applied.
If you're still interested in a custom digitizing project, please use the contact form below and let me know what you have in mind! I'll need to see a good clean image before we can really see what can be done.