The Good, Bad and The Ugly
The Anatomy of an Embroidery Design

The Good Design

What constitutes a Good Embroidery Design?

A good picture of a design doesn’t necessarily mean a good design. First of all, you want to be sure you are getting a design created by someone who understands the basics of a good design. This includes push and pull compensation, stitch angle, underlay, pathing, and all other factors that go into a well digitized design. A designer who is dedicated to the art of embroidery will meticulously construct the design, and then test stitch. If something isn't right, the designer will edit, adjust, and test stitch again, and again, until it meets their standards.

This dedication and attention to detail takes time and the costs mount up for fabric, stabilizers and thread, as well as wear and tear on the machine. The designers education or time taken to become proficient in the craft should also be taken into account in the pricing of a good design.

What about the computer to work on and the programs to do their digitizing and designing on, the electricity for the machine and the cost of keeping a special room to work in? All this should be taken into account in the pricing of a good design by a reputable designer.

That being said, to get this good design to look its best for you, you have a part to play in this scenario. No matter how much testing the designer has done it is your responsibility to test that design using your set of circumstances to see if it is exactly what you need for your project.

The Bad Stitch Out

What makes a Embroidery Design Stitch Out Badly?

If you notice a design that the outlines are way off, or have thick outlines that have more jumps than a pond full of frogs, that is usually an auto-digitized design that has not been cleaned up. Auto-digitizing is not always bad, it can be of great assistance to a good digitizer. But when a used as the only method the end result can be less than desirable. Auto-digitizing does however, cut down on the overhead expenses and time so the design will probably be a lot less money. If this is the case, you need to do all the testing yourself... absolutely for sure, or you just may have your project turn out badly.

Even a design from an accomplished designer may give you problems from time to time. But, before you judge the design, first make doubly sure the problem is not on your end.

Remember, that it takes only a fine speck of dust or residue to throw your tension off, or maybe too much or to little or the wrong kind of stabilizer for your fabric can cause trouble. Even a brand new needle has been known to have a burr on it which will shred your thread or pull all kinds of tricks on your design stitch out. Once you have checked and double checked all of your procedures, threaded and re-threaded your machine and bobbin, and you still can’t figure out the problem, then by all means contact the digitizer about your dilemma. An experienced digitizer will have an abundance of knowledge about what can go wrong and how to rectify the situation. Prompt and courteous customer service also separates the good designer from the others.

The Ugly Results

What in the world happened to my project?

Sew... you have tested the design on a scrap of fabric and all seemed to be pretty good and now you have stitched the design on your project and you don’t particularly like the results. What happened? Here are a few possibilities.

1. Is the design suited to the project fabric? A stitch intensive design might stitch out beautifully on a scrap of cotton broadcloth but when you stitch it on a knit T-shirt the results will vary considerably. Most of the time you can correct this by choosing the right stabilizers for the project, adding additional stabilizer ore even using creative means like adding additional fabric to the back. You could also choose a less dense or maybe an appliqué design when your project is a knit. If you really really want that exact design, and nothing else is working, try making a patch and affix the patch on the knit fabric. (See the Platinum Pearl for more info).

2. Always do your test stitching on the same type of fabric as your project. If you choose not to test that design, then you take your chances and the results just may turn ugly. A stitch remover may just turn out to be your best friend after all.

After careful testing, if you are still having problems, contact the designer and let her know exactly what you did, what fabric and stabilizers and threads you used and she may be able to help you get a better result. A quality designer is as concerned about your finished product as she is her own. To her this is part of her customer service.

Remember that the prompt and courteous customer service of a Platinum Designer is always at your fingertips. We are always here to make your embroidery experience enjoyable.

Author -         Jackie Green, Green Bee Designs Inc. Http://

With input from -

Lyn Christian, A Design By Lyn -

Carol Hoak, Art In Stitches -