Resources > Artwork to Embroidery
Ever wonder how your artwork file is translated into a file that is read by an embroidery machine? Is it an automatic process? No! There are several steps involved.
The artwork is sized and revised to make sure all the design elements work for embroidery. Many times artwork files are created on a larger scale than what is needed for embroidery so when these files are sized for an embroidered design, the design may contain too much detail. Often secondary text and less important design elements are too small and must be enlarged or eliminated. Special effects like outlines and drop shadows are often removed. Gradient color areas are simplified into one area of color. Sometimes small text is set-up in an easy-to-read block font or divided into two lines. Different elements may need to be rearranged to fit a horizontally-orientated embroidery area such as on the front of baseball caps. All changes are discussed with the customer before proceeding with the design.
After receiving customer approval, the digitizer uses the artwork as a template to create an embroidery software file. This file is created by assigning different stitch types, lengths and directions to areas in your design while considering how the design should run so it looks good and embroiders well. Check out What Is Embroidery Digitizing? for more discussion about the digitizing process.
The embroidery proof is finalized by adding the correct colors to the image and background (area representing the garment). The file can be automatically converted to a 3D-looking image so it looks more like an embroidered design with highlights.
The file and its measurements are sent to the customer so they can check the colors, sizing, spelling and general layout of the design.
After the embroidery proof is approved by the customer it is saved in a stitch file format that can be read by an embroidery machine. This file is loaded into an embroidery machine and the correct thread colors are assigned to different elements in the design. Next, a test swatch is embroidered on a piece of fabric that is similar to the garment that will embroidered to make sure the thread colors are correct and everything looks good. Sometimes a file must be returned to the digitizer for additional editing if a design element doesn't embroider correctly. Occasionally a thread color isn't quite right and must be changed. After adjustments are made, the file is test sewn again and checked before production begins.