Dear professionals and lovers of machine embroidery, starting their own business, everyone probably thought that the priority component of your future occupation is undoubtedly the embroidery machine itself. Probably so it is, but here the machine is bought, and patterns from ready designs, enclosed in its memory, are already embroidered.
Anyway, there comes a time when there is a need to do the embroidery on its own, here begins the first acquaintance with the software. Each embroidery machine producer tries to release his software product, often claiming that it is the most suitable to his machines, which is rather a marketing strategy than the truth. But there are also third-party developers specializing in creating such programs.
Types of software for machine embroidery
Software in embroidery is used to create designs, edit them, convert files from one format to another. Accordingly, there is software of various levels: professional, semi-professional and converters.
Each embroidery machine uses its embroidery format. The most common formats for machines from different manufacturers:
- APT – BERNINA
- PES, PEC – BABYLOCK, BROTHER, BERNINA
- DST – BROTHER, TAJIMA, ELTAC, and other professional machines
- PCS, VIP, VP3 – PFAFF
- HUS, VIP – HUSQVARNA
- JEF – JANOME, NEW HOME
- SEW -JANOME, ELNA, KENMORE
- XXX – SINGER, COMPUCON
- TAP – Happy
- EXP – MELCO
- 10O – TOYOTA, MITSUBISHI
How does it work?
The machine embroidery file contains information on how the machine should move the embroidery hoops and needle, store information about vector forms, the used color palette, and other parameters.
In some software, all this information is recorded in its own format, and then it can be converted into a format for the corresponding machine. In this case, the software forms either one or two files: the main and the “working”. An example of a format in which only one file is used to store all the information simultaneously is the ART format.
Basic information about the design, recorded in the corresponding embroidery format, can be viewed by downloading the file even in the most simple embroidery software. But the “working” files can be viewed ONLY in the program in which they were created. And, if you want to open the file in the software of the same manufacturer, but in a different version, it is possible that you will see a file with significant distortion. Sometimes software changes significantly from version to version, even if they are of the same manufacturer. Keep this in mind.
So, you have some design for embroidery (for example, you have an embroidering machine BROTHER and you need a file in DST format) and you, have a file with some other format for embroidery. Can you use it for your embroidery machine? No, unfortunately, this is impossible.
If you have a file in the format you need, you can load it into your embroidery machine and start embroidering. But, it’s not always possible to see the file on the computer screen (built-in the embroidery machine). For example, industrial machines often do not have such a monitor. And how can I be in such cases, how to look at the file you have?
With the embroidery software on your computer, you can upload the file to the program and see this design as it looks on the screen. You can open and see the file not only in the format of your embroidery machine but also in other formats intended for other machines. The main thing is that your software has the ability to read it. Most often, the software only works with a limited number of formats. Then, if you want to embroider this design, you can convert from one format to another.
The software for embroidery with a minimum set of functions is called a converter. Typically, such programs are FREE or have a minimum cost.
The most popular embroidery programs – converters:
- Tajima DGML by Pulse Ambassador
- Designer Gallery
However, if you want to change the size, change the color scheme, divide the design for the hoops you have, set the design in the center of your embroidery hoops, etc., then you will need software of a different level. The category of such programs includes:
- Buzz Tools
These programs usually have several block-modules. The base unit is usually inexpensive (up to 150 USD). Often such programs have a trial free version for a certain period of time (or the number of openings/closings of the program).
The category of professional and semiprofessional embroidery software includes programs aimed to create designs of machine embroidery. Of course, you can also edit ready-made designs in them, and convert them from one format to another. In professional software design contains a vector component, in semi-professional – it does not.
The most common embroidery programs that allow creating new designs include:
- Pattern Maker
So, let’s consider 5 Best & Free embroidery software services:
Let’s take a closer look at the functionality of the converter of machine embroidery files My Editor by WingsXP. Actually, this is even more than the converter of formats. And all because, in addition to the standard features of reading and re-saving the file, the developers have provided users with small additional convenience.
As in all programs, there is the menu and toolbar with standard functions on the main page:
- Opening, editing, inserting, etc .;
- Tools for selecting and inverting the selection;
- Tools for manipulating the visibility of objects;
- Navigation of the project for objects and stitches;
- Tools for manipulating the display of puncture points, stitches, paths;
- Player for simulation of sewing;
- Information panel for the project.
The panel of tools with special capabilities:
1) A tool that opens the color manager (threads and background);
2) Color palette with the ability to control the visibility of each color;
3) Special machine functions for removal or insertion.
Well, vertically there is also a toolbar for manipulating the design (selection, scaling, turning, editing stitches, etc.)
Each toolbar can be customized in appearance by hiding or opening tools.
The formats that this software reads are numerous, which causes respect. And there is also a considerable number of formats for saving. The View menu gives users several options:
- Preview3D – shows the design in a realistic way.nIt looks like this:
- Toggle grid – enable or disable mesh display.
- Grid options – set grid parameters.
- Guidelines – opens a window for manipulating guides. In My Editor, it is possible to set the guides in the traditional way through the ruler, and through this window. And at the same time put the exact coordinates of the guides in it and close them from accidental editing. Types of guides in this application: horizontal, vertical, inclined, circles. You can also set the guides by right-clicking on the top ruler.
The Layout menu allows you to multiply the design by specifying the number of copies and the distance between the designs. Stitches menu allows users to clear all short stitches in the Remove Small window which are shorter than the specified length in the design. And do a recount of the design density (even stitching) when changing its size with the AutoDensityàApply tool. This application adjusts the density to a new size independently, by its internal algorithms and you cannot control quality. The Tools menu in the Options window helps to set the user settings for working with the application.
What exactly can we do with each design?
- We can highlight the design by pressing just one button. All or in parts. And we can easily remove any part of the project if we find it unnecessary.
- We can select stitches one by one or by a group, invert the selection, delete stitches and add new ones, and move them to a new place.
- We can rotate the design itself or its part.
- We can scale the design by first selecting it and applying this tool to it and entering the required dimensions in the window that opens. Well and after scaling it is possible to apply the density recalculation.
- We can change the sequence of embroidery objects in the design.
- We can watch the movie-simulator of the process of embroidery, using the button Slow Redraw. And at the same time, you can control the process a little through setting the speed of embroidery.
Well, that’s what all the most common functions are like. You can download this free converter after preliminary registration on the website of the software developer WingsXP.
You can download this converter directly from the developer’s site by filling out a small questionnaire for free. We recommend the desktop version of this product, because, as the developers promise, its capabilities are slightly wider than those of its Web Beta colleague, which is intended for use on PC, Mac, iPad or Android PC gadgets. This is an excellent converter, many use it. To date, Wilcom is the most simple and easy-to-use program for embroidery, which saves time considerably. Just open a file of any format and save it in the format of your machine.
The icon of the TrueSizer changed and became this:
And, of course, the first thing that catches your eye is the square grid cells. Now, as it was before, you do not need to calibrate the monitor screen. Well, let’s see what we can do now. We’ll start with the menu.
Now, this converter reads many formats, much more than it was before. With the help of tools the following manipulations are possible:
- Horizontal mirroring
- Vertical mirroring
- Mirroring by reference line
- Rotate 45 degrees counterclockwise
- Rotate 45 degrees clockwise
- Transformation of the design by reference line numerically, which is done by the converter relative to the user-drawn line (here there is scaling and rotation)
- Free design transformation by reference line.
There are icons for resizing and positioning the design.
Settings for the design displaying on the screen:
- Stitches – displays stitches on the screen.
- Outlines – displays the outlines of the object, if the design is not in the machine format, but in the editable one.
- Needle Points – displays the points of puncture stitches. This function does not work when TrueView is enabled.
- Functions – display the machine functions on the screen in the form of geometric figures of black color (trimming, changing colors, stops, etc.). Works when the TrueView mode is turned off.
- Bitmaps – displays the background bitmap on the screen (for editable designs in the native format).
- Vectors – displays vector images on the screen (for editable designs in the native format).
- Applique Fabric – shows in place of the application not an empty space, but a fabric drawing (for editable designs in the native format).
- Bling – displays sequins (for editable designs in native format).
In general, this is an ordinary converter with rather limited functionality and capabilities – nothing special. You can not combine several designs together. Stitches are not recomputed in machine files when scaling. But it works quickly, it does not slow down. The big plus is that the scaling via the toolbar now works in the self-recalculation mode, and not as it was before and you do not have to calibrate the screen. There are more formats available for work. A useful thing for an amateur or a fan.
Let’s consider the main features of the program for machine embroidery SewWhat-Pro. Developers say that their program is not a converter, but an editor of embroidery (embroidery editor). You can download the demo version for 60 saves or for 30 days of use for free.
So, after installing and downloading the design, the user sees this interface:
To the right of the viewing window, there is design data: name, dimensions, number of stitches, a sequence of colors, etc. A color change is very easy and convenient through this window of design information. To do this, just select any color in the sequence. There also appears a window of color selection, in which you need to manually select the necessary one from the available in the converter numerous color palettes:
The most interesting features of this menu for the user are formats that this converter can read and save. In addition, a set of rather interesting possibilities is presented:
- Order Threads – the order of colors. Here we can change figures in the column called New Order. The sense is this: if we want the color 3 to be embroidered first, then we have to enter the number 1 in this column. If we want to remove some color completely, then we put in this column the number 0. To combine 2 colors into one, we must put the same numbers in the cells opposite to them in this column. All this is not very convenient and obvious.
- Del Threads – delete colors. Allows you to delete a color which stitches are less than a certain number and the color in the distance (Length) is less than some value. Funny opportunity. However, it is not clear why this is needed.
- Join Threads – join duplicate colors. Here 2 options: combine all the same colors throughout the design or combine all the same colors from the beginning of the design, and starting with a thread number, for example, 3.
- Filter Stitches – delete short stitches less than user specified value.
- Split Pattern – dividing the design into parts.
- Remove Interior – delete everything inside the area.
- Remove Exterior – delete outside the area.
- Cut and Save All – separates parts from each other.
- Cut / Save Interior – cuts out part of the design inside the selected area so that you can immediately create a new file from it.
If you activate the Select Colors and click on any color in the design, it will be highlighted in the embroidery sequence sheet on the right. If you immediately go to Select Points, then the screen will reflect only the piece of design of the selected color. By clicking on the Hoop Guide button, you can select the hoop for your brand of machine, which will serve as a guide for making a design, which is very convenient. Design can also be divided by highlighting a stitch – right there, using the Split at Stitch button.
If Select Point is active when selecting a stitch, you can: split the design into parts by pressing Split, delete this stitch by pressing Delete or insert another stitch by pressing Insert. If you select a stitch and hold the Shift key on the keyboard, you can move it to any place. If you activate the Select Colors button, when you click on any color, it is selected. And when you press the split button, this color is divided into 2 segments in this stitch. If you press Delete nothing happens, and pressing Insert, one more stitch is added.
These are not all the opportunities of the software. We described just a small part to give you a short review of the program.
Conclusion: this is the most ordinary converter. It differs from the others only in the ability to insert inscriptions in the design and not very convenient, as it seemed to be, possibilities of dividing the design into parts. Well, the main plus of this application, of course, a very convenient function of mass conversion of designs into the desired format.
This program is interesting for detailed consideration in our review. The general view opened to the user:
The File menu has all the usual functions: opening, saving, printing, etc. There are a lot of tools here. We’ll enumerate them in order:
- Realistic View – a realistic look.
- Redraw Design – sewing simulator. When this tool is activated, a ribbon appears, which allows you to customize the viewing options: manually step through stitches, blocks, colors, or simply watch the entire embroidery process at different speeds.
- Zoom convenient and versatile. The possibility to change the display scale on the TESViewer screen
- Full Screen increases the program window in full screen
- Show / Hide Stitches Points shows or hides puncture points
- Show / Hide Hoop shows or hides the hoop display for the convenience of matching them to the size of the design. This opens a window in which you can select some hoop or create your own hoop or frame size.
Show Grig shows or hides the grid
There is only one Change Size tool, which allows you to make small manipulations with the design.
These modifications are: proportional / disproportional change in size, reflection, rotation, displacement.
All this, of course, occurs without recalculation of stitches for normal computer files. The peculiarity of this converter – the size of the design here is displayed either in inches or in units of 0.1 mm.
- Executive – a tool that recounts the number of stitches in designs based on the type of machine. But the types of machines in the drop-down menu are surprisingly small.
- Center centers design. But in addition to setting the start point in the center, we didn’t find how to move it to another place.
- Optimize should clean short stitches. But for some reason this tool is inactive.
- Move to the first point serves to return to the starting point after the sewing.
- Info Card displays a window with various information on the design: colors, thread consumption, stitch lengths, etc.
- Show / Hide Stitch Colors gives the user to customize the colors in the design both on the color card of different manufacturers, and simply on the parameters of RGB. It is very convenient to use since it does everything automatically.
- Show / Hide Rulers displays or hides the ruler along the edges of the working field.
- Show / Hide ScrollBars displays or hides the work area scrolling sliders.
- Ruler. All dimensions are visible in the status bar.
- Protractor – a tool that measures the size of the angle.
- Set Grid Size adjusts the grid size on the screen in units of 0.1 mm.
- Select Hoop allows you to select or create your own hoop.
- System Parameters – set system parameters (language, units, background color).
There is one more feature of this program: there is a floating toolbar on the desktop that does not allow you to manipulate it in any way. But in it all the tools selected through the usual menu are highlighted:
In general, this is a good converter. Nothing stands out from a number of similar ones. Fast and easy. Excellent file manager in this software that other programs don’t have.
ARTsizer is a new and useful converter. Having installed and opened it, it immediately becomes clear who makes it – of course, Wilcom, because the interface is almost the same as that of TrueSizer 3. But it has fewer tools.
We will analyze the main menu.
Here everything is standard: open, close, view properties (Design Properties), print, read from the cards of the machine’s memory and write to them (Card / Machine Read / Write). All this is duplicated in the upper toolbar by tools, for quick access. Let’s see what type of files can be opened by this converter. There are not so many options, but the most common are:
And you can save in standard formats, but there is ART, and VP3, what cannot but rejoice.
There is a lot to do with how the design will be displayed on the monitor. In principle, anyone who is familiar with Wilcom will immediately see the full coincidence of the hotkeys of this converter with any other of their products.
- Needle Points – display of puncture points on the screen
- Artistic View (same as True View) – a realistic image
- Center Current Stitch – the current stitch will be displayed in the center of the design
- Previous View – show the previous view
- Zoom Out 2X
- Zoom In 2X
- Zoom – increase in the selected area
- Zoom Factor – select the scale of the design on the screen
- Redraw – redraw everything on the screen
- Slow Redraw – a simple simulator of the embroidery process (works only when the realistic stitching mode is disabled):
- Hoop – the ability to control the visibility of the hoop on the screen and their parameters in the appeared window.
- Automatic Centering – the design will automatically center on the hoop
- Manual – the design can be put up anywhere on the hoop, not only in the center. To do this, just select it and move it to the right place.
Some of the tools listed above are duplicated in the toolbar with icons.
To sum up, this converter hasn’t outstanding features – minimum instruments. However, the user can save the design in many formats for household machines, including rare art and vp3, which are not in other converters. After all, it’s created precisely for these users.
Proceeding from the fact that each program has its own advantages, disadvantages, and features, the designers of machine embroidery always use several versions of the software. Well, the new owners of embroideries, at least, need to acquire a program-converter.
We hope that this little excursion into the software for embroidery will be especially useful for beginning and future owners of embroidery technology.