If you’ve read my blog, you know that I have been having way too much fun with the Embrilliance software programs these days. Besides being able to use the same program on my Mac and my PC (no need to learn yet another program) I really enjoy the simplicity and natural order of how the programs look and feel. Stuff like the radio buttons to switch between Metric and Inches are right there at the top left menu bar. I mean it sounds like such a small thing. I sometimes feel alone in my happy little round number metric world when it comes to embroidery. But to quickly switch between measurements – bam! – it’s a really big thing for me to not have to go to some hidden preferences setting to switch to inches to help a friend who feels more comfortable in inches.
And most people could care less about a detail like that ease of use feature – but just think. If they took that much time in their planning of their software from a user interface point of view for the little things, the big things, the things that matter just have to follow suit. The first program I got started with is Essentials — what a great name! Think about the top 5 things you do in machine embroidery software every day. I like to look at my designs, find the one I want to stitch and customize it – to be honest after the very first design I stitched, I don’t think I have ever simply loaded a design as is to the machine and hit start. After the first one, it was – OK that was fun – NOW what can we do to that design! I’m a “onesy type of gal” – each project is unique in its own right 🙂
So using the Merge stitch file, I can look at all my designs and choose the one(s) I want in my layout. Now I can have some fun with customizing! Essentials lets me resize (and recalculates the stitches). I can overlap designs — eek, but I used to have to careful when I did that because stitching two designs on top of each other makes one DENSE section — but not with Essentials! It will automatically remove the stitches from the one underneath in a smart way so there is no gap. And you don’t have to do anything for this to happen! Just save the design!
How about adding some text? There are built in fonts that can be scaled up and down – you can create multiline text without some silly character limit! Its got enveloping so you can shape the fonts into monogram style. You can even create circular or arched text! Now you may have seen some digitizers like Jolson’s, Rivermill Embroidery, Lindee G Embroidery, Great Notions (and new ones coming on) offering designs in the BX format? This means that you can add new custom fonts to the program with a drag and drop of the BX file onto the program. So you can use that zebra applique curly font to create a design that says LISA by simply using the lettering tool and selecting this font you added. Wicked simple – the letters are all lined up, and you can adjust spacing/layout just like a built in font. Now I said applique, right? That would normally mean you would have to stitch out each letter in whole by itself – not with the smart color sort in Essentials! Utility > Sort Colors and BAM! sorted on the save.
All of these functions and more are part of the Essentials program — just enough of fun customizing tools so you can make your design unique to you, send it to the machine and start percolating on the next project! And don’t get me started on the other programs! Holy smokes I can get side tracked for HOURS creating new designs without digitizing a stitch 🙂
A friend of mine was asked what software she thought was the best and I think her response was SPOT ON! The best software for YOU is the one that you use to get the job done so you can start stitching. So if you have software and you aren’t using it, ask yourself why? Does it feel like a really awkward first date when you open the program? Maybe its just not the right match for you! We all learn differently and what makes sense to me may not make sense to you and vice versa. If you don’t have software – be sure that you check out what’s available to you – make a list of what YOU find to be important features. What do YOU find to be essential? Ya never know, maybe you and Embrilliance Essentials are a compatible couple 🙂
Now there are few companies that let you return software – its just not part of the industry standard. Embrilliance broke all those rules with a 90 day money back guarantee. They want everyone to be happy and say so right on the first page of their website!
And to offer some warm up savings on their Facebook page, they are now offering a coupon code for the month of January and told everyone to share it and spread the word! Use FB114 for the coupon code in the shopping cart to get the savings. So I’m doing my part 🙂
Here is a shortened link to the website – checkout the programs, the user’s forum, ask questions via Contact Us.
Stay tuned next week — I talked about stabilizers last time and got to thinking what else is part of the “underside” of embroidery? No I’m not talking about underground secret societies! Think about your bobbins….that’s where we’re going next!
Until next time – Happy Stitching!
Let’s talk a little bit about stabilizers and what their job is when it comes to machine embroidery. There is NO WAY that one blog post can cover everything about stabilizers – I actually started out being very general in my post and then thought it would be best if I focused on one thing at a time.
Now just to clarify what I’m talking about when it comes to stabilizers – this is something that is used to create a stable foundation in the hoop at the embroidery machine. There are many different brands and types, each has its own job, there really is no ONE stabilizer that works for every single application.
I took a class many years ago from a commercial digitizer, when the home market of machine embroidery was in its infancy and something he said has stuck with me ever since. For results that will last washings, wear and time, the stabilizer you use is most important, the item you are stitching on is completely irrelevant. Choose your stabilizer type and weight to fulfill the needs of the design (stitch count, density, etc). I like to keep this thought in mind when I’m choosing which stabilizer to use for a project.
It makes sense if you think about it – if the stabilizer is what is holding all the stitches, your embroidered item is just “hanging out” enjoying the embellishment. So with that frame of mind, if you used a cutaway stabilizer, you could probably stitch any design on any fabric! But we use other types of stabilizer for our projects because we don’t want to add the bulk of a cutaway for fabrics that do not need this type of stability.
AH – so you choose a tearaway to match the cotton fabric, you stitch the design and something is not right – maybe you’ve got a bit of puckering or the outline doesn’t match. Maybe the design feels really thick when you take it out of the hoop and remove the stabilizer. These are “signals” that the design you are stitching may be too dense for the fabric you have chosen to stitch on — the last part of that sentence is what you need to contemplate. “the fabric you have chosen to stitch on”.
Yes different fabrics will react to having a design embroidered onto it differently than others. There is no 100% correct all the time end all be all solution match up embroidery design, fabric & stabilizer – sorry! Unless you like the look of cutaway showing through on your batiste curtains. There is however some good charts and resources available to you so that you have a starting place for your choice. Some software programs like Embrilliance Essentials will offer you suggestions right in the program. Other programs like Embrilliance Density Repair kit will not only offer you these suggestions, but will try to adapt the design to match the fabric you are choosing to stitch on.
I also like the PDF file provided by Embroidery Library that has quite a robust chart of types of fabrics with the type of stabilizer used AND the styles of embroidery designs that works best! This is very handy and a great place to start when planning your embroidery projects. Here is the link to that PDF file from Embroidery Library. Not only is Embroidery Library one of my goto resources for finding particular embroidery designs but they also have a great resource in their project section.
So here is a teenie tiny slicing start for a conversation on stabilizers 🙂 I have to laugh that on one of the embroidery groups I belong to, someone commented about all the photos of beautiful projects I post. If they could only see all the whoops of bad choices I’ve made over the years! I may not be an expert in stabilizers, but I’ve surely made my fair share of poor choices with interesting results — I just choose not to photograph and share all of those! Learning by experience has the S.O.P. for my journey into machine embroidery. Just hope that I can share a little of that experience with you and maybe it will help!
Until next time – happy stitching!