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24 x 7 DIGITIZING is a haven for digitizing solutions of sterling precision and quality that leaves you awestruck with admiration.
24 x 7 DIGITIZING is a haven for digitizing solutions of sterling precision and quality that leaves you awestruck with admiration.


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Embroidery Digitizing


“Embroidery: that art of the English which has never been consciously celebrated but universally embraced”- Unknown
While the English are credited with embroidery because of the mechanization of embroidery during the Industrial revolution, the history of embroidery can be traced to the Warring states period in China between 5th – 3rd century BC! During the migration period in Europe, it made its presence felt in Sweden and slowly percolated to all the other European nations. The Muslim Empires across Asia and the Middle East have used embroidery to add beauty to their garments and in many of their handicrafts, thereby making it a cultural symbol. The beauty of embroidery lies in its solidity, consistency and constancy over the years.
”My love for God remains as undeviating as the stitches of the Luckhnowi Chikankari” – Line from a Sufi Poem
The quote above summarizes the stable nature of embroidery, which has helped it endure and survive unblemished over the years. As technology has evolved the mechanism to do embroidery has become digitized but the quintessence of the art is that the stitches remain the same as they were a few centuries ago! Digitizing embroidery is no easy task and it comes with a plethora of benefits. The advent of technology has also given birth to digitizing softwares for embroidery. The first newsletter of this year is dedicated to embroidery digitizing and digitizing softwares.

Manual Embroidery required a lot of patience and was a prolonged process. Duplication and replication of the same design over multiple clothing items was not easy, and definitely not error free. Embroidery digitization has found a way to tackle these challenges. Embroidery Digitization is a method to extract digital data from conventional art work. The digitized data then functions a program to control the movements of a computerized embroidery machine in order to complete the process of embroidering.
Computerized embroidery is much less tedious and far more precise. The process in computerized embroidery is very simple. One has to simply create or buy a digitized embroidery design file and then edit, modify and merge (optional) the designs with other designs. This design file, now, has to be loaded into the embroidery machine which can read digitized stitch files.  Then the material on which the embroidery has to be carried out is place in the machine and the machine is made to function. 
The advantages of embroidery digitizing are numerous. It saves on labour, human resource, costs, and time apart from bringing in efficiency and precision while duplication. Also with the facet of being able to combine designs to form new designs, computerized embroidery instantly conjures up images of intricate embroidery patterns whose seeds would have been sown in the imagination of the artist!

On one hand embroidery digitization has aided in revolutionizing the concept of embroidery, on the other hand the emergence of embroidery software has helped in the expansion of the realms of embroidery designs. Such softwares assist in the creation of designs of complicated intricacy and elegance. There are numerous embroidery softwares which have been designed for machine embroidery. Some software packages are also available for hand embroidery.
Digitizing software packages are created keeping the various kinds of users in mind. Most of these softwares facilitate an on screen simulation of sewing which enriches the user experience. All packages have tool bars for lettering and design creation with options to edit, so as to enable a user to play around with different kinds and styles. All digitizing software tools also have the feature of merging multiple stitch files to form design stitches on one single screen, consequently mirroring the exact image that one would have imagined. Digitizing softwares come in all levels, from a basic beginner level to a hobby embroidery designer level, to a small embroidery works owner level to a completely professional industrial level. Embroidery lettering softwares are also available for those who need them to embellish on products.
Current Digitizing softwares have other advanced features like using the same design for different words and letters, cropping and resizing of words and logos, merging and combining of edges of letters to give an embossed effect, editing embroidery after creating it through the software or by merely scanning an image, customizing existing designs, modifying designs to tailor to the needs of a customer, merging and combining of designs, and creating completely new designs. 
Most digitizing software packages have a trial version which can be tried and tested for around a month. Most software packages also allow for free upgrade to subsequent versions. They also come along with tutorials, tips and help to use the software effectively. Digitizing softwares have also been evolving, keeping abreast with evolution in other technology and have reached a stage where designs, logos, lettering, embellishments and design enhancements can be done in a jiffy.
The obvious advantages of using and mastering digitizing software include the savings in time and the wide spectrum of choices available. They also do the requisite editing and cropping to suit the measurement of the design required. 
Digitizing embroidery with the aid of digitizing software is the way forward, and is surely the tool to cherish, nurture and promote the ethereal art of embroidery! 
“May your love be as unswerving as the stitches on an embellished Pashmina shawl” – King Ottoman

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The computerized machine embroidery process

The basic steps for creating embroidery with a computerized embroidery machine are as follows:
purchase or create a digitized embroidery design file
edit the design and/or combine with other designs (optional)
load the final design file into the embroidery machine
stabilize the fabric and place it in the machine
start and monitor the embroidery machine
Design files

Digitized embroidery design files can be either purchased or created with industry-specific embroidery digitizing software. Embroidery file formats broadly fall into two categories. The first, source formats, are specific to the software used to create the design. For these formats, the digitizer keeps the original file for the purposes of editing. The second, machine formats, are specific to a particular brand of embroidery machine. Here, the files are available for use with particular embroidery machines and are not easily edited or scaled.
Embroidery machines generally have one or more machine formats specific to their brand. However, some formats such as Tajima’s .dst, Melco’s .exp/.cnd and Barudan’s .fdr have become so prevalent that they have effectively become industry standards and are often supported by machines built by rival companies.
Machine formats generally contain primarily stitch data (offsets) and machine functions (trims, jumps, etc.) and are thus not easily scaled or edited without extensive manual work.
Many embroidery designs can be downloaded in popular machine formats from embroidery web sites. However, since not all designs are available for every machine’s specific format, some machine embroiderers use conversion programs to convert from one machine’s format file to another, with various degrees of reliability.
A person who creates a design is known as an embroidery digitizer or puncher. A digitizer uses software to create an object-based embroidery design, which can be easily reshaped and edited. These files retain important information such as object outlines, thread colors, and original artwork used to punch the designs. When the file is converted to a stitch file, it loses much of this information, rendering editing difficult or impossible.
Software vendors often advertise auto-punching or auto-digitizing capabilities. However, if high quality embroidery is essential, then industry experts highly recommend either purchasing solid designs from reputable digitizers or obtaining training on solid digitization techniques.
Editing designs

Once a design has been digitized, an embroiderer can use software to edit it or combine it with other designs. Most embroidery programs allow the user to rotate, scale, move, stretch, distort, split, crop, or duplicate the design in an endless pattern. Most software allows the user to add text quickly and easily. Often the colors of the design can be changed, made monochrome, or re-sorted. More sophisticated packages allow the user to edit, add, or remove individual stitches. Some embroidery machines have rudimentary built-in design editing features.
Loading the design

After editing the final design, the file is loaded into the embroidery machine. Different machines require different formats that are proprietary to that company. Common design file formats for the home and hobby market include .ART, .HUS, .JEF, .PES, .SEW, and .VIP. Embroidery patterns can be transferred to the computerized embroidery machines through cables, CDs, floppy disks, USB interfaces, or special cards that resemble flash or compact cards.
File Types for Embroidery Machine Embroidery
.ART Bernina artista, OESD
.ASD Melco
.CND Melco condensed
.CSD POEM, Singer EU, Viking Huskygram
.DST Tajima
.EMD Elna Expressive
.EXP Bernina, Melco
.GNC Great Notions Condensed
.HUS Viking Husqvarna
.JEF/.JEF+ Janome, New Home
.OEF OESD Condensed
.PCD, .PCS, .PCQ Pfaff
.PEC, .PEL, .PEM, .PES Baby Lock, Bernina Deco, Brother, Simplicity
.PHB, .PHC Baby Lock, Bernina Deco, Brother
.SEW Elna, Janome, New Home, Kenmore
.SHV Viking Husqvarna
.STI Toyota/Data Stitch
.STX Toyota/Data Stitch
.VIP VIP Customizing
.VP3 Pfaff
.XXX Singer, Compucon
Stabilizing the fabric

To prevent wrinkles and other problems, the fabric must be stabilized. The method of stabilizing depends on the type of machine, the fabric type, and the design density. For example, knits and large designs typically require firm stabilization. There are many methods for stabilizing fabric, but most often one or more additional pieces of material called stabilizers or interfacing are added beneath or on top of the fabric, or both. Stabilizer types include cut-away, tear-away, vinyl, nylon, water-soluble, heat-n-gone, peel and stick, and open mesh, sometimes in various combinations.
For smaller embroidered items, the fabric is placed in a hoop, which is attached to the machine. A mechanism called an arm moves the hoop under the needle.
Embroidering the design

Finally, the embroidery machine is started and monitored. For commercial machines, this process is more automated than for the home machines. Many designs require more than one color and may involve additional processing for appliqués, foam, or other special effects. Since home machines have only one needle, every color change requires the user to cut the thread and change the color manually. In addition, most designs have one or more jumps that need to be cut. Depending on the quality and size of the design, sewing a design file can require anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour
Embroidery machines

Not all machines are solely used for embroidery; some are also used for sewing. Some of the more advanced features becoming available include a large color touchscreen, a USB interface, auto threading, built-in design editing software, embroidery adviser software, and design file storage systems. Commercial embroidery machines can be purchased with a set number of heads (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 12, 15,18 or more colors). Industrial embroidery machines are available with 1 to 56 heads.
Commercial and contract embroidery factories

Factories can have a few small machines or many large machines, or any combination of machines. Contract embroidery is done on goods that the customer supplies to the embroidery house and is limited to the trade. A company offering contract embroidery sews designs onto wearable items for brokers, other embroiderers, specialty firms, and screen printers at a wholesale rates. The customer of a contract embroiderer usually supplies the items to the factory and only pays for the embroidery service.
Commercial embroiderers offer their services to the public and supply the wearable items, and know the latest designs available in market and top of foil.
Other supplies

Almost any type of fabric can be embroidered, given the proper stabilizer. Base materials include paper, fabric, and lightweight balsa wood.
Machine embroidery commonly uses polyester, rayon, or metallic embroidery thread, though other thread types are available. 40 wt thread is the most commonly used embroidery thread weight. Bobbin thread is usually either 60 wt or 90 wt. The quality of thread used can greatly affect the number of thread breaks and other embroidery problems. Polyester thread is generally more color-safe and durable. High quality embroidery thread is produced by Madeira and Robison-Anton.
Other associated costs are thread, stabilizer, purchased designs, needles, bobbins, and other miscellaneous tools and supplies.
Source:   #digitizing   #embroidery   #digitalart   #digitizer   #cameraready   #artwork  

Machine Embroidery glossary
French term meaning applying, usually by sewing, one piece of fabric to the surface of another. A cut piece of material stitched to another adds dimension and texture and reduces the stitch count.
Backing and stabilizer are often used interchangeably to refer to materials, generally non-woven textiles, which are placed inside or under the item to be embroidered. The backing provides support and stability to the garment which will improve the quality of the finished embroidered product. Backings come primarily in two types: cutaway and tear-away. With cutaway, the excess backing is cut with a pair of scissors. With tear-away, the excess is torn away after the item is embroidered. Additional types of stabilizer can be dissolved by water or heat.
A small spool of thread inside the rotary hook housing of a sewing machine. The bobbin thread forms the stitches on the underside of the garment. The bobbin on an embroidery machine works in the same manner and for the same purpose as on a standard sewing machine.
The computerized technique of turning a design image into an embroidery program. Special software is used to create plotting commands for the embroidery machine. The commands are transferred to the machine’s logic head by a designated embroidery language.
Fill Stitch
Fill stitches are a series of running stitches sewn closely together to form broad areas of embroidery with varying patterns and stitch directions.
A clamping device used to hold the backing and fabric in place in the machine.
Running Stitch
One straight line of stitches, often used for fine details, outlining, and underlay.
Satin Stitch
Also known as zigzag stitch, a satin stitch is a line, border or edge produced by thread being alternately stitched to either side of a baseline. Satin stitches are generally limited to a maximum of 1/2″ in stitch length before some alternate technique must be used, such as split stitching or fill stitching.
A stabilizing pattern of embroidery which, if used, precedes the main body of satin or fill stitching. It consists of one or a combination of running stitches for centering, edging, paralleling, or zigzagging the design area.
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History of Machine Embroidery
Before computers were affordable, most embroidery was completed by punching designs on paper tape that then ran through an embroidery machine. One error could ruin an entire design, forcing the creator to start over.
In 1980, Wilcom introduced the first computer graphics embroidery design system to run on a minicomputer. Melco, an international distribution network formed by Randal Melton and Bill Childs, created the first embroidery sample head for use with large Schiffli looms. These looms spanned several feet across and produced lace patches and large embroidery patterns. The sample head allowed embroiderers to avoid manually sewing the design sample and saved production time. Subsequently, it became the first computerized embroidery machine marketed to home sewers.
The economic conditions of the Reagan years, coupled with tax incentives for home businesses, helped propel Melco to the top of the market. At the Show of the Americas in 1980, Melco unveiled the Digitrac, a digitizing system for embroidery machines. The digitized design was composed at six times the size of the embroidered final product. The Digitrac consisted of a small computer, similar in size to a BlackBerry, mounted on an X and Y axis on a large white board. It sold for $30,000. The original single-needle sample head sold for $10,000 and included a 1″ paper-tape reader and 2 fonts. The digitizer marked common points in the design to create elaborate fill and satin stitch combinations.
Melco patented the ability to sew circles with a satin stitch, as well as arched lettering generated from a keyboard. An operator digitized the design using similar techniques to punching, transferring the results to a 1″ paper tape or later to a floppy disk. This design would then be run on the embroidery machine, which stitched out the pattern. Wilcom enhanced this technology in 1982 with the introduction of the first multi-user system, which allowed more than one person to work on the embroidery process, streamlining production times.
Brother Industries entered the embroidery industry after several computerized embroidery companies contracted it to provide sewing heads. Later, the Japanese company Tajima provided sewing heads that were capable of using multiple threads. Singer failed to remain competitive during this time. Melco was acquired by Saurer in 1989.
The major embroidery machine companies eventually adapted their commercial systems and marketed them to companies such as Janome for home use.
Since the late 1990s, computerized machine embroidery has grown in popularity as costs have fallen for computers, software, and embroidery machines. Many machine manufacturers sell their own lines of embroidery patterns. In addition, many individuals and independent companies also sell embroidery designs, and there are free designs available on the internet.

#embroidery   #digitizing  
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