today I am bringing you last part of my Guide to Embroidery Machines and we will be talking about embroidery software. Make sure you are caught up with Part 1 and Part 2 of the series!
Let's talk embroidery software!
So, what is embroidery software and do you need it? If you have selected your embroidery machine (refer to Part 1 and Part 2, if you have not yet), the next step is to select the source of your embroidery designs.
There are 3 ways you can get embroidery designs:
1. Use pre-installed ones that come with the machine. Depending on the machine you chose, there will be already a variety of designs included. Usually, machine will have a few different alphabets for monogramming and at least a few ornaments to choose from. If you are planning on doing personalized gifts (hence, alphabets for monogramming) or doing some smaller projects, pre-installed designs may be a good source for that.
2. Buy/get designs online. Next option would be to get embroidery designs online (whether buy them, or find free source). This is a great option from all kind of projects: from smaller designs, to really big ones, from simple pieces to artistic masterpieces - you can literally find it all! These designs are usually "pay to download", so be prepared to spend some money for the design you might have an eye for! Plus, those designs are often copy righted and cannot be used for commercial purpose, unless clearly stated otherwise - note that, if you want to use those designs for business matters.
3. Create your own design. The most effort requiring, yet the most creatively freeing option on the list. This means your can create literally any kind of design you can imagine, depending on your creativity and skill level. To create embroidery design, you will need special software to edit your creation and "translate" it to the machine language. Using specialized software is a perfect choice for those who are interested in using embroidery for their business, and also those you want complete freedom of creativity in their creations. For me, having an embroidery machine is all about ability to bring my own ideas to life, so having a specialized software was non-negotiable for me.
Embroidery software I use is Elna eXuberance Junior and in this post I will show you how the inside of this software looks like and what you can do with it. This is not a "how to use it" post, but rather a general introduction on what to expect from an embroidery software.
Once you open the software, you can select "New project" and start creating your design right away. First step is always to select your specific machine model and hoop size you want to use - you will be designing an embroidery specifically for your machine. Remember when in Part 1 we talked about hoop importance? Well, here is a proof that having a machine with several hoops will open more possibilities for project variation!
No worries if you change your mind about hoop size while creating your design - you will be able to easily switch hoop model while working on the project. However, once you finish your design and want to transfer it to the embroidery machine, make sure the machine and hoop models are correct, otherwise machine may not recognize it.
Once the hoop is selected, it is displayed on the screen. The hoop is graded in metric system, minimum grade being 1 millimetre, which helps to very precisely place design detail in the right spot you want it to be - accuracy is everything in embroidery!
On the right side of the screen, there is a tool bar, showing what edit abilities you have with this software: Selection helps to select various design details and move them to another spot, resize or group several different items to one cluster; Edit stitches allows to adjust stitching sequence; Zoom allows to look upclose to the design; Measure lets you accurately measure distance in the embroidery and hoop; Stitch flow is used to change the direction of the stitching; Slow redraw shows how the machine will stitch the design and how the final design look like; Lettering is used to add monogramming or words to the design; Color manager increases or decreases number of embroidery colors and let's you choose different color variations for better design visualization; Machine/Hoop is for machine or hoop adjustments; and Guidelines are for better design placement and symmetry.
Though all these functions are really useful, my favourite is the Slow redraw - once you have a design loaded and edited, you simply push the button and see how your design is being "embroidered" on the screen. This gives a much better understanding on how your design will look like finished, and it's way better than just seeing an edit mode version. Below I added two photos for better understanding of difference between these modes - see how different it looks like?
To get the design to the embroidery software, you can easily import it from any picture file and the software will turn it to an embroidery design, you will then only need to tune it to get the desired result (change color number, resize, reposition, etc.). For best results, it is recommended to use vector designs, but if you want you can use hand-drawn designs or even photos, too.
So, to wrap up this part, I want to share my thoughts on embroidery software: if you want to expand your embroidery machine capabilities or even use it for a business, getting software is a way to go. Though embroidery software cost additionally, it's an irreplaceable tool to have if you wan to create your own designs. If you are thinking about getting it, make sure to check it's compatible with your machine and - if you have possibility - check to see the "inside" of the software, so that you get the one that will be easy to navigate and work with.
As for me, I am very happy with my Elna eXuberance Junior version - it allows me quickly and easily create desired designs, and it was very easy to learn to use it. I am able to turn my ideas into designs in literally minutes using it!
This part concludes my Guide to Embroidery Machines series. I hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I did creating them! I have fallen in love with my embroidery machine and I am very pleased to have had this opportunity to share my experience here with you!
I would like to thank again to Elna company for sponsoring this series - all tested machines lived up to my high expectations and if you are in the market for an embroidery machine, make sure to check them out!
Thank you for reading and wishing you a wonderful day!