Embroidery Software 101: Circular Tool

Last week, I showed you how the Repeat icon can be used to save time and frustration when embroidering multiples of the same design. This week, I’m excited to show you how using the Circular tool is another fun way to change a single design into something brand new.

One of the things I love about machine embroidery is being able to take one or two designs and alter or deconstruct them to create something unique and totally me.

Embroidered Kayakers and Text Reading "Life of a Kayaker"

Here’s how I create circular repeats of the same design.

I am working with designs from the Mini Stick Friends Embroidery Collection. Using the Circular tool is a great way to create a custom logo when you combine it with some built-in fonts or text.

Note: These general tips will work in just about any software program. The terminology may be a little different when going from brand to brand, but the concepts are generally the same. I am working with Floriani Total Control Professional software program, so all the icons and images were created using FTCP. Your icons or images may look slightly different if you are using a different program. In 5D, the Circular tool is referred to as Encore.

Kayaker Design in Computer Program

Step 1:

Open FTCP and select File > Open > Kayaker. If necessary, change the colors as desired. Select all the elements in the design and then right-click on Group.

Step 2:

Select the Circle Template icon.

Computer Design Command

In this particular software program, there are many options to customize the way you want your design to be arranged. Below is a screen capture of the default settings that were applied when the Circle Template was used.

Kayaker Design Repeating in Circle on Computer Program

Step 3:

I was not fond of the way the program generated the repeats, so I made a few minor adjustments:

Circle size

  • Width (mm): 100
  • Height (mm): 100


  • Repeats: 9

Individual path settings

  • Clear the “Auto rotate” check box
  • Select the “Auto resequence by color” check box.

Step 4:

Click on Apply to see the changes on the preview window. If you like it, select OK.

Adjusting Layout of Circular Design
This looks much better and is forming a nice circle array, perfect for adding a bit of personalization.

Adding text or a monogram

Select the Text icon and click anywhere on the working screen so the Properties РText box opens. Make the following selections in the Properties РText window: “Life of a Kayaker > Typewriter Font > Height (in): .35 > Line Spacing %: 100> click Apply.

Computer Options for Design
Kayaker Design in Circle
One of my pet peeves with embroidery is not having enough underlay in my design or when underlay is part of the design or text that is not seen. Underlay stitches are the foundation for your embroidery and act as a barrier so the foundation fabric is not seen through the top stitches. As a general rule, I like to have more underlay and a longer stitch length on top, which creates more dimension or loft in the final design or text.

To achieve the proper underlay, in the Properties – Fill window, select Density (mm): .40> click Apply. Density is how far apart or how close the stitches are next to each other. The higher the number, the further apart the stitches are. The default density for this text was .50, so we have lowered the number to .40, which puts the stitches closer together.

Changing Density Option on Computer Program

In the Properties – Underlay window, select the Zig-Zag check box > click Apply.

Setting Zig Zag in Computer Program

Hopefully this has inspired you to look at your small embroidery designs in a different light. Tiny designs are ideal for creating personalized logos or for framing text built into your embroidery software programs.

If you would like to learn more about using embroidery software, check out the online class Digitizing Machine Embroidery Designs with Cookie Gaynor.

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