Digitizer's Roundtable: Challenges of Creating Machine Embroidery Designs

This is the long-awaited second installment of the digitizer’s roundtable. Thinking about digitizing your own designs? Soak in the knowledge of these nine extremely talented digitizers to find out challenges they encounter when creating machine embroidery designs.

artistic digitizing screen

Photo via Bluprint class Artistic Digitizing: From Inspiration to Stitch with Cookie Gaynor

Our first digitizers roundtable, 4 Tips on How to Design Embroidery Patterns, solicited some great tips from our expert panel. This time, they tell us some of the challenges they face when digitizing machine embroidery. For other training, try Bluprint classes Digitizing Machine Embroidery Designs and Artistic Digitizing: From Inspiration to Stitch with Cookie Gaynor.

The panel:

What is the most difficult part of digitizing?

sew inspired by bonnie merry mermaids

Photo via Sew Inspired by Bonnie

Determining end use

“Deciding what direction you want to take the artwork. Fill? Appliqué? Loose fill? Decorative stitches? Types? So many options but you want a cohesive set of designs. I like building sets that can mix and match together.” – Bonnie


Photo via Bluprint member b-quilts


Achieving perfection

“I find stitching and re-stitching a design difficult, as I want it to be perfect the first time and it never is.” – Marjorie

If you take a look at some of Marjorie’s designs, I think you will agree she’s pretty darn close!

Get the Turtle Treks Machine Embroidery Appliqué designs here.

Simple Block Monograms Machine Embroidery

Photo via Bluprint member Edies Designs

Design integrity

“Creating the perfect balance of stitching in a design, without heavy density is a challenge. Digitizing an embroidery design manually is very similar to a cooking recipe. All the ingredients must be perfect to accomplish a great design. Artistic elements, stitch balance, stitch length, stitch width, underlay and execution determine the final integrity of a design.” – Edie

Get the Simple Block Monograms designs here.

Puzzle Piece Someone with Autism design

Photo via Bluprint member Appliqué Geek

“Creating 4×4 designs is definitely the most difficult part of digitizing! Generally I digitize at either 8×8 or 6×10 (depending if the art is shaped like a square or rectangle) and then resize the completed design for those two sizes as well as 5×7. However, I almost always need to completely re-digitize the 4×4 from scratch because the quantity of stitches and the density don’t look right when resized that small.” – Kassondra

Get the I Puzzle Piece Someone With Autism design here.

Owl Hipster Purse Set

Photo via Bluprint member EmbGarden

Writing clear instructions

“It is so important to write comprehensive instructions that everyone, even the beginning machine embroiderer, can understand.” – Reen

That would, indeed be a challenge. When I recently stitched one of Reen’s in-the-hoop designs, the Owl Hipster Purse, I was amazed at the brilliance of being able to figure out how to achieve such an intricate project, let alone write the instructions so someone else could easily achieve the same!

Get the Owl Hipster Purse Set designs here.

Machine Embroidery Butterfly 04 Quilt Block_2

Photo via Bluprint member Sanity5

Being patient

“Sometimes you just can’t seem to get a design to work no matter what you do. Sometimes you just have to put it aside for days or weeks and come back to it.” – Shanel

Get the Mach Emb-Butterfly 04 Quilt Block design here.


Photo via Bluprint member Izabella’s Closet

Finding time

“Right now finding time is the most difficult part of digitizing as it often takes time. Sometimes designs can be difficult so getting them to sew out just right can be hard.” – April

Get the Country Chicks Quote design here.

Cherry Hearts Faux Smock Design 1

Photo via Bluprint member Baby Kay’s

“Having too many ideas and not enough time to get them all digitized!” – Teresa

Get the Cherry Hearts Faux Smock Design here.

Check back to see what our digitizers like the best about creating embroidery designs.

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