There are three main ways of obtaining embroidery designs.
Pre-Programmed Embroidery Cards
Each brand of machine has its own pre-programmed embroidery cards with designs on them. These vary from machine to machine, but for some brands they are as much as $100 each. The designs on these cards are very well tested so you can be sure you get good quality embroidery designs. However, they are also very expensive compared to the thousands of designs available online today, and you are limited to the collections released by the brand of machine you use.
Online Embroidery Designs.
Over the last 10 years the market has been flooded with thousands of embroidery designs available either free or for purchase which you can find online. This is great for the embroiderer as you now have access to every kind of design imaginable at very reasonable prices. From the basic filled embroidery design to freestanding lace, appliqué, redwork and even 3D home decor items and everything in between. If you are entering the popular world of machine embroidery, you will want to ensure you have the right software, hardware and embroidery machine to use designs from the Internet.
You will need the following to be able to use designs from the internet with your embroidery machine.
- An Internet Connection on your computer so you can browse online and find desings you like, either free or for purchase.
- An Email Address so you can order designs and have the order confirmation, download links etc. sent to you via email.
- An Embroidery Software Program on your computer so you can view the embroidery designs after you have downloaded them. Each brand of machine has its own software specific for the design format it uses - alternatively you can purchase a generic software like Embird that can read many different design formats.
- Hardware to Transfer Embroidery Designs from your Computer to Embroidery Machine. There are two main methods used to transfer designs from your computer to machine. The original method requires a reader/writer box and read/writable card. This can either be brand specific or generic like the Ultimate Box which can be used with different brands of machines. The latest machines eliminate the need for a reader/writer box and card and enable you to transfer designs from your computer to your embroidery machines with a floppy disk, usb thumbdrive or connection cable.
- Compatible Software and Hardware for your embroidery format and machine. Many of the reader/writer devices require a specific software to write the designs to your blank embroidery cards. Some brands of embroidery machines like Artista and some Husqvarna models require you to use their brand of software to convert designs and transfer them to your machine. This means you have to purchase their software if you want to be able to use all the designs online, and convert them yourself if they are not available in your format. We advise you look into the costs of the software and hardware needed for your machine before you purchase it, so you know if it has to be brand specific to support your embroidery format, or if you can use some of the cheaper generic options available.
Digitize Your Own Embroidery Designs
Once you are familiar with the many types of embroidery designs available out there, you may want to create your own embroidery designs. You will need digitizing software to be able to do this. Again, each brand of embroidery machine has their own digitizing software, or you can use a generic program like Embird to create your own embroidery designs. If you are not using brand specific software to create your design, you will need to convert it from the format it was digitized in, to the embroidery format you need. Embird can convert to most embroidery formats. There are digitizing tutorials available online to help you learn to digitize in a very easy step by step way.