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What do I need to keep in mind when using stock designs for embroidery projects?

Answer

If you use stock designs, you will eventually find yourself editing them. In my experience, the first and most persistent problem is the need for re-sizing.

If you simply scale a design, you’ll find that shrinking increases density as the spaces between stitches disappear while stitches remain in place, or that densities decrease with upscaling, leaving incomplete coverage. If you have capable digitizing software, it likely has the ability to process expanded files and recalculate densities when resizing. Though this means you have at least some chance of resizing and maintaining the design’s original densities, not even the best software can perfectly create a condensed file from the expanded stitch data. You always need to do some amount of editing.

The first, best thing you can do is to minimize the amount of scaling. On most designs, 15 percent will be a good target to minimize editing. If you can’t maintain that limit, the next best step is to direct your client to a design that will scale more easily when processed.

Avoid shrinking designs with existing tightly-packed straight stitch details and shading, or straight-stitch borders with short stitch lengths, as well as any designs with closely spaced elements separated by fine gaps.

When upscaling, avoid designs with sparse straight stitch detail work; they will look even less detailed when scaled. Simple filled and satin-stitch designs without straight stitch accents are the most likely to process and scale with the least amount of editing, though their compensation will be off.

Black Duck Inc.