Embroidery & Digitizing FAQs

What kind of lettering works best for embroidery?

Different kinds of lettering work better than others, depending on the size of your design.

  • Block capital letters usually look good even when they're as small as 0.2 inches high (and occasionally even smaller, depending on the fabric and stitch).
  • Lowercase letters typically need to be a little larger to be clear, around 0.25 inches.
  • The “closed” portions of letters, like the loops on the letters p, b or d, need to be around 0.2 inches in order to stitch well and look good.
  • Serif fonts (like Times New Roman) and script fonts don't usually come out well at small sizes. When stitched too small, those fonts can look sloppy and illegible.
  • I will work with you to ensure your design looks as sharp, professional and clear as possible, and I'll advise if it seems that the size or font style you've chosen may not stitch out clearly.

In general, remember to consider the overall size of your design. If it's a small design, keep your text to a minimum and only include the most important text.

How big can a design on a baseball cap be?
For best results, baseball cap embroidery designs typically should be no larger than 2 inches tall and 4 inches wide. To see some examples of baseball cap designs, see the Hats category of our Work.
What type of garment should I use or order?

Different garments handle designs differently.

For example, a design that works well on the front of a sweatshirt may not work well on the sleeve of a T-shirt, or a design that looks great on the corner of a blanket may not stitch well on a baseball cap.

If you're unsure whether your design will work well on the garment you've chosen, just ask! I've worked with a multitude of design styles and garments over the years, and I'll gladly help guide you in the right direction.

Does the color of my garment matter to my embroidery design?

Yes! Here's why:

Designs may need to be digitized a little differently depending on the color of the material they're being stitched on. Different color schemes will look a little different when they're stitched out, as light-colored threads tend to be a little bit thicker and cover differently than dark-colored threads.

What material will work with my embroidery design?

Designs stitch differently on different materials. Because of that, I take the type of material into consideration when advising you on what material you might want to consider for the design you want, and even when digitizing your design.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing your material:

  • Sweatshirt knit and fleece can "bury" stitches, making letters and other lines look very narrow.
  • Pique (polo shirt material) can break up small letters and cause some distortion.
  • Jackets with linings cause distortion and shift the alignment of the design.
  • Lycra stretches, and can pull the design out of shape.

One design stitched on different materials, or at significantly different sizes, may require more than one digitizing. For example, a design I digitize for use on the left-chest of a pique knit polo shirt may have to be re-digitized to be stitched on the back of a jacket, because of the difference in material and size.

Can you replicate in embroidery a printed image with lots of color shading?
Color blending is possible with embroidery, but shading (like you’d see in paintings or photographs) can't be duplicated exactly.

If your design has lots of shading and gradients, it will likely need to be simplified for embroidery. I can work with you on how to turn your print design into a workable embroidery design.

Why can't embroidery just duplicate a screenprinting design?

Embroidery is thread, and as such, is limited to what thread can do. For example, lines thinner than a thread cannot be created. Too much detail packed into one small area probably won't stitch well. Too many colors and details on top of one another can make the design overly dense and uncomfortable to wear.

Giving you highest-quality, highly satisfactory results is my goal. You and I both want your job to come out stitched well, looking sharp and professional. To that end, I will always offer advice on how to modify your designs for the best possible finished product.

Can I bring you something to embroider?

Sure! I'm happy to work with your garment, material, and apparel. I've had customers bring everything from jackets to beach towels, handkerchiefs to backpacks, throw blankets to athletic apparel, neckties to baseball caps — you name it, I've probably stitched it!

If for any reason it looks like you may not get satisfactory results from the embroidery design you're considering on the item you’ve brought in, I will advise you accordingly. In that case, you could select material better suited for the embroidery design you've chosen (I can help you with this), or we can discuss how I might modify your design to better suit the material you've supplied.

Can I order items through you to be embroidered?

Yes. I can order a wide variety of apparel and items for your embroidery needs, in a broad range of brands, colors, and sizes. You can view my catalogs here, and feel free to ask me any questions you might have about what you find as you browse.

Whether you’re shopping for a gift, for your business, or for yourself, I'm happy to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

What is digitizing?

Suppose you have a design or logo, and you want it stitched out on a garment. How does it go from a print or digital design to becoming an embroidered design? The answer is a process known as digitizing.

Digitizing is both art and science.

It starts with scanning an image, but there is much more to it than that. While there are software programs that automate parts of the digitizing process, digitizing cannot be completely automated because of the many factors considered in creating good embroidery designs.

The process begins by taking the image from analog to digital.

This is done by scanning. Depending on its quality, we sharpen it up or enhance it. We might also resize it or crop pieces of it according to the customer's requests and plans for how the design will be used. Then we make a "map" of the image that shows the embroidery thread colors, stitch sequence, stitch types and direction, and any other information we'll need to have to create the design.

The next step is importing the design into digitizing software.

We further define the stitching areas, stitch types and length, tension and pull compensation, plan for any possible distortion from the material it will be stitched on, plot color changes and thread trims, and other stitch variables. Once that's done, we put the design on a disk that can be read by the embroidery machine.

We then run a test stitch-out.

We examine the stitched design for alignment, clarity, coverage, color matching/blending, and overall appearance. If we encounter any problems, we head back to the computer and make some adjustments, and then do another test stitch-out. We repeat this until the design stitches smoothly and looks good, and then we send the design to the client for approval.

There's a lot to consider when digitizing a design.

We consider fabric properties, garment types, thread properties, machine characteristics... this is where the past two-plus decades of experience come in handy!

A big part of quality digitizing work is the experience and expertise the digitizer brings to the work.

We always strive to use our years of experience in digitizing and stitching to ensure that your design is digitized to the highest possible quality for the best possible results.

Unanswered Questions?

Still have some questions? No problem, just contact me and I'll be happy to answer.