Help: Embroidery Machine/Software

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Hi folks,

I want to choose an inexpensive embroidery machine that fills a
specific need.  I am going to design a picture and I want to digitize
it and use it to create the same embroidery over and over, a few times
a week at most, on different pieces of material (obviously).  The
design won't change much, but I do want the ability to be able to
change it, add words and things, whatever I want.  I have a full suite
of adobe products (illustrator, photoshop, etc) to work with.  What I
need is a piece of software that will take my vector drawings and help
me to create the file formats that are required to create the
embroidery.  I don't know what you call those, stitch patterns maybe,
I'm sure you all know the real name of them.  I want the software to be
flexible enough that I can change stitches myself so that I can modify
the pattern that the machine eventually gets to get rid of "clumps" and
"piles" and things of that nature, so I can tweak the pattern and not
just go with whatever the default pattern is that is created from my
drawing when it is digitized.  I know that the pattern has to be
massaged and messed with to get it right so that the machine makes a
good result.

And what machine should I get, again, inexpensive, that will create the
final product ?  I'm sure size has something to do with it, and the
maximum size I expect to make is about 8 inches by 8 inches, though 8
inches by 12 inches would be even better.  If there is a much less
expensive machine that only goes up to like 6 inches by 8 inches or
something I would consider changing my plans to get the less expensive
machine.  Oh and the design will have like 15 or 20 colors in it.  Any
suggestions ?

I see there is an embroidery machine for approximately 500$us at
Walmart, but I don't know if it is any good or not.

I'm surprised Adobe doesn't create a piece of software to do this, but
I haven't found it if they do.


Re: Embroidery Machine/Software
purple stars, if you find Adobe makes something like this, please post it
here.  The least expensive machine I've found that does most of what you
want, runs over about $2,000.  There may, however, be some great, gently
used pre-owned at dealers that would be less expensive, maybe in your price
range.  Before I bought a new machine at a big box store, I'd certainly
check out the dealers in the area.

Re: Help: Embroidery Machine/Software
purple_stars wrote:
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Why in the world would Adobe have anything to do with sewing?

Most of the embroidery programs that profess to accept a vector image
to digitize in fact don't! Instead, they use the embedded preview
bitmap. When you consider the resolution available with thread, that's
probably good enough :)  But all the digitizing programs will accept a
variety of raster image formats, which you can create with any of your
image products.

Embroidery software (not counting designs) are branded and marketed by
  embroidery machine mfrs such as Viking, Bernina, Brother, Singer,
etc., and by third party embroidery software specialists such as
BuzzTools, Embird and Amazing Designs (which also produces designs).

In a rare crossover, Corel Draw has somehow partnered with what used
to be Wings embroidery software to produce Corel DraWings. I'm not
sure whether the digitizing portion uses Corel's vector output or not.

Although some embroidery programs such as Bernina's Artista have a
cross-stich component, I don't know of any that could take the output
of a dedicated cross-stitch pattern creation application like
PC-stitch and convert it to a machine-doable embroidery.

For what you're describing, if that's ALL you'll EVER do, some sewing
machines, such as the high-end Brother/Babylock or Bernina, will let
you do a certain amount of editing right on their built-in
touch-screens. But in reality, you'll end up wanting to do more once
you get started.

You had more questions that I haven't even begun to address - such as
WHICH machine, WHICH digitizing software and stitch-editing software,
etc.  As Photoshop and Illustrator are the most complex,
top-of-the-line products as compared to, for a ridiculous example,
Microsoft Paint, so is there a range of embroidery products, varying
from the least functional that are adequate for some tasks, to the
extreme upper end.

   - Herb

Re: Help: Embroidery Machine/Software
The machines you find at walmart have 4" x 4" embroidery fields.  If
you want a larger field, say around 5x7, look at Singer Futura (sewing
and embroidery) and the Janome 300e (embroidery only)--I have the 300e
and think this is a great machine for the money (or its new upgrade the
350e)--anything with a larger embroider field is much more expensive
(although the 300e does have an optional gigahoop that allows you to
split a large design so that you can sew up to a 9"x7.9" embroidery
field)--these machines are around $1000.00 (the 300e, I hear, can be
had for a few hundred less now that the 350e has replaced it in the
Janome lineup)--check ebay, you can usually find gently used machines
at times, but if you feel you will need lessons on using the machine,
check out the sewing machine dealers in your area.  Embroidery machines
usually need to visit the shop about once a year for tune-up and
cleaning depending on how much you use the machine, so a local dealer
who can baby your machine as well as give you (usually free) lessons
can be invaluable. Machines that allow you to edit designs on the
machine are also on the pricy side.

There are some auto-digitizing programs out, but I understand that they
do not do a very good job of digitizing (the Janome Customizer, which
sometimes comes with the Janome machine, depending on dealer, has an
auto digitizing program, but if you want to digitize quality designs
you will need to buy a 'manual punch' digitizing program....and they
aren't cheap.  If you are only going to use one design over and over,
it would probably be wise to pay someone to digitize it for you as
learning how to digitize is a time intensive endeavor with a steep
learning curve--not worth the effort for one design.  Embird is an
editing/digitizing program that is inexpensive and you do not have to
buy the entire program at one time. You can add lettering and learn to
make simple changes with it. There are several groups dedicated to this
program on Yahoo and some of the members will digitize designs for
others. You can use the basic Embird program to edit designs without
having the digitizing module. I use the basic Embird program.

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