I am often asked about embroidery software and what I would recommend. Before I begin, let me explain that I am a software junkie, particularly embroidery software. During my career, I taught many software classes to executives and business professionals, and most recently to those who have embroidery software.
Now where do you begin when making the decision to purchase embroidery software. Answer the following questions before reading any more.
- Do you want to custom your embroidery design collection by adding lettering?
- Do you want to resize designs (make them smaller or larger)?
- Do you want to change the colors in the design?
- Do you want to remove parts of a design?
- Do you want to digitize your own designs, create designs from drawings, clip art, pictures?
- What is your budget?
Font Works is excellent software for any type of lettering and for embellishing. You can add lettering to an embroidery design from your collection, create a lettering only design, create a monogram. By hovering your mouse of the sample lettering you can see the recommended sizes for the lettering. If you want a large letter, no problem, just change the stitch type to a fill. You can change the stitch order (always do so with caution). Duplicate a design. Mirror Image, and even distort a design. You cannot change the size of a design. There is not an automatic color sort, but you can rearrange colors manually. In the sample on the right, I added the same flower four times. I did a copy and paste, the mirror imaged one, distorted another with the swirl and distorted the other with a wave effect. The flowers have 4 colors so to stitch it, I would change threads 16 times but I would stitch one flower completely before going to the next. If I did a color sort, I would only change 4 times, but my embroidery machine would jump from one flower to the other for each color. You can get some line up issues on large designs where you jump all over a large hoop. The movement on this design would e minimal so I don’t see a problem with color sorting. Some embroiders like to color sort others do not. It is a personal preference. If using a multi-needle machine, I would not color sort.
Another important feature is the name drop feature, where you can create a design for each member of a team or group by adding the names to a name drop list, then when you save the software saves on design for each name with all names lined up the same way. It is so much easier than copy past, add a name, line it up, etc. This software is good for a beginner and advanced. The embroidered lettering is awesome. The average person will need some help learning the software. The quick start guide and projects available at Designers Gallery Software will go a long way to guiding you through the software. The MSRP is $299. Rating *****
Embroidery Works Everyday and Advanced
There are two versions of Embroidery Works, Everyday and Advanced. You buy everyday and then add advanced. The chart below shows the differences between the different versions. The software is great software for a beginner and advanced embroiderer. It is a little harder to use the lettering features because you enter the letters in one box, and select the font in another o
Compare EmbroideryWorks Everyday and Advanced
|Design Editing||Achieve the perfect design – rotate, flip or merge designs|
|Sizing||Maintain flawless stitch outs of resized designs with automatic stitch recalculation|
|The Sweeps||Automatically clean up designs while removing hidden stitches on overlaps|
|Density Map||Review and adjust density before you sew|
|Project Advisor||Follow needle, hoop and stabilizer recommendations for specific projects – take out the guesswork|
|Mirror x 4||Copy designs up to four times for a unique mirror effect|
|Scatter||Randomly arrange small designs to fill areas|
|Lettering||12 built-in fonts to personalize every project|
|Lettering Placement Options||Create multi-line, circle and spiral lettering styles|
|AccuQuilt® Shapes||Over 100 builtin shapes work seamlessly with eh AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter for precise, easy applique, Stitch options can be changed for molre variety|
|12 Built-in Applique Frame||Beautiful embroidery frames to complement designs|
|File Splitting||Automatically split designs to fit selected hoop size|
|Customized Thread Palette||Choose the thread brand of your choice|
|Ghost Mode||Selections are highlighted as you edit while other parts of the design are ghosted|
|Design Converter||Convert designs to most home embroidery formats|
|Quick Start Guide||Learn to use EmbroideryWorks tools with this simple guide|
|Instant Repeat||Repeat a design in a uniform pattern by selecting number of designs across and down and the distance between each design|
|Carousel||Automatically adjust stitches based on fabric choice|
|StitchPerfect||Arrange designs in a circular, carousel path|
|Stitch Editor||Move, insert or delete stitches to fine-tune designs|
|Lettering and Monograms||44 built-in fonts to personalize each project – includes monogram styles|
|Font Importer||Import letter design files to utilize like a built-in font|
|40 Built-in Appliqué Frames||Over 40 beautiful embroidery frames to complement designs|
|Advanced Hoop Splitting||Pinpoint where design will split to fit desired hoop|
|Advanced Hoop Selection||Create hoops of various sizes for custom projects|
|Precise Position||Easily place designs in specified areas of workspace|
|Sew@Home Classes||Online classes included; Each class had a $19.99 Value||1||2|
If you are not interested in digitizing, this is a good option. The only negative is the number of fonts available in the software. Everyday comes with 12 fonts and Advanced comes with 44. You can purchase additional fonts. The fonts packs available for Monogram Works will also work in Embroidery Works. You can also purchase monograms or lettering embroidery designs and map the letters to your keyboard so that these already digitized designs work like fonts. How cool is that? So whether you buy designs from Anita Goodesign, Floriani, or one of the many online design vendors, you can easily use the letters with Embroidery Works Advanced (not Everyday).
There are some really cool features in Embroidery Works, such as spiral text, accuquilt shapes for appliques and other built in appliqué shapes. It makes it so easy to cut your fabric with your accquilt, then create the embroidery design to appliqué it on to your project.
And, the best part, if are a MAC user there is a version for the MAC. You won’t need to use windows in either Parallels or BootCamp.
The average person will need some additional help when first using the software. Sew@Home classes are available from your local baby lock dealer or online. There is also additional help available at www.designersgallerysoftware.com. The average person will need some additional help when first using the software. I give this software a 4 star rating only because of the limited number of fonts built into the software.
MSRP Everyday $499, Advanced $499. Rating *** (sew @ home classes available, online projects, but the price is a bit high)
There are numerous software packages for Embroidery Digitizing on the market. Each Embroidery Machine manufacturer has their own brand and there are some generic brands such as Floriani Total Control U (FTC/U) DIME Perfect Embroidery Professional. Baby lock offers Designers Gallery Master Works and Palette, Janome offers Digitizer MBX, Husqvarna Viking and PFAFF offer 6D Professional, Brother offers PE Design. Bernina also has Designer Plus. The cost varies as does the MSRP. In reality you can expect to pay between $1500 – 2999 depending on specials offered.
In addition to the cost of the software, is the cost of any upgrades offered by the manufacturer. Florin FTC/U and Dime software do not charge for upgrades. The others may have an upgrade fee from $399 – $1,000 +. When you consider the cost of the original software, that is HUGE.
Over the years I have used all of the software that I listed. My favorites are Masterworks, Floriani FTC/U and DIME. The programs are very similar, with some small differences in features. They are full digitizing programs. You can do everything listed above with the software except for the mapping of purchased embroidery lettering designs and spiral text.
There is an auto digitizing feature in each program and all produce similar results. Auto digitizing does not always give the desired results. The quality of the artwork play a big part in the outcome. Most of my digitizing is done using the digitizing tools not through auto digitizing.
Floriani has the most training tools available for their software. There are monthly projects, webinars, and video lessons online. Sew Vac Outlet (Humble Sewing Center) offers regular classes in both Masterworks and Floriani FTC/U.
My advice on digitizing software is to purchase one that provides the updates/upgrades at no additional fee. My go to software is Floriani FTC/U. I have been using it for over 3 years and have been very happy with the available training from Floriani and the software support.
My Rating for MasterWorks **** (you have to pay for upgrades), Floriani FTC/U ***** (No upgrade fee, extensive training available) DIME **** (No upgrade fee, but less online training)
I guess when it comes right now to it. Font Works is my recommendation for a beginner. It is not a huge investment. You will always use it even it you move up to one of the do everything digitizing programs in the future. Embroidery works is nice, but the MSRP of $998 for Advanced is high. You can get a good do everything digitizing program for less than double the price and you will have software that you never outgrow. Go to Sew Vac Outlet (Humble Sewing Center) and talk to a sales person about the software. Always ask for the best price. Take your software home, install it and start using it. You won’t learn what you don’t use.