Embroidery Software? You know you need it, but what do you want or need?

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.

  1. Do you want to custom your embroidery design collection by adding lettering?
  2. Do you want to resize designs (make them smaller or larger)?
  3. Do you want to change the colors in the design?
  4. Do you want to remove parts of a design?
  5. Do you want to digitize your own designs, create designs from drawings, clip art, pictures?
  6. What is your budget?

Font Works

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 largsurfs_upe letter, no problem, just change the stitch type to a fill.  You can change the stitch flowersorder (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

FEATURES BENEFITS Everyday  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)

Digitizing Software

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.

Happy Embroidering!


This entry was posted in Embroidery Softare and tagged on by .

About Designs by Marje

Marje is an avid sewing and machine embroidery enthusiast. She started sewing as a teenager and has continued sewing through the years. About 15 years ago she purchased her first embroidery machine and software. She was hooked! Marje previously worked in the information technology field for 35 years which has given her a solid background in computer technology and software. She has been teaching sewing machine guide classes and embroidery software classes for more than 12 years. Her resume includes teaching at a number of local sewing machine shops and at the Husqvarna Viking Annual Dealer Convention where she taught classes on Embroidery software to dealers and their associates. By attending her sewing, machine embroidery and embroidery software classes you will expand your knowledge in sewing, embroidery, software, and computer technology.

38 thoughts on “Embroidery Software? You know you need it, but what do you want or need?

  1. AnnaBennings

    Hello, I have 3 machines: Brother PE-8500, old Artista 180 and Deco 340. Have been using Amazing box for years. Got a new Win 8 computer and the box doesn’t work anymore. Contacted Amazing box manufacturer and they ‘ve recommended Ultimate box from Vikant http://vikant-emb.com/ . I will appreciate your advice.

    1. Marje

      From what I have read, the Ultimate box appears to work the same way as the amazing box. It does work with the latest version of windows and Mac. I have not used it, but it should solve your problem. I am sure that the Amazing Box is no longer being made, because the newer embroidery machines read USB flash drives instead of programmable cards. It is good to know that there is someone still supporting those older but great embroidery machines.

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  3. kileigh

    what is the best cheapest software to beable to create my own designs mostly for applique but also embroidery I have adobe photoshop and illustratore and majored in graphic desng but do not have more then $500 to spend on software and would like to beable to create my own applique designs to sell

  4. Wanda Barefoot

    Can I ask for some advice on the FTC-U? I’m new at using the program. I was using PE-Design Next but the Auto Digitizing Wizard in FTC-U drew me in. I’m not sure of the density for the stitches. In PE-D I read 145 was a great setting and it worked very well for me but FTC-U uses mm and I am so confused! Can you please help me? What’s the best density setting? Thanks a bunch!


    1. Marje

      Wanda, In FTCU, the typical density for a fill stitch or a satin is .50 mm. To decrease the density, use a higher number. To lower the density use a smaller number. I hope that helps. If not let me know and I can provide more information.

  5. Betsy Ross Krieg

    I sold my old Bernina Artista 730 (it was a dog), and own Bernina Designer Plus v7 software. I bought 3 new Babylock embroidery machines. I find Designer Plus to be less “friendly” to my Babylocks and am wondering if I should sell my relatively new Designer Plus and buy a different software. Floriani seems to have the best training and support. But I understand Babylock is coming out with new software called Creator. Any comments would be appreciated!

    1. sewvacoutletblog

      I am so sorry for the late reply, Betsy. If you want to create designs for your Babylock Embroidery machines, I suggest Floriani FTCU. It has the best training available with many online classes and additional resources such as the Workshops created by Trevor Conquergood. Floriani also offers FREE upgrades. That alone is a hugh savings. Bernina charges for their embroidery software upgrades and they just released version 8. Not sure what the cost of that will be. Baby lock Designers Gallery offers creator, but it is a very very basic. You would be much better off selling your Bernina software and getting Floriani. Sew Vac Outlet (Humble Sewing Center) is hosting a Floriani event soon. If you can attend you can see the software for yourself. If you cannot attend then, talk to someone at the store. They can give you a demo.

      Have fun with your Babylock embroidery machines.

  6. janice wood

    Is it advisable to use a bottom of the line embroidery machine with a top-notch brand like floriani.I have a pfaff creative 1.5. I want to do my own designs and have the ability to embroider digitized photos.

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  9. Kim

    I use FTC/U to digitize and resize the digitized artwork to have it embroider on my Brother PE-770 embroidery machine. However, I am having issues where the finished result on the fabric will have a gap between the white circle and the black outline of the circle even though program will show the stitches overlap each other. I’m not sure how to remedy this issue. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I’ve never had this problem with my mother’s singer futura CE-250.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this :)!

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  11. Jan lawson

    Hi I’m looking for a good software that will do photos more realistic than the pe design 10.

    1. Ben

      Floriani Total Control U has a similar function but I have not seen the results first hand. Try an internet search for pictures or a video of this software.

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