Category Archives: Embroidery Softare

The Best Embroidery Software Workshop…. FTC-U Workshop with Trevor Conquergood.

For those of you who know me, I am a software junkie. After a career in technology, I retired to be a stay at home grandma, providing day care for my grandchildren. During that time, I purchased my first embroidery machine and embroidery software. In a couple of years, I started teaching others how to use embroidery software at a few sewing machine dealers. Over the years, I used Brother PE Design, Babylock Palette, Husqvarna Viking Embroidery Professional, Autodigitzing, Artistic Sewing Suite, Janome Digitizer, Bernina Designer Plus, Designers Gallery Masterworks, and Floriani Total Control-U. So now, you know why I consider myself a software junkie.

I’ve read many books on digitizing, taken many classes, and watched many tutorials. Recently, I bought the FTC-U Workshop with Trevor Conquergood. I wanted to see what Trevor offered in his workshops. The initial video training in on DVD. In those videos, Trevor explains the basics of FTC-U. He explains every tool, and when, why, and how to use the tool. He provides short cuts tips during the videos. Once, you have the basics, sign up for the 12 month workshop program. Trevor will send you the link to download each of the monthly workshops from the webinars. Each and every video is worth watching over and over until you are comfortable.

In this month’s webinar, Trevor spent time answering questions sent to him at the beginning of the webinar. He took the time to explain his answers. But, please be prepared to spend extra time on the webinar. This month the webinar was two hours long. It was worth every minute. I am impressed with Trevor’s teaching style and his willingness to help. He truly wants everyone who takes the workshop to learn how to use the software. The workshop is not just for those who want to digitize. It is for those who want to learn how to get the most out of their software.

I am impressed with the FTC-U Workshop and strongly suggest that anyone who owns FTC-U purchase the Workshop. Then, dedicate some time to really learn how to use the software. Of all, the software that I own, my go to software is FTC-U.

Stay tuned to the blog if you are an FTC-U user, I will be posting some tips and techniques in the future.

In the meantime, Happy Embroidering!


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  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!


Digitizing w/Aggie Jan. 10, 2015

“Santa in a Car” 

Masterworks or Floriani FTC/U

SANTA IN CAR STITCH-OUTWhen: Saturday – January 10, 2015 – 10 pm – 1pm 

Where: Humble Sewing Center/SewVac Outlet 

Class Project: Santa in a Car (Beginner & Advanced)

Cost: $30 pre-paid at SewVac  (in store, online via PayPal, credit card via phone)

Before Class: Get latest software update, run anti-virus, bring your computer mouse! 

Santa will be on vacation in Hawaii for this class, but he is a great subject to digitize because of the techniques that you learn. This “Santa in Car” design measures 7.5” x 8.5” high.  Santa’s suit, cap and car are appliqued, his hair is wave filled and his beard and mustache are embroidered with the “Satin Path” to provide a silky, curly look.

It utilizes the following stitch types:

  • Running Stitch
  • Satin (Steil) Stitch
  • Standard Fill
  • Wave Fill
  • Column (Satin) Path
  • Jagged Column (Satin) Path

Because of the stitch types used in this design, its clipart is excellent for learning how to digitize.  However, depending on a minimum familiarity with your software, this entire design cannot be taught or digitized within a 3-hour class period, but it can be managed by separating into the following suggested parts:

  1. Face, Beard and Mustache
  2. Hair, Facial Features, Cap and Holy Wreath
  3. Body and Car

You will learn how to:

  • Digitize for Applique
  • Choose and use stitches that give the appearance of texture – such as the look of fur
  • Apply stitches that curve with the artwork
  • Determine the correct pathway through the design – the order in which parts should be stitched

You will learn how to perform the basics for digitizing the design and get you setup for completing parts on your own away from class.  In the first class you will learn how to prepare your artwork before beginning to digitize and will be given a “pathway” plan to follow that will minimize time required to stitch-out because of fewer thread cuts and thread jumps.


Floriani Total Control/U Digitizing Class (Feb 7, 2015)

 “Fun with Fling” 

FTCU_Scatter1 FTCU_Scatter2 When: Saturday – February 7, 2015 – 10 am – 1pm

Where: Humble Sewing Center/SewVac Outlet

Class Project: Create an In-the-Hoop Design for Baby Bib or Blanket (Suitable for Beginner +)

Teacher: Ann Schmidt

Cost: $30 pre-paid at SewVac

  1. In this class you will create a design suitable for a baby’s bib or blanket. We will:
  2. Use text and skew the letters for a cute look (I’ve used two text styles new with the latest Floriani update);
  3. Add two buttonholes (What for? Come and find out);
  4.  Select an outline design provided by the software, resize and add stitches.
  5. Copy, paste, create multiple images and sizes all with the push of one button. Which is why we use a hoop while digitizing so that we can ‘corral’ them. Then we’ll place them where we want them, resize as desired, change colors. This is a hoot! (Not to mention a nice repetitive process for newbies to learn from.)
  6. Finally, we’ll discuss stabilizers to use to achieve a nice sew out.

Click here to Register.

Masterworks Digitizing Class (Feb. 7, 2015)

  “Carousel & Scatter” 

MasscatterterWorks II will achieve same results using different tools.

When: Saturday – February 7, 2015 – 2 pm – 5pm

Where: Humble Sewing Center/SewVac Outlet

Class Project: Create an In-the-Hoop Design for Baby Bib or Blanket (Suitable for Beginner +)

Teacher: Ann Schmidt

Cost: $30 pre-paid at SewVac

In this class you will create a design suitable for a baby’s bib or blanket. We will:

  1. Use text and skew the letters for a cute look;
  2.  Add two buttonholes with a border design (What for? Come and find out);
  3. Select an outline design provided by the software, resize and add stitches.
  4. Circle and scatter the bottles – one button for each choice. ( In MW II the process is different, but achievable. This is a nice repetitive process for newbies to learn from.
  5. Discuss stabilizers to use to achieve a nice stitch out.

Click here to register for this class.

My Grandchildren – Embroidered Turtleneck

There are only 10 days until Christmas! Christmas is my favorite time of the year.Shirt It is a time of such joy in my family. Family get togethers, watching the children experience the fun of Christmas. And, this year, I have a new grandson which was the inspiration of for the shirt.

Masterworks III has a great text tool. I used 10 fonts and 11 colors for the lettering. Then, I used the heart in custom shapes to add the small hearts in the design.

I embroidered the design on my Janome 9900 so I my only limitation was the size of the hoop 6.7″ x 7.9″. It is the perfect size of the front of a turtleneck shirt.

The following are the fonts and the sizes that I used:

  • MWIII DesignNatee – Font: Compact; Height: 22 mm (rotated)
  • NICK – Font: Crafty; Height: 18 mm (vertical)
  • Becca – Font: Bookworm; Height 24 mm (rotated)
  • Teagan – Font: Lizzie, Height 16 mm
  • AMANDA – Font: Capital Key Block; Size 18 mm (vertical)
  • MACY – Font: Crafty; Size 20 mm
  • shannon – Font: Mansfield; Size 25 mm (rotated)
  • JEREMY – Font: HobbyHorse; Size 16 mm
  • Kaitlyne – Font: LittleLordFonteroy; Size 22 mm
  • DREW – Font: Ribbon; Size 24 mm (vertical)
  • My Gandchildren – Font: HobbyHorse; Size 15 mm

DesignI varied lettering, adding some all uppercase and all lower case in addition to the traditional first letter upper, remaining lower.

You can create text embroidery designs from many embroidery software programs, such as Designers Gallery Embroidery Works, Floiani FTC/U, Viking 5d Embroidery, 6D Embroidery, Palette, PE Design, and many more.

Holiday shirtDon’t just use this idea for the names of your children or grandchildren. I also create a holiday shirt for the holidays.

I added one of the Christmas embroidery designs from my collection to the text.

Are you inspired? If so, open that embroidery software see what you can create!