Ever wondered why your embroidery designs sometimes end up distorted or misaligned?

It’s all about push and pull compensation! When fabric stretches or tightens during embroidery, it can disfigure your designs.

But fear not! In this blog, we’ll unravel the mysteries of push and pull in embroidery digitizing. We will help you identify the underlying causes of this problem. We will also discover effective solutions to achieve flawless designs. Let’s dive in!

Understanding Push and Pull

Understanding Push and Pull

What is Push Compensation?

In embroidery digitizing, “push” refers to the tendency of the stitches to expand outward from their intended position on the fabric.

Push can ultimately lead to distortion of the design or puckering of the fabric.

In order to counteract this situation, digitizers employ techniques such as push compensation.

It involves adjusting stitch parameters to compensate for the outward force exerted by the fabric. By effectively managing push compensation, you can get professional-looking embroidery designs.

What are some common causes of Push in embroidery?

A push can occur due to various factors such as fabric type, stitch tension, and stitch direction.

Fabric Type:

Different fabrics have varying degrees of stretchiness that can affect how stitches lay on the surface. For instance, stretchy fabrics like knits tend to push stitches more than stable fabrics like woven cotton.

Direction of the Stitch:

The direction in which stitches are sewn can influence how much they push against the fabric. Horizontal stitches may push more than vertical ones on certain fabrics.

Complex Designs:

Complex designs can also cause a push in embroidery. For instance, some intricate designs have small elements that require more push compensation for clarity.

How can Push Impact Embroidery Designs?

Push can significantly impact embroidery designs in several ways. For instance, you are stitching out a complex design and it has very intricate elements in it but you didn’t leave any push compensation for them.

As you know, stitches are pushed outward on certain fabrics. If there is not enough space, the elements of the embroidery designs will merge into each other.

Which will ultimately result in distortion or misalignment of the design elements. Moreover, this is not just the case with complex designs. All designs have the tendency to expand outward because the push is mainly dependent on the fabric, not the design.

Let’s take a real-life scenario to understand this concept properly. You want to stitch out a design of a cricket ball on a stretchy fabric like lycra.

Keep in mind that the design you have on your software screen acts differently in the embroidery machine. You will have to make adjustments to your design on the screen according to the way the machine acts.

For instance, you can bring your design a little inward from the edges where it is likely to experience a push. It will allow you to get that perfect shape of a cricket ball even after a push.

Impact Embroidery Designs

What is Pull Compensation?

In embroidery, “pull” refers to the tendency of the fabric to contract or tighten around stitches during the embroidery process.

This contraction happens when the needle pulls the thread through the fabric. It causes the surrounding fabric to be drawn inward toward the stitch.

Excessive pull in any embroidery design can also lead to distortion of the design. To minimize the impact of pull-in embroidery, you will have to apply techniques such as pull compensation.

Pull compensation involves adjusting stitch parameters to counteract the pulling force of the fabric.

If you want to create precise embroidery designs that look the same on the fabric as they do on the screen. To achieve this, you need to effectively manage pull factors first.

If you want to create precise embroidery designs that look the same on the fabric as they do on the screen, you need to effectively manage pull factors first.

What are some common causes of Pull in embroidery?

Fabric type:

Just like push, pull is also dependent on the type of fabric you are using in embroidery. Stretchy fabrics are more prone to pulling during embroidery due to their inherent elasticity.

Direction of the stitch:

Pull-in embroidery is mainly influenced by the direction of the stitch. For instance, if there is a satin stitch that goes back and forth in the vertical direction, it is likely to pull the fabric from both edges.

Width of the Stitch:

The width of the stitch also plays a crucial role in pull compensation. The wider the stitch the more it will pull the fabric. Therefore, for wider stitches, you require more pull compensation.

Stitch Density:

High stitch density can increase the likelihood of pull by placing greater strain on the fabric.

Thread Tension:

The tension on the thread can also contribute to pull compensation issues. For instance, how the top thread and the bobbin thread interact with the fabric. This can vary from machine to machine. Some embroidery machines have higher thread tension than others.

How can Pull Impact Embroidery Designs?

A pull in embroidery can affect the appearance, quality, and durability of embroidered designs. For instance, you are embroidering a line of text on a stretchy jersey fabric.

As the fabric pulls during stitching, the text may result in an uneven or crooked appearance. It can also affect the readability of the text.

Moreover, Excessive pull in embroidery can also lead to fabric tearing or thread breakage. This risk is particularly high when embroidering on fabrics that have little to no stretch or stability, such as chiffon, organza, or very lightweight cotton.

These fabrics are more susceptible to damage from the pulling force exerted by the embroidery machine’s needle and thread.

Pull Impact Embroidery Designs

Techniques for Managing Push and Pull Compensation Factors

Balancing Stitch Density

Higher stitch density can lead to both push and pull effects. Therefore, adjust stitch density at an appropriate percentage, it shouldn’t be too dense or too thin. Moreover, you should also check if your stitch density is suitable for the type of fabric you are using.

Utilizing Proper Stabilization

Use appropriate stabilizers and hooping techniques to minimize fabric movement and distortion. If the fabric is properly stabilized it will ultimately minimize the push and pull effect.

Optimizing Underlay Stitches

Effective use of underlay stitches provides stability and support to the top stitches. Which in return, minimizes both push and pull effects

Choosing the right type of Needle and Thread

Selecting the correct type or size of needle and thread for the fabric is essential for managing both push and pull. Not all needles and threads work for every type of fabric.

Therefore, choose the ones that are specially designed to cater to the type of fabric you are using. If you don’t know much about embroidery needles, check out our blog: Machine Embroidery Needles – Everything You Should Know!

Digitizing Adjustments

Making adjustments in the digitized design to account for both push and pull factors is important. Therefore, adjust stitch parameters, such as stitch length, density, and direction of your design to optimize it for the embroidery machine processing.


In conclusion, managing push and pull in embroidery digitizing is key to achieving impeccable designs. At Absolute Digitizing, our expert services ensure precise adjustments to counter these challenges, delivering flawless results every time.

Transform your embroidery with Absolute Digitizing! Contact us today!