Some people are born artists. On the other hand, traditional needlework has been infused in our society since times immemorial, no matter in which part of the world we live. There are a number of people who like art over embroidery, while there are people who prefer the needle-work over any form of art. There is another group of artists, who fiddle with the thoughts of converting their artwork into embroidery almost every day. While they have all the enthusiasm to do the same, they often lack the technique to do it.

Think of it this way – you have an amazing art or a picture of a person painted on a piece of paper and now you want to embroider it on a piece of cloth. You have the zeal to do it, but lack the proper technique of getting the art transferred from paper to fabric. This article examines the tips and techniques that you can use to make this happen – actually!

What is embroidery digitizing?

Embroidery digitization is one of the great ways to convert an artwork into an embroidered pattern. But only a few people know in details about this technique. Have you ever seen a T-shirt or a shirt with a company logo or some symbol embroidered on it? The design on such merchandise is a result of the technique called embroidery digitization.

Using embroidery digitization, an artwork file is converted into a digital format that can only be decoded with the help of a machine. The design programmed is such that it converts into different kind of stitches.

The technique is not as simple as it may sound. It takes years of efforts and practice to master the technique of custom embroidery digitization. However, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you get started with the technique.

Artwork and vector

(a) Outline

The first step is to create an artwork for the initial embroidery, and you don’t have to be a true artist to do that. There are a number of techniques that can be used to produce the initial artwork.

For example, tracing is one such technique. Tracing does not necessarily mean that you are cheating. In fact, you can simply use a tracing paper to trace the outlines. In addition, it focuses on getting the image look effective. It is however, not necessary to include hundreds of lines to make it look exact; it may, in fact, look overdone.

Remember that you will have to convert these pencil lines to thread work. Therefore, take care of the distance between the lines while doing the initial artwork.

The best technique to produce the initial artwork is to make use of technology. There are tons of computer software available that can give your image a simple outline.


(b) Transferring the image to the fabric

The next step is to transfer the initial artwork to a fabric. While a number of you might want to practice your tried and tested techniques, there are a number of other ways that you can make use of.

For example, using a light box is one of the most common ways to do that. Stick the artwork on a transparent object such as window and then trace it directly in the piece of fabric. You can even use your computer screen to trace the image.

Another simple way is to use a carbon paper for tracing, or you can opt to use a water soluble stabilizer to transfer the initial artwork onto darker fabrics.

Image into fabric

(c) Stitching and Types

Before starting with the final stitching, think of all these elements – what type of stitch would work the best? What colors would you like to use? Would it match with the background?

Stitching can be a little tricky. However, if you are sure about the color palette you wish to use, things can get easily done. You can even consider building up the tones of colors beforehand. But make sure to start from lighter to darker tone and mark the area you wish to work on first. And, always stitch one tone at a time.

Considering the stitch area and direction beforehand also helps. For example, you might want to consider the direction of the stitch if you are going to embroider a furry animal on a piece of fabric.

There are different types of stitches like running, hemming, slip, overcast, invisible, cast or basting stitch which you might want to use, while making the embroidery.

stitching and types

(d) Finally Your Artwork

In case you are using a heavy fabric or designing something elaborate, chances are that the fabric may shift and as a result, there is a pull in the embroidery. Make sure that you take into account all these possibilities while embroidering your design.

However, do not pull yourself too much to make the design look exactly like the original artwork. The important thing is to give it a new lease of life, which can only be given when you have done something differently.

Your Artwork


Embroidery is a form of art, so why not give it a hand if you are an artist? Even people with no art background and take up the needles and start embroidering their favorite designs comfortably. And if you are a true artist, do not attempt to copy the exact design you have seen somewhere. Try to bring in innovation and enjoy the fun.