How does EMBROIDERY work ?

The use of embroidery for decoration and branding is now commonplace in our homes, our places of work and on the high street. Widely used on clothing, accessories and textiles for interiors it has become an integral part of our visual world. When compared with print, embroidery is more three dimensional; offering high lustre and/or textured effects. It is associated with quality, adding value to a product in both the visual and tactile fields of consumer appreciation.

The computerised embroidery process can be broken down into six functional activities:

  1. Interpret artwork and digitise the design using specialised software
  2. Save the design as a stitch file that can be understood by the embroidery machine
  3. Read the stitch data file into the embroidery machine
  4. Teach the machine how to embroider the design
  5. Frame or hoop the fabric you wish to embroider on and slot into the machine arms.
  6. Start the machine stitching and run until embroidery design is complete and finished.


Pros & Cons


  • certainty / reliability
  • quick and efficient

The embroidery design is created on a computer using specialised ‘digitising’ software. Artwork is interpreted in stitches by plotting a route that the embroidery machine needle/s will take when stitching the design and applying machine functions like colour changes.

The Decorator’s Guide

Struggling to get your head around how promotional production creation works?

We know it’s complicated, so we’ve created an in-depth breakdown of all the decoration processes we use in our industry.

We’ve organised each chapter into bite size, simplified FAQ’s covering average turnaround times, insider tips on inks and techniques, and the recommended surfaces for each technique, so you can pass on your worthy knowledge to your customers.


Which product is best suited for this decoration process?

Embroidery can be used on any material that is penetrable; mostly fabrics and leathers as embroidery is created with a needle.

What products are not suited for this process? What will not work at all?

The embroidery process needs to be done through a frame, similar to how you would embroider by hand, but much bigger. If the area you would like embroidered cannot be framed, we can’t embroider it.

Anything that a needle will not go through; hard surfaces.

What is the life expectancy for your product?

This is dependent on the materials, and the digitisation of the image being embroidered in correlation with the stitches. We check all of this, to make sure we have the longest life expectancy possible.

What is the benefit of using this particular method of decoration?

Embroidery is a classical means of decoration that offers an ornate, professional and refined finish that never fades.

What is a disadvantage with using this process?

We don’t have many disadvantages. Our main concern is that we can only do bulk orders of images that have more than one colour, otherwise it is not cost effective for the company.

How long does it take you to complete a project?

This is dependent on our workload; on average 3-5 days.

On average, what is the set up and running time for each job?

This varies on the project and the expected time; by rule of thumb 3 business days. For larger images longer.

Do you charge for repeat set ups?

We only need to set up once, so no. After this we can offer alterations should the customer wish to change anything. This doesn’t take much, so we don’t like charge for this either.

Will I need to sample?

Yes! Particularly if you are look for a large number of units, it’s absolutely necessary that the client approves the product.

What is the rejection rate?

Due to the nature of the process, the rejection rates are all or nothing. Our experiences have only been with a client over-looking a small mistake before production, by which we offered a discount for the re-production. Should we make a mistake during production; we will cover everything.  

What is the best file type?

We need .emb or .dst files which often need edited to tie up any loose ends that will affect the embroidery. All writing needs to be set to the outline setting.

No-one has these files, so we accept .jpg and .png; we’ll do the rest.

Should the client inform you what you will be embroidering before sending you the product?

Yes, we need to make sure we have the right materials at hand, and to double-check we can frame it. As part of our policy, we require our customers to send us the dimensions, surface area and material beforehand.

What does digitising mean?

It’s pretty cool, really. The embroidery machine reads your image and creates a path to follow to make the pattern. It picks up changes in stitches and direction so your image can be replicated accurately.

Are special effects possible with embroidery?

Yes, with our digitising techniques shading is possible. More complex designs and effects can be made by incorporating different colours of threads.

What is the most popular promotional product for this process?

Direct embroidery: badges and heat transfers are popular at the moment.

Are PMS colours reproduced easily?

Our colour range is extensive, so we try to match as accurately possible. Unfortunately, threads don’t come in PMS colours, so if we can’t match with our stock, we’ll order in to make sure it’s perfect.

Describe a situation where a product decoration was unsuccessful.

We work with each customer to ensure their design is suited to the process of embroidery. If something is not quite right with the customers design, we will work with them to make alterations at no extra charge.

We want the best for all of our customers, and would never go ahead with production if we knew it was not going to work.


Machine embroidery is highly uniform since it is based on pre-made patterns designed using a computer programs.

For that reason, all the designs have uniformity in their stitches and all the pieces look alike.

The stitcher’s uniqueness or passion does not factor into the process. The only one exercising creativity and uniqueness is the person who designs and edits the design file.

For this lack of creativity, machine embroiderer is attractive for commercial and not artistic reasons.

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