Believe it or not, most of our designs start with good ol’ pencil and paper. Our skilled illustrators sketch out each design idea, infusing different elements to capture a style—be it realistic or artistic. Here’s Laure working on Alluring Leaves. If you look carefully, in the background you can see her colored pencils are inserted into the tops of the Madeira thread spools to make sure she’s using the exact color she wants.
Digitizing, as it relates to machine embroidery, is the process of translating illustrations into digital embroidery files. This involves a talented group of individuals who account for color, contrast, shape, and design arrangement, plus stitch direction, density, and length. Understanding digitizing is super important for consumers as it helps them differentiate between quality and not-so-quality designs.
Next, the illustrations (with thread charts) are sent to a team of expert embroidery digitizing. That’s where the drawings are interpreted into embroidery designs. Things like stitch direction, density, and length are determined. Another key element is making sure the designs run smoothly on the embroidery machine with minimum thread breaks. Don’t be fooled—digitizing is an art. Each tiny area of the design is plotted for just the right effect to catch and reflect light. Our digitizers also experiment with how thread colors interact for optimum shading. All of these components work together to create a stitched design that has depth, dimension, and life. Below you can see an actual screen shot of what digitizers see during this process. They use their computer to draw lines on top of the original illustration. Each line stands for a stitch. The closer together the lines are, the more dense the stitches will be. Once completed, they have a computerized 3-D representation of how the stitched-out design will look, as shown in the second photo.
After that’s done, the digitizers send the stitch-outs back to us here at Nancy’s Notions. They enter a thorough quality assurance process to be honed to perfection. First our embroidery experts look at the fabric sample and check—by hand—for knots and density issues