Your design will be
more stable if you use underlayment stitches. These are
stitches under a fill area that help keep the fabric from
stretching or pulling. You can add these after you have
filled in your design. You want your underlayment
stitches to be at right angle to your fill stitches.
This means that if your fill stitches run vertically, the
underlayment stitches run horizontally and vice versa.
Go to the first stitch in the fill area to
which you want to add underlayment. From the tool bar,
select the draw stitches mode. Place very long stitches
from one edge of your fill area to the other (figure a):
a shows four long stitches (5 stitch points). When you
reach the end of the fill area, return with more long stitches
(figure b). Highlight these stitches, then select a
stitch length of 2.5 to 4mm. You now have underlayment
stitches that will stabilize your design and improve coverage.
Each design requires different underlayment depending upon the
size and density of the fill stitches. A little
experimentation will tell you whether to make your
underlayment more or less dense.
Basting Stitches ~
may also wish to use basting stitches to secure the fabric to
the stabilizer. These are stitches that sew before the
design. They stitch at the edges of the embroidery
frame, so they can be removed after the design is embroidered.
They will help keep the fabric from shifting. If you are
embroidering a bulky fabric (such as a towel), hoop just the
stabilizer, then lay the fabric over the hoop, so that the
design will embroider where you want it. Sew the basting
stitches, then the design. Click on the picture to
download basting stitches for the most popular home embroidery
Selection of Artwork ~
Which Fill? ~
|Always start with
artwork that is interesting. Look for a simple drawing that
presents an interesting angle or includes something extra.
I like artwork that suggests motion or emotion, or conveys a
special feeling. Sources for artwork are clipart (be
careful of legal restrictions), coloring books, photographs
and small objects that can be placed on a flatbed scanner.
If you want to change something in the artwork, change it
before you start your embroidery design. It is much
harder to make changes while you are digitizing.
For the Pfaff software, you will need a
monochrome bitmap. Auto-trace requires a line drawing or
well-defined areas. If you donít use auto-trace, you
can use any black and white monochrome bitmap with fantastic
results. The density of the pixels (dots) in the bitmap
will tell you where to place the colors.
You can create your own line drawing from a
photograph. Scan a photo and print it full-page in grey-scale.
Using tracing paper, draw the significant lines that define
the area for each color. If you are designing an animal,
you will want to include a few lines here and there to
indicate the direction of the fur. Be sure to include
any highlights, as these add real life to a design. Go
over your pencil marks with a black marker. Scan this in
black and white for your bitmap.
the Pfaff PC Designer, there are two automatic fills.
A-fill is a satin stitch; B-fill is used for larger areas.
Other fills can be created by hand, or by pasting in built-in
stitches (try filling an area with snowflake stitch #158) or
The satin stitch A-fill is best for long,
skinny areas, such as a bold outline, for lettering, or any
narrow strip. A-fill tends to look raised and will jump
out at you visually. Always make sure you make A-fill a
bit wider than you want it to appear. The stitches will
draw up slightly to be narrower than the design shows on
B-fill works well for broad areas.
When doing a test-stitch, look out for long jump stitches that
connect halves of a large fill area. At your computer,
highlight the fill area, click on TOOLS, click on SET STITCH
LENGTH, then re-size any stitch over 4mm.
the image to download the angle wheel.
design and you will always be able to see what each angle
looks like for B-fill. I used a variegated thread to
make the angles more obvious, but any thread will do.
You can see which fill angles stand out and which look flat.
You can also select in-between angles.
To create a very flat
fill, try a spiral pattern. You will need to place the
stitches by hand, but the effect is worthwhile, and most such
areas are small.
Westie and teddy bear designs Iíve made are done in layers.
A simple B-fill is used for coverage.
A second layer of fur stitches are drawn at the computer by
hand. A lighter or darker color for the second layer
provides depth. A few stitches drawn by hand add real
character to a design.