Stitching Guidelines for Digitizing

When digitizing any file, keep these basics in mind


When digitizing any file, keep these few basics in mind:

  • The minimum safe size for a column stitch is 1.0mm. As you gain experience, you will be able to reduce the minimum to about .8mm and still end up with a satisfactory column.
  • The maximum safe size for a column stitch is 8.0mm to 10.0mm.
  • Anything less than .6mm (.25″) is considered small lettering.
  • Create a design with the fewest trims/color changes to maximize machine efficiency.
  • Start with larger areas and work toward smaller areas.
  • On difficult fabrics, it may be necessary to break up a design into a series of sections to ensure proper registration.
  • For hats, work from the center out and, when possible, from the bottom up.


There are four main stitch types in embroidery: Manual, run, satin/column/steil, and fill.

Manual stitching is very random, and stitches are only placed where you click to enter points.

A run stitch is a series of stitches traveling in a linear form.

A satin stitch is column stitching. It is generally used for small shapes, borders, regular size lettering, etc.

A fill stitch is a series of run stitches formed together to fill a larger shape. Fills can be solid areas or have sections voided out.

Learn how to create a custom embroidery fill here.

Allee Bruce

Alexandria Bruce

Alexandria Bruce is the former managing editor of GRAPHICS PRO magazine.

View all articles by Alexandria Bruce  

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