Precise Designs Positioning Using Paper Templates
Since precise positioning is often used when you want to embroider design on ready item, we feel there's a need in a few precautions.
Before applying techniques described below on ready garment, take a piece of identical type and weight fabric and do a test stitch
of your design with exactly the same materials you're going to use for your final project.
This will help you determine whether your choice of stabilizer and other materials was correct. Test until you find materials that
look and work great together.
We even suggest that you use the same thread colors, to make sure cones include suitable thread.
Because sometimes one color embroiders beautifully, while other is a disaster. This happens with most expensive thread brands, nobody is insured.
When doing this testing, you're insuring that your final project will be a success. If forgetting to test, especially when
using some kind of new supplies, chances are that you will be heavily disappointed. And it's sad to see a ruined project.
Wash the fabric you're going to embroider on to pre-shrink it. If you forget to do this, it can shrink later together with the design.
Then it will pucker and look terrible.
Also, take a new 12/80 needle every 8 hours of embroidering. It must be sharp and NOT "hooked". Otherwise your thread may start
looping. Just because of bad needle your machine can start missing stitches.
Main Steps Summary:
Select the smallest available hoop that matches each design.
- Open your embroidery software. Using this software open each design you want to stitch (one after another).
- Print out design templates for each of them.
- Cut out design template(s) you've just printed.
- Position your template(s) on the exact place(s) where you want the designs to be embroidered.
- Mark the fabric with disappearing ink pen on all 4 sides of each template, exactly in the middle (4 ink dots per template).
- Pin one template to fabric according to your marks, and hoop the fabric, making sure the paper template exactly resembles your hoop's embroidery area.
- Remove the paper template, and embroider corresponding design.
- Take out the hoop and unhoop the fabric.
- Repeat steps 7, 8 and 9 with each remaining design, until all of them are embroidered.
This positioning technique is quite easy. You only need to have some kind of machine embroidery editing software installed on your PC.
It works if you want to embroider one design in correct place or many designs that don't even fit in one hooping and must be embroidered with high precision.
We will show you the basic steps using Embird. Of course you can do the same using almost any embroidery program. Just in case you don't have such
software yet - get yourself a 30 days fully functional DEMO of Embird now.
Here's a link to download it (just make sure your format is
After selecting the design(s) you're going to use and the surface to embroider them on - do the following:
1. Select the smallest available hoop that matches each of your designs.
Avoid using large hoop if you can use a smaller one. Smaller hoops tend to hold fabric better. Also there's less space for fabric stretching during
embroidering process. Small hoops automatically reduce such side effects like moved outlines, details not lining up, and fabric puckering.
2. Open your embroidery software. Using this software, open each design you want to stitch (one after another),
and repeat the following steps with each of them:
Make sure the design is displayed exactly on same hoop size like the physical hoop you have selected in last step.
Center the design in virtual hoop of your PC screen. Then save it to media type that your machine can read (DON'T close the design yet).
Navigate to the design you want to use via the right panel. Double click on file name to view the design. Click "Editor" on top menu.
When editing mode is on, click "Options" --> "Hoop Size" and select the hoop (sewing field) you need.
To center design in hoop, click "Edit" --> "Center" --> "Both Axes". Click "File" --> "Save As"
to save the stitch file the way it's current positioned in hoop.
Click here to see Embird Screenshots of these steps >
Then, copy the stitch file to media that your machine can read (memory card / floppy / machine hard drive...).
3. Print out design templates (natural size image of all designs you're going to embroider,
on sewing field size that you have just selected).
When printed out, this template should look like a grid, with your design drawn on that grid.
If you've selected 4x4-inch sewing field - the grid should be exactly 4x4 inches. If 5x7-inch field - 5x7 inches, etc.
4. Cut out design template(s) you've just printed.
5. Position your template(s) on the exact place(s) where you want designs to be embroidered.
If designs should be very close to each other (like in our example), and paper templates are disturbing you to see the spot
where they should meet - fold templates that belong to designs you plan to stitch last. In our example we want to do the
middle part first and the sides later. Here is how this step looks in our case:
click here to enlarge
Be careful to position the templates EXACTLY in place where you want the design to be. If it's a ready garment - you may even want to wear it on the owner
of it and then decide on correct place for the design. Because "the right" position might be different for each person due to his/her unique body shape.
6. Mark the fabric with disappearing ink pen exactly on each template's middle (those lines are usually printed in bold), on each side.
A total of 4 ink dots per paper template.
7. Pin one template to fabric according to your marks, and hoop the fabric, making sure the template exactly resembles your hoop's
embroidery area (if the marks on your fabric meet similar center marks drawn on your hoop, everything is ok). In case your project requires hoopless
embroidery - just stick the fabric to hooped backing and then use the same rules.
Here is this step on our photos:
click here to enlarge
8. Remove the paper template, and embroider corresponding design.
click here to enlarge
click here to enlarge
9. Take out the hoop and unhoop the fabric.
10. Repeat steps 7, 8 and 9 with each remaining design, until all of them are embroidered.
Cut out small "windows" on paper templates, in places where you must see whether the new designs "meet" correctly with
the embroidered ones. And of course, unfold the templates. See project photos, to understand what we mean:
Pinning left side template
Pinning left side template - CLOZEUP:
Hooping fabric to stitch the left design part:
Inserting the hoop into machine.
You can see that the needle is exactly in the middle of paper template:
After this step, left paper template was removed and left design embroidered. Then identical process was repeated with the right side design and here you
can view the final result - one HUGE design, embroidered exactly as planned, on neat table runner: