If you’re an embroidery enthusiast, you know that there’s nothing quite like the feeling of stitching a beautiful design by hand. But what do you do when you want to use one of your designs on a different project? You could try to recreate the design by hand, but that can be tricky – and it’s not an option if the design is too complex. In this case, you have to learn how to digitize embroidery designs.

Thankfully, there are different ways to digitize embroidery designs so that you can use them on all sorts of projects! In this post, we’ll look at digitizing embroidery designs using three different methods: tracing, Scanning, and software, so whether you’re just getting started with digitizing or looking for a new approach.

Embroidery Digitizing & Some of Its Benefits

Embroidery digitizing is converting a hand-stitched embroidery design into a digital file that can be read and printed by computerized machines. This allows embroidery enthusiasts to use their techniques on various projects, including clothing, accessories, and home décor.

There are some benefits of digitizing embroidery designs, that include:

  • Increased flexibility: With a digital file, you can make as many copies of the design as possible and use it on different projects.
  • Better quality: Computerized machines can produce cleaner and more precise stitches than hand-stitching, resulting in higher quality embroidery designs.
  • Greater precision: Digitizing allows you to customize your design precisely and tailor it to your needs and preferences. This can include adjusting colors, adding or removing elements, and more.
  • Increased convenience: Digitizing makes it easy to quickly and easily create new embroidery designs without starting from scratch each time.
  • Increased speed: You can easily and quickly create high-quality results with digitized designs. This allows you to save time and get your projects done faster.

How to Digitize Embroidery Designs (Methods)

You can use various methods to digitize embroidery designs, including tracing, scanning, and using specialized software.

Digitizing via Tracing

One of the most popular methods for digitizing embroidery designs is tracing. Tracing involves carefully creating a digital copy of your design by hand, using pencils or other tools to recreate each element. This method can be effective if you are familiar with hand-stitching and want complete control over your design. However, it can also be time-consuming and may not produce the same level of quality as other methods.

Here are the steps for digitizing an embroidery design using tracing:

  • Choose your design: First, you’ll need to select the design you want to digitize. You can either draw your design or find a ready-made design online or in a book if you’re starting from scratch.
  • Prepare your workspace: Once you’ve selected your design, you’ll need to find a surface that is flat to work on and a lightbox or tracing paper. If you don’t have a lightbox, you can use a regular lamp or another light source to illuminate your design.
  • Trace the design: Using pencils, pens, or other tools, carefully trace over each element of your design on the tracing paper. You may need to make adjustments and corrections as you work, so be sure to take your time and pay close attention to every detail.
  • Scan or photograph your design: Once you’ve finished tracing your design, you’ll need to scan or photograph it so you can create a digital file. If you’re scanning the design, use a high-quality scanner so that the final image is clear and sharp.
  • Edit the design: Once you have a digital copy of your design, you can use editing software( Photoshop, GIMP) to make any final adjustments or corrections. This may include adjusting colors, adding additional elements, or removing redundant parts of the design.
  • Save and use your design: Finally, save your digitized embroidery design so that you can easily use it on a variety of different projects. You can save it as a file on your computer or upload it to an online embroidery design library.

Digitizing Via Scanning

There are two types of scanners- flatbed and hand-held scanners that can be used for digitizing embroidery designs. The flatbed scanners are well-suited for scanning embroidery designs. You can place the design on the scanner’s bed and scan it at high resolution so that there is no loss in quality during digitization.

The second type the scanner is known as a hand-held scanner. You can scan the embroidery design while it is still on the fabric. This type of scanner could be beneficial for scanning large designs.

Steps to digitize the embroidery designs using the Scanning method:

  • Choose a suitable scanner depending on the size of your design and the quality you need.
  • Place your embroidery designs on the scanner’s bed or hold it steady while using a hand-held scanner. Ensure that complete details are captured clearly during Scanning.
  • Adjust the resolution settings according to your requirement and scan the design.
  • Save the scanned image in a suitable file format. Recommended formats are JPEG or PNG. These formats are widely accepted and can be easily opened in most photo editing software.
  • Edit the scanned image if required and save it in the desired format for embroidery digitization.

Digitizing Designs Using Software

There are various software programs available that can help you easily and quickly digitize embroidery design. These programs allow you to import images or sketches and convert them into stitch files that your machine can read.

Some of the top software to digitize embroidery designs:

Adobe Photoshop: This is a well-known and widely used image editing software. It has all the tools needed to digitize embroidery designs, including various filters and effects that can be used to improve or transform your design.

Embroidermodder 2: This open-source tool is specifically designed for digitizing embroidery designs. It supports various file formats, including SVG and DST, and allows you to manipulate your design’s size and placement easily.

Hobbyware Pattern Maker: This versatile program is for making patterns for cross stitches. It has a wide range of features to assist you in creating high-resolution embroidery designs.

Wilcom TrueSizer: This free software program is specifically designed for resizing and converting embroidery designs. It supports multiple file formats and can be used to convert between them.

Some popular software programs for digitizing embroidery designs include Adobe Photoshop, Embroidermodder 2, Hobbyware Pattern Maker, and Wilcom TrueSizer. You can choose the best software for you based on your needs and preferences.

Yes, you can use a regular scanner to digitize your embroidery designs. However, keep adjusting the resolution settings to get high-quality results.

No, you don't necessarily need to digitize your embroidery designs. However, it can be helpful if you want to resize or edit your design. Additionally, some embroidery machines require embroidery designs to be digitized.


There are various methods that you can use to digitize your embroidery designs. The best way for you will depend on the size and complexity of your design and the quality you need. Scanning or photographing the design and editing it in a photo editor may be sufficient for simple techniques. You may need to use specialized software programs or professional digitizing services for more complex designs. Whatever method you choose, be sure to take care when digitizing your embroidery designs to end up with high-quality stitch files that your machine can easily read.