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Splitting a machine embroidery design for future alignment

Original text by: Lisa Prass

The problem of splitting a design emerges when a beginner understands that his (her) embroidery machine does not recognize the design only because it exceeds maximum size and does not fit the largest hoop that comes with the machine. Or, it fits the giga hoop, but the machine still fails to recognize it. If you have encountered such a problem, this article is for you.


Splitting a machine embroidery design

First, I want to mention that here we'll discuss only the machine embroidery designs saved in a stitch format. The ones that you have downloaded from our site or got other sources. It is the format your machine can recognize, and if it cannot, change the format into the one your machine can recognize and then continue reading this article. Got it? Splendid! So, you have a machine embroidery design in a format that can be recognized by your machine, and this design exceeds your maximum embroidery area.

Maximum embroidery area

Beginners are often surprised by the fact that even if they have a giga hoop and design that fits, their machine still fails to recognize it. The problem is that the machine has such a parameter as maximum embroidery area, and if the size of a design exceeds it, it does not matter whether you have a giga hoop or not. The size of the maximum embroidery area is determined by the manufacturer, and the machine cannot go beyond that. Therefore, if a design is bigger than specified, you will have to split it. Giga hoops are just a tool for embroidering designs beyond the maximum embroidery area. You can find out the size of your machine's maximum embroidery area in the manual.

If all written above is clear, let's proceed...

Splitting a machine embroidery design

So, the size of your design goes beyond the specified limits, therefore, you have to split it and embroider stage by stage. This assumes that you have some embroidery software on your computer and also the experience of working in it.

How the design will be split in many ways depends from the design itself. You should approach each case individually. I don't see a decision that could satisfy them all, and describing every single one of them seems futile to me. We'll better look into them in our next articles. I may just say this: you'll encounter problems while splitting a design only in the beginning. Having split 2 or 3 designs, you'll understand the whole process much better. You also learn all the nuances.

When splitting a design and placing it in the hoop like the picture below shows us, you should bear in mind that the hoops must superimpose, otherwise there parts of the design won't match. Part of the design situated in the hoop must be a bit smaller than the hoop itself, so that in case of unsuccessful hooping you could move or turn it, to align with the previous part.


Aligning a machine embroidery design

Any case of splitting a design assumes the future alignment. A similar process goes between the two apparatuses on the satellite trajectory.

But in that case the alignment is done by a special mechanism, whereas in machine embroidery the two parts of the same design are aligned with the help of alignment stitches, of which we will tell a bit later.

There are two main ways of aligning parts of the same design:

•    Alignment in giga hoop
•    Rehooping the fabric

The difference between these two ways is only that in the first case you join two or three parts of the design with the help alignment stitches and without rehooping, whilst in the second case you align the parts of a split design with the help of alignment stitches, but still need to rehoop every time.

About the alignment stitches

There are different kinds of those. They can come in the shape of a border stitching or straight lines going across the embroidery area or special alignment crosses. Everything the embroider's imagination can produce.

But regardless of their type, the alignment stitches are used only temporarily and are deleted after the completion of a design.


The alignment stitches are added in the embroidery editor either automatically or manually by the user. How it is done depends on the software that is currently in use, its possibility to save the design for giga hoops, the alignment method and your own wishes.

The alignment stitches must be present in both parts of the design. The embroidery process goes like this:

1. Do the first part of the design.
2. Embroider the alignment stitches.
3. Rehoop your fabric or change the position of your giga hoop.
4. Join the alignment stitches.
5. After the perfect match is achieved, you do the second part of the design.
6. Repeat the process the necessary number of times.

In my opinion these are the main points on splitting a design and its future alignment when embroidering.

In conclusion I want to bring to your notice a problem, which the owners of the old machines or the beginner level machines can encounter.

Splitting a design by layers

There can be situations when the machine does not recognize the design even if it does not exceed its maximum embroidery area. This usually happens with the designs that have many colors and large stitch count. The machine simply is not able to read such an amount of information from one file. Photostitch designs are notorious for that. Nowadays, with all the contemporary machines such occurrences have become quite rare, but if you use the equipment made at the dawn of the previous century you might encounter a problem. The design is split into 2 or 3 part to be embroidered one by one. You don't rehoop the fabric. The design is embroidered without moving. For example, a design has 25 flowers which will be embroidered one after the other, in this case the 1st file will contain first 15 flowers, and the 2nd one — the remaining 10.


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