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Designing in illustrator for snapback embroidery

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I have been rocking illustrator hard for a few months now. i have done a handfull of vector designs for t-shirts but i plan on making some kind of logo-ish design for a snapback. for people who have created designs in illustrator that have ended up as embroidery designs on a hat or snapback or similar, are there any general objectives i should be considering in terms of going about it differently than for t-shirt designs? i'm new to this, but i'm guessing there might be some different things to consider, or parameters i should follow when making a design that will end up being threaded vs. printed? any help much appreciated
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 There are actually a lot of things to consider and look out for. But the best way to design for embroidery is to actually know embroidery before you start designing. It's not really cut and dry as to what you can and can't do. There are obvious things like letter height, and super fine detail, but to give you a list of things to look out for isn't really possible. 

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I think the bigger question is are you planning on digitizing the designs by hand or are you thinking you can take the vector design and automatically generated a stitch file from it?


If the second, don't be surprised when your automatically digitized design looks like crap when it sews out...

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any links you might know of where it breaks some of these basics down, a la embroidery 101? im just looking to make a design that is comparable to a sports team hat or a streetwear design that isn't too highly detailed, but maybe a step up from something very basic.

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There are a lot of books out there on embroidery digitizing, some are good, others are a waste of money. I've used some tutorials, taken a lot of digitized designs and looked at how they were done, and mostly just a lot of trial and error.

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Take a basic circle with a border. In most cases, automatic digitizing will create a file with 2 sections - the circle and the border. They will also most likely create both sections as fill patterns with no push/pull changes and no underlay. When you stitch it out, the circle will be usually be set to stitch from bottom to top. What your result will be will be wider left to right and shorter top to bottom because of no push/pull compensation and probably look more like an egg than a circle. 

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Anyone hand digitizing would make the border a satin stitch (instead of a tatami aka fill pattern) that changes stitch direction as it goes around the circle. It will make a zig-zag around the circle instead of all stitches going just left to right. They would also add underlay to lock the circle to the underlying fabric and adjust the push/pull so you end up with a true circle instead of an egg.

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Why dont you try out this, I think this will solve your problem for sure.

Eliminate or enlarge fine text and detail. Eliminate small gradiant areas and thin outlines. Design for the typical hat design area, 2" high x 4" wide and viewed at a 3" distance. 

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  • 2 years later...

I am trying to locate some designs and was wondering if you have seen them. I want to purchase them but cannot find the digitizer. I thought may be by contacting you you may be able to help please.

Marine style quilt with embroidery designs

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