Embroidery Files 101

Prior to purchasing an embroidery machine for the first time I had little knowledge as to how it worked including the file capability side. All I kept reading is that it was a learning curve which is why I have been and will continue to update you all as I learn more about the machine embroidery world. Hopefully you are learning from my mistakes or basking in the humorous side of all my mistakes and frustrations, either way here we go again. Primarily the most important thing to know about files is that unless you have what I refer to as a magical machine it will not turn a drawing into an embroidery file instantaneously. Yes, just like narwals it seems like a myth but they actually do exist for only thousands of dollars but who really has a budget these days for crafting (yes, that was sarcasm). Now that our expectations are back on track let’s talk about what we can do without killing our wallet on a fancy smancy machine. Yes, it is the goal but not ideal for the average crafter to start with. 

Since we are steam rolling dreams let’s talk about copyrights. They suck, but unless you are only embroidering for personal use they are important to discuss. Want to appliqué with some store bought Disney fabric and sell it? Well, you can’t. Technically you can but is copyright infringement and could end up with platforms closing your shop or taking down your listing. I don’t think it is worth the hassle but yes I do agree that it is stupid that it is not allowed to create something for profit from licensed fabric. You are doing most of the work but in the same sense their name is potentially the whole reason it sells. Yes, all those pretty Disney designs that came with your Brother PE550d are encouraged to be selfishly crafted with, MINE MINE MINE!

So, what kind of designs can you sell or make for that matter? Those beautiful drawings can still be turned into embroidery but it will require some software and a lot of time. If you want to skip all the headaches and large bill try out a freelancer who will create your design in the desired file format for you. If you are wondering why a simple png or jpeg will not work think of it this way, the machine reads directions such as right, left,  up, down and those files only give a color to read so the machine doesn’t understand what to do. If you have a Brother pe550d the format needs to be a PES file, check your manual if you have a different machine. 

Another route if you are not too picky or wanting your own unique designs is browsing Etsy for some that align with your vision. Not any Etsy digital file will work so here is a quick checklist to make sure you purchase a file that will actually work for you. First, check the size, if it is over 4” on any side it will not fit the Brother PE550d, it will not magically shrink when plugged into the machine. After that make sure the file being sold is in the format of your machine; for mine it is PES. Next on the priority list, make sure that the seller is allowing the design to be sold when put on a physical item, check their description or write the seller if it is not mentioned. If you are selling an item using the design check the color count, if you have the same machine that is how many times you will have to rethread the machine every time. 

Watch the video below to see visuals of what to look for as well as a sneaky site that actually gives embroidery files for FREE no emails or memberships required. I even show the final results for a couple of their files.

XOXO Faith

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