Density for Machine Embroidery


clip_image001Density is a term that means the distance between two stitches and is the single most important factor in making embroidery look good.

Too little density creates stitches that do not cover the fabric.

Too much density creates  birds nesting or bunching up of stitches,  lumps of stitches in one position where the needle pounds several stitches on top of each other, breaks in the thread, broken needles and if you do manage to complete the design you will have that dreaded “bulletproof” embroidery.

If density is low, there is more space between the stitches than if density is high.

Density settings are a measurement between rows of stitches so you can simply decide what distance you want between rows and change the setting to reflect the distance between rows. Increasing the density setting actually decreases the density, because you are closing the gap between the rows. Conversely, decreasing the density increases the gap between rows.

The default density in Embird Studio is 4.0 or .4 mm between two rows. What that means in technical terms is the actual distance between two lines of fill or columns with the default 4.0 density is .2 mm.

If you choose too high a stitch density you will increase the use of thread and machine time; possibly resulting in additional thread break, all of which are very expensive and also frustrating. If you choose too low a setting then “gaps” and “grins” will start to appear where the fabric colour protrudes through the embroidered area.

Using a combination of underlay and cover stitching uses far less stitches than using cover stitching alone, so always use underlay if possible, especially for large fill areas.

Increasing or decreasing the scale of the stitches is another change that you may want to consider, as sometimes you will have a better stitchout if you increase or decrease the scale of the stitches.

The same principle applies to scale as it does to density, a lower number will increase the scale of your stitches and a higher number will decrease the scale of your stitches.

Think of the stitches on your sewing machine; a 2.5 stitch setting is less than a 4.0 setting, so in Embird a scale of 90% would be a tighter stitch count than a scale of 110%.

Using the correct stitch density will result in a significant saving of unnecessary stitches; an area sewn at a density of 0.5 mm uses 20% less stitches than a density of 0.4 mm, saving not only considerable amounts of machine time but also the amount of thread used.

Digitizing is a science, but it is also fun and rewarding. If you want to learn more about digitizing with Embird Studio, you may want to check out the monthly Learning Embird Studio lessons where you will learn how to digitize with Embird Studio in a fun and easy manner.

Happy digitizing and embroidery!