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The art of digitize small lettering

One of the most used application in the embroidery industry is the monograms. 

They are used and seen mostly everywhere, caps, T- shirts, jackets, socks, shoes ...

The number of new punchers grows on a daily basis. Without the experience required to create letters, we are not surprise that one of the biggest misteries is the creation of the small letters.

Where is really the ilusion of embroidery and what is possible to embroider? Considering that the embroidery depends on the result of the combination of thread, needle, the fast movement of the frame, elasticity, structure and kind of the fabric, the condition of the machine... too many factors influence the result of your design.

It is necessary to take into account that it is possible to diminsh the size of a monogram in the screen without affecting the quality of it. This is not possible to make on the embroidery itself. If the small stitches  get accumulated the result will be thread breakage. In that case the letters tend to be overloaded with stitches. ( see ex.1) If the small stitches  get accumulated the result will be thread


Th result of an accumulation of stitches

The look is ilegible

At the end to get good quality on the embroidery is the most important result you can get.

In the world of the embroidery, there is a certain limit in the possible size of letters. Considering a standard thickness for the threads ( 40 ) and a flat fabric with regular structure, we can make the following rules. The first limit that we considered very important, is the thickness of the cord in the embroidery. If the thickness is equal or greater than 1 mm then it can be done in cord type stitches ( see ex.2) If the thickness is less than  1 mm, then we recommend to make the stitches on a run stitch type. (see ex. 3).

The second limit is the height of the letters. If it is equal or greater than 5 mm it can be done in cord type stitches. If it is smaller, we recommend pespunte type stitches.


ex. 2 http://www.embroedery.ru/Tutorials/Tutorial2_archivos/image004.jpg

The cords on the letters ?ST. Gabriel? have a thickeness of 1,3 mm

The height has an average of 6 mm.

ex. 3 http://www.embroedery.ru/Tutorials/Tutorial2_archivos/image006.jpg

The thickness on the drawing should have been 0.7 mm. The height of the letters 2,5 mm. In this case the puncher took the decision ton make run  type stitches


Recommended materials.

It is recommended to use robust backing and  humidity or heat dissolute plastics when embroidering in fabrics like jersey. Also it is a great help to use thinner needles,  as in the example where you should use a type 60 instead of a common 75/11 type. Try also with thicker threads of 50 or 60 instead of the standard 40.

 These sizes help a lot when embroidering of small letters

Automatic Monogram or digitize?

Although there are  a great amount of software specially developed for monograms and packages with several types of sources for the embroidering, it is worthy to punch them independently. The result in terms of quality is better. By  punching the letters independently you have more control and are able to  decide according to the situation.


Do not exaggerate with stitches too compressed in type cord for thin cords. We recommend a density from 0,35 to 0,40 (It sees ex. 4)

ex 4.  


Density 0.37


Density 0.20

If the cords are too wide, for ex. Greater than  3mm, you may use a little more compressed densities

Support stitches

In small letters ( 1.2 mm wide and more ), we recommend to make a route of support stitches. If the embroidery is made fabrics like jerseys or piquй, then it is very important to make this type of support stitches (see ex.5). Make the stitches in the middle of what later will be covered with cord stitches. There are situations where there is no other alternative than to make two routes of support stitches, for ex. if the conection to the following letters that follows demands it (see ex.6)

ex. 5

http://www.embroedery.ru/Tutorials/Tutorial2_archivos/image010.jpg  http://www.embroedery.ru/Tutorials/Tutorial2_archivos/image012.jpg


Do not use Zig zag support stitches   in small letters. The result is an accumulation of stitches and  thread waste. See ex. 7

ex. 7

http://www.embroedery.ru/Tutorials/Tutorial2_archivos/image023.jpg  http://www.embroedery.ru/Tutorials/Tutorial2_archivos/image025.jpg


The point of the letter ?I? must be simplified. Do not try to do it with typical cord stitches ( see ex. 8). If you do it the stitches tend to curl up into a ball. We recommend to make a star shape ( see ex. 9) It is the most effective way and the final embroidery will have a more clean look.



Another letter in which we recommend to do a simplificacion is the letter t.. Do not try to make the superior bar with cord type stitches( see ex. 10) We recommend to make the stitches in order to set them in the same angle. ( see ex. 11)

Ex. 10  


For small letters as a, e and g we recommend to simplify the central part of it. Do not try to incorporate cord type stitches in that zone since the space is so small that the embroidery will remain covered by stitches (see ex. 12 and 13)


Bend the stitches.

There are parts of some letters such as M,N,V and W where is recommended to make the embroidery in one step It is not worthy take the trouble to embroider these parts by sections because the space is too small. For better understanding,  see examples 14 and 15


exj. 15  


Spaces inside closed letters.

The areas inside closed letters such as o, p, d, g may cause troubles as regards the legibility. Several times the stitches get accumulated inside  the inner circle. (see ex. 16) When punching them, we recommend to make  the stitches a little bit more on the outside, adressing  outer circumference. ( see


ex. 16

Drawing of the small letter O. Picaje fhad been made exactly in the limits of the inner and outer circumference.




ex. 17

Make sure to set the stitches outside the inner circumference

The corners of letters such as P, R, F, L and B may be difficult. The problem is the final look of the embroidery. It is hard to make sharp corners.
For small letters, we recommend the alternatives A) and B).
( See ex. 18)


For letters very small, we recommend the alternatives A) and B)

The art of digitize for small letters is just about trying and embroidering to see the results. The more experience you get, the greater sensibility you will obtain for your machine to embroider, fabrics, threads, etc. We hope these files will be a helpful assitance for your work.


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