Sunday, September 18, 2011

Adventures in Learning to Machine Embroider

Unfortunately the poor Reborn Totems and specifically the Raven have been set aside by a new kid in toy. A few days ago I showed off my new toy the Brother SE-400 Embroidery and Sewing Machine. I’ve tested in on normal sewing and it’s great. My old machine was in desperate need of servicing, the tension was off and it didn’t seem to be feeding evenly. Now I can understand how bad it had become using something that works. The first run of the Raven was actually the first thing I sewed on it.
The big reason I bought it was to be able to create and produce my own embroidery designs for items. To do so I’ve tried multiple different embroidery programs either free or gotten through questionable means. I think I finally found one that does what I need it to and makes sense. I have a book on the way so hopefully it’ll help me with the actual best way to program the designs to be sewn.

Now I have a good advantage when it comes to making my own designs. I’m already skilled in vector designs and am a huge fan of Inkscape, a free program available. Embroidery programs are just taking vector drawings and converting them to stitches. It was the later part that was the issue.
The first program I tried was a completely free program called Sophie Sew. IMG_9305I was able to digitize an image okay with it and created this pentacle embroidery but I wasn’t really happy with the end result. The current option has no text available which sucked. I definitely needed text.
Then I found a download for Wings XP Pro, eXPerience. I couldn’t figure out how to digitize in it as I didn’t have a manual and couldn’t find one. I was able to bring in my image from Sophie Sew though and simply add text. I thought I was on the right track and was able to make this image. PaganBornScreenshotIMG_9316The final result I actually stitched out a slightly modified graphic and made a bib using the screwed up bias tape I blogged about yesterday.
The final result here was okay but without being able to figure this program out I was really limited.
Then I found another free program online, Stitch Era Universal. It was very annoying to download and verify but now that I have it running it’s great. I’m able to just bring in a vector drawing and have it convert it to stitches!! I haven’t tried anything really complex yet but I am working on one. There are some tutorials on Youtube if you just search and if you pay someone the $15 for the cd it seems they send you the manual also. I may give in and do that. Really though the company is giving you the free version trying to push their paid program on you. At the moment I think I can make do with the free and have it do exactly what I want.
PaganBorn_TreeThis is a screen shot of the new design. I am still waiting for my colored embroidery thread to arrive so it will be a few days before I can stitch it up. Until then I’m just going to come up with a few new designs and probably get back to working on Raven #2.
I’m trying to update regularly with pictures of my progress on all projects on both the Facebook Fan Page and on Twitter.

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