I find digitising quite expensive, would you advise doing this in house?
Help Desk Response
In most cases whenever we see embroiderer's problems, they are associated with disk design problems. Whilst the running of an embroidery machine and that of disk designing patterns are intertwined, they are different and separate skilled disciplines. Even today we see a marked difference between various disk design houses, which specialise in this trade.
The real professionals have an artistic skill whereby they will draw out certain design by hand and then they will transfer this onto the disk. They have acquired 'tricks of the trade' whereby they will draw a circle as a slight oval so that when it is embroidered it comes out as a circle etc.
In my experience, I have found the negatives of in house disk design to far outweigh the positives.
Ask yourself where you can make the most money, embroidering or digitising and that should help you make up your mind.
However, should you decide to go ahead with the digitising side, then I would suggest the following.
1. Use outside designers and see which one performs the best.
2. Ask them to recommend a digitising system.
3. Ask them if you can spend some time with them looking at how the work is done.
4. Once you have gained some experience in the embroidery industry, then you will be able to look at the following points when you start your own digitising.
Designs should start from the middle (centre start).
Designs which need backing, are best to have some underlay stitches in the shape of the pattern being embroidered Colour changes should be kept to a minimum - but also long jumps should be avoided, especially on delicate fabrics and machines without trimmers.
The stitch count should be kept to a minimum yet full cover on the design is achieved.
Overstitching is best avoided unless the design requires it.
Stitch spacing is important to avoid excessive thread breakage's.
When embroidering lettering - the underlay (zigzag stitches) give the lettering crispness. One should also be careful especially when using satin stitches, when going around corners and curves, so that the stitches go around in sequence.
The Company that supplies you with the digitising system should provide you with extensive in house training and a full free telephone help line. I have seen embroiderers who have invested heavily in such systems, who have only been given a couple of hours training and then left to their own devices to get on with it.
And last but not least, make sure that someone is available all day every day on the help desk.
Please excuse me for sounding pessimistic, I would like to be honest and help you now rather than see you spend money on something that you may later regret.