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Best Embroidery Software in 2018 (Brother, Singer, Embrilliance & More Reviewed)

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A quality embroidery software package is at the heart of any computerized embroidery machine.

At fast glance the options on what to buy can seem quite daunting; however, the fact that certain software suites are dedicted to specific brands, does narrow down the choice.

In this top 5 review round up, we have reviewed and rated what we believe to be the best embroidery software package for each of the leading brands in the market today.

For our findings at a glance, just head to the table below. For a detailed buyer’s guide plus in depth review of our chosen design and digitizing software packages, keep on reading.


Best Embroidery Software – Top 5

SOFTWARE SUITENAMEDETAILSOUR RATING
BROTHER
PE-DESIGN Lite.
+ Easily upgradable
to full PE Design
Package
BEST BEGINNER
EMBROIDERY
SOFTWARE FOR
BROTHER MACHINES
SINGER
FUTURA
Editing Embroidery
Software
TOP PICKS:
Futura CE-150 &
CE-250 package,
OR XL-400 &
XL-550 Suite.
JANOME ARTISTIC
V7.0 Embroidery
Software
BEST JANOME
SOFTWARE SUITE.
For Single &
Multi-Needle
Machines
EMBRILLIANCE
StitchArtist Level-1
BEST EMBROIDERY
SOFTWARE FOR
EMBRILLIANCE MACHINES
FLORIANI
Total Control-U
Software
BEST PROFESSIONAL
EMBROIDERY SOFTWARE

Embroidery Software Reviews

Click image to view the full range of Brother software packages

There’s a wide range of embroidery software available today.

As we stated in the introduction, because one brand cannot be used in a machine made by another brand, it is imperative for one to check the hardware specifications of each software suite in order to select a compatible version for your embroidery machine.

The software quality varies depending on the program build, package management system, version available (i.e how up-to-date is it), update frequency, and provision of support services.

Based on these rating criteria, 5 of the best embroidery software packages available have been identified and chosen for review.

1. Best embroidery software for Brother: PE-DESIGN Lite Review

PE Design Lite a proprietary embroidery software specializing in pattern editing, and it features a clean and minimalistic design devoid of unnecessary clutter in the user interface.

It is programmed to give its users the freedom of creativity so as to design unique and highly-intuitive patterns. It also allows for letters and numbers to be added to designs.

The are a set of fonts (including lettering fonts) to support this form of alphanumeric patterning. As an editing package, it allows for one to import artwork from scanned images and processed computer images.

It then allows the designer to use its built-in layout functions to set the orientation and scale of the image, as well as adjust its relative position in the grid (also called a card or canvas). It also supports text curing which ensures that text placed in an image blends in well. This software package is designed, programmed, sold, and updated by Brother International.

This software is fully compatible with all the firmware that come with the branded embroidery machines. Likewise, it can be installed in a Windows PC running on an Intel-based processor.

The best embroidery software for Brother PE770?

When you are ready, you can upgrade PE-Design Lite to the more advanced PE Design 8 with a cost-effective upgrade package.

This package is compatible with all PE machines by Brother, however, with the PE770 being one their biggest sellers, PE Design lite is considered to be the best embroidary software for beginners using that machine.

It is easy to see why. Apart from allowing one to import embroidery designs and write designs, this software also allows one to print design previews which can then be used as placement templates for developing new embroidery designs.

It also supports blending of 2 or more designs into a single card. This enables the user to tweak and combine designs as desired without losing scale or pattern clarity.

It also supports image editing which allows the user to change and customize imported images. Another unique feature is its auto-digitizing package which allows the fully developed image to be automatically interpreted into an embroidery design.

Regarding the ready-to-use embroidery design, this software comes with a package that allows one to have a realistic full-color preview of the design before it is converted into a stitch data file. This fully developed design can then be converted into a stitch file that is stored as a unique card. This card is then exported to the machine.

The cards that come with this software are designed to correspond to the size of frame holders in the machines. Likewise, its stitch styles palette reflect the stitching capabilities of the machines.

Moreover, the stitching sequence correspond to the design functions and operational capacity of the machine heads. Even so, the card memory in the machine is limited, which means that one must create and develop a design whose overall size does not exceed the maximum machine card memory, usually 4megabytes(MB) or less.

Furthermore, once you are ready, you can upgrade PE-Design Lite to the more advanced PE Design 8 with minimum outlay via a simple to install upgrade package.

Pros of the Brother PE-DESIGN Lite Embroidary Software Package
  • Compatible with Brother- PE embroidery machines.
  • Powerful software that comes equipped with designing, editing, and digitizing packages.
  • De-cluttered user interface
  • Supports different frame sizes.
  • Supports image importation from scanned documents and processed PC images.
  • Compatible with Microsoft Windows.
  • Allows for full-color design previews.
  • Supports creation of placement templates.
  • An upgrade to PE-Design 8 is easy and economical when buying the simple upgrade kit.
The Cons
  • Limited card memory.
  • Supports only Intel-based PCs.

Bottom-line

The Brother PE-DESIGN Lite is a proprietary embroidery software specializing in pattern editing, and it features a clean and minimalistic (de-cluttered) design.

In our opinion, this is the best embroidery software for beginners using a PE Brother machine. It comes equipped with designing and digitizing packages, and can support different frame sizes alongside machine head operations.

Once the user is ready, they can then easily upgrade to packages such as PE-Design 8.0  (one of the latest editions of the full suite), or extensive digitizing packages such as PE Design Next, (see below).

It can be installed in Intel-based PCs which allows for image importation and processing. All the aforementioned features, along with its easy to use interface, make PE Design Lite the top entry level embroidary software package for Brother machines in 2018.


Best digitizing software for Brother embroidery machines:

If you are after digitizing functionality for your Brother embroidery machine, by far your best option is the Brother PE-DESIGN NEXT Digitizing Software package. This does come at a premium, however for those that require commercial level digitizing for their designs, it is the current market leader for this brand.


2. Singer Futura Editing Embroidery Software Review

The Singer Futura software suite is a model-specific proprietary embroidery software specializing in design editing. It has a clean and minimalistic design, with its user interface featuring a de-cluttuered window.

This software reviewed here is programmed to work best with only 2 models; Singer Futura CE-150 machine and Singer Futura CE-250 machine. However a full suite software package for Singer XL400 and XL550 machines is also available. 

Nonetheless, the file formats of its stitch data files can be read by other Singer machines. It gives the user the freedom to be creative and to design unique patterns.

It also allows for lettering the design, with the software coming equipped with 5 lettering fonts that can be tweaked to blend in with the design.

This resource-efficient software can be installed in low-end computers that have low-level graphic cards. In fact, it can work well with Pentium III PCs that run on Windows 2000.

It can also run in Windows ME, Windows XP and Windows Vista. This software package is designed, programmed, sold, and updated by Singer Corporation.

As expected, this software is fully compatible with the firmware that runs the 2 branded embroidery machine models. The software package also comes equipped with a multilingual instruction manual written in a portable document format(PDF).

Even so, as an editing package, its ability to import artwork from scanned images and processed computer images is quite limited.

It compensates for this by supporting the conversion of design format from popular embroidery designs into formats that can be read and executed by its compatible models.

It also allows the designer to use its built-in layout functions to set the orientation and scale of the image, as well as adjust its relative position in the grid.

It also supports copy-pasting, rotation, and mirroring of the segments or whole designs. Likewise, it allows for blending of 2 or more motifs or patterns into existing designs.

It sets the instructions for the stitch types, stitch direction and stitch length. It is this specificity of instruction sets that makes it fuly compatible with only 2 machine models, the Futura CE-150 and Futura CE-250 embroidery machines.

This is because the machine heads in these 2 models can accurately and fully execute the stitching instructions. It also allows the user to set the stitch densities and column widths for different types of fabric.

Moreover, it allows the user to re-sequence the stitching of the colored segments.

Pros of the Singer Futura Editing Embroidery Software
  • Built to work with Singer Futura CE-150 and Singer Futura CE-250 machines.
  • Powerful software that comes equipped with designing, editing, and digitizing packages.
  • De-cluttered user interface.
  • Compatible with Microsoft Windows (up-to Windows Vista).
  • Allows for full-color design.
  • Allows for template creation.
  • Allows user to set stitching instructions.
  • Stitch data file uses file format that can be recognized by other Singer emebroidery machines.
The Cons
  • Supports Windows 2000 till Windows Vista. No support for later Windows version.
  • Incompatible with Linux and Mac.

Bottom-line

The Singer Futura Editing Embroidery Software is a proprietary embroidery package specializing in design editing, and has a clean and minimalistic design, with its user interface featuring a de-cluttuered window.

It is programmed to work best with Singer Futura CE-150 and Singer Futura CE-250 machine, though the file formats of its stitch data files can be read by other Singer machines.

If you own one of these machines it is naturally the best Singer-based embroidery software available. However, if you work on the Singer XL400 or XL550 machines, the appropiate machine specific software package is the one to buy.


3. Janome Artistic V7.0 Embroidery Software Review

Janome Artistic V7.0 is a full suite of embroidery software packages that allow for image importation, artwork editing, designing and digitizing of embroidery patterns.

It is built for use by embroidery machines that come with a single-needle machine head, (however the same software is also available tweaked for multi-needle machines).

It also comes with an auto-digitizing package that allows it to convert imported jpeg and bitmap images into embroidery designs.

Its clean user interface features a minimalist design that appeals to the user. Like other embroidery editing packages, it is programmed to give the user the freedom of creativity so as to come up with unique and highly-appealing designs.

It also supports embellishments using alphanumeric characters, which also allows for letters and numbers to be blended into existing designs. It comes equipped with a set of lettering fonts for this purpose.

This expansive suite also supports font conversion from True-Type fonts into lettering fonts. It also allows one to import artwork from scanned images and processed computer images.

Likewise, the designer can use its built-in layout functions to set the orientation and scale of the image, in addition to adjusting its relative position in the grid. Text curing is well supported.

This software package is designed, programmed, sold, and updated by the Tokyo-based Janome Sewing Machine Limited Company.

This suite is fully compatible with the firmware that runs all the single-need machine head models. It is shipped alongside an instructional guide, an instructional DVD, a set of 4 flat-back needles, a software application CD, and a dongle (the hardware that contains the key).

This suite can be installed in a Windows PC or a Mac computer. This cross compatability actually makes this best embroidery software for mac if you use a Janome machine; the package options are notoriously slim for Apple computer users.

This suite also allows one to print design previews which can then be used as placement templates.

Moreover, it supports the blending of 2 or more designs into a single card, while its split design package allows for larger-than-hoop frame designs to be split so that they are sewn into the fabric over a number of frame hoops.

Ultimately, this enables the digitizer to tweak and combine designs as desired without losing scale or pattern clarity.

Best embroidery digitizing software for Janome machines

In fact, Artistic V7.0 is widely considered to be the best digitizing software for users of Janome embroidery machines.

Its auto-digitizing function is supported by a propriety package called Rhinestones which allow for rhinestone designs to be processed into existing artwork designs, which are then converted into embroidery designs.

It also comes with a unique package called AcuDesign which allows the user to directly import embroidery designs that come with different file formats, and then convert them into compatible data files that can be modified and used as a stitch data file.

Its AcuSetter package allows for the embroidery design to be lined up correctly.

Pros of the Janome Artistic V7.0 embroidery software packagel
  • Compatible with single-needle Janome embroidery machines.
  • Powerful software that comes equipped with designing, editing, and digitizing packages.
  • Clean user interface.
  • Supports font conversion.
  • Supports image importation from scanned documents and processed PC images.
  • Compatible with both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS.
  • Allows for full-color design previews.
  • Supports creation of placement templates.
The Cons
  • Expensive
  • Supports Janome models only.

Bottom-line

Janome Artistic V7.0 is a full suite of embroidery software packages that allow for image importation, artwork editing, designing and digitizing of embroidery patterns.

Its auto-digitizing package allows for imported jpeg and bitmap images to be converted into embroidery designs. Its also supports font conversion. All of these features, makes it the best Janome embroidery software on the market in 2018.


4. Embrilliance StitchArtist Level-1 Review

Image Credit: SewingMachinePlus.com

This is a proprietary-grade embroidery design software that can be installed in both Mac and Windows PC.

It is designed for beginners and embroidery hobbyists who want to create unique stitch patterns, and for this reason its palette of stitch types is quite limited to the most commonly used stitch types such as running stitches and satin stitches.

It is supported by an easy-to-follow, yet comprehensive online tutorials.

The key features of StitchArtist Level 1 software that sets it apart from the Level 2 and Level 3 software versions are its limited number of stitch types and limited stitch properties.

This makes it ideal for doing applique designs and composite designs for personal fabrics. This software package is designed, programmed, sold, and updated by Embrilliance, a subsidiary of BriTon Leap, Inc.

Unlike other digitizing software, StitchArtist Level 1 comes with only one mode for drawing, setting, sizing and setting the stitches; as well as size, rotate, and edit the designs.

This mode is also used to the set stitch properties and stitch sequence. In short, only a single design mode is used to set the design properties. It is built for use by embroidery machines that come with a single multi-needle machine head.

This software package supports image importation, though the range of types of PC-processed images that can be imported is limited to commonly used image formats.

Even so, it is built specifically for creating artwork, and it comes with all the key features fro developing an artwork from scratch. It also allows for imported images to be integrated into the natively-created artwork.

Its clean user interface features a minimalist design that appeals to the user, as well as makes it for him/her to locate the right button icons for editing.

Like other embroidery editing packages, it is programmed to give the user the freedom of creativity so as to come up with unique and highly-appealing designs.

This Level-1 package also supports embellishments using alphanumeric characters, which also allows for letters and numbers to be blended into existing created designs. It also comes equipped with a set of lettering fonts for this purpose.

The designer can also use its built-in layout functions to set the orientation and scale of the image, in addition to adjusting its relative position in the grid so that it can be embroidered into the desired fabric location. It also comes with an instruction guide.

Pros of Embrilliance StitchArtist Level-1
  • Compatible with multi-needle Embrilliance embroidery machines.
  • Beginner-level software that comes equipped with designing, editing, and digitizing packages.
  • Clean user interface.
  • Supports image importation from processed PC images.
  • Compatible with both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS.
  • Supports creation of placement templates.
The Cons
  • Cannot support artwork creation from imported scanned images.
  • Limited stitch types.

Bottom-line

Embrilliance StitchArtist Level-1 is a proprietary-grade embroidery design software that can be installed in Mac and Windows PC. It is designed for beginners and embroidery hobbyists.

Its palette of stitch types is quite limited to the most commonly used stitch types such as running stitches and satin stitches. It is also supported by an easy-to-follow, yet comprehensive online tutorials.

This makes it the best beginner-level Embrilliance embroidery software package available today.


5. Floriani Total Control-U Software review

Floriani Total Control-U is a professional-grade complete suite of embroidery software packages that are used for image importation, artwork editing, designing and digitizing of embroidery patterns.

It is designed for use by almost everyone, from the beginner-level embroiders to professional digitizers. Its comes with an easy-to-understand instructional manual, which is supported with several comprehensive online tutorials.

It is built for use by embroidery machines that use multi-needle machine head. It also comes equipped with an auto-digitizing package that enables it to convert imported PC-processed images into embroidery designs.

It can import PC-processed images in the following formats: JPG, TIF, BMP, GIF, TGA, PCX, PNG, and PCT. Its clean user interface features a minimalist design that appeals to the user as well as makes window navigation simple and straight-forward.

Like other embroidery editing packages, it is programmed to give the user the freedom of creativity so as to come up with unique and highly-appealing designs.

Moreover, it supports embellishments using alphanumeric characters, which allows existing designs to be embellished with lettering fonts and numeral characters.

As expected, it comes equipped with a set of lettering fonts for this purpose. This software package is designed, programmed, sold, and updated by Floriani.

This expansive suite supports font conversion from True-Type fonts into lettering fonts. Text curing is well supported. It also allows one to import artwork from scanned images, with its image extraction software preserving the artwork clarity.

It also allows the designer to use its built-in layout functions to set the orientation and scale of the image, in addition to adjusting its relative position in the grid. This ensures that embroidery artwork setting is done properly.

This suite can be installed in a Windows PC that runs Windows 7 with a Pentium IV processor. This suite enables one to print design previews which can then be modified into placement templates.

Also, it supports design blending which allows for the creation of a single design from 2 or more pre-existing designs. Moreover, its split design package allows for larger-than-hoop frame designs to be split so that they are sewn into the fabric over a number of frame hoops.

All these features allows a digitizer to tweak and combine designs as desired without losing scale or pattern clarity.

Its auto-digitizing package is supported by a propriety package that allows for embroidery images to be processed into existing artwork designs, which are then converted into embroidery designs.

It also comes with a unique package that allows the user to directly import embroidery designs that come with different file formats, and then convert them into compatible data files that can be modified and used as a stitch data file. It also allows for the embroidery design to be lined up correctly.

Add all these features up and you have what is easily the best embroidery digitizing software for Floriani users.

Pros of Floriani Total Control-U Software
  • Compatible with multi-needle Floriani embroidery machines.
  • Powerful software that comes equipped with designing, editing, and digitizing packages.
  • Clean user interface.
  • Supports font conversion.
  • Supports image importation from scanned documents and processed PC images.
  • Compatible with Windows 7.
  • Allows for full-color design previews.
  • Supports creation of placement templates.
The Cons
  • Expensive
  • Only supports Pentium-IV PCs and later models.

Bottom-line

Floriani Total Control-U is a professional-grade complete suite of embroidery software packages that are used for image importation, artwork editing, designing and digitizing of embroidery patterns.

It is designed for use by almost everyone, from the beginner-level embroiders to professional digitizers. Its comes with an easy-to-understand instructional manual, which is supported with several comprehensive online tutorials.

All of these comprehensive features makes Total Control U, the best professional embroidery digitizing software for Floriani machines available today.


Best digitizing software for embroidery machines – a buyer’s guide

Embroidery is considered an art of decorating fabric using threaded or yarned patterns. This requires needlework to sew the yarns or threads into the fabric, and in the process produce a desired embellishment that protrudes above the fabric surface hence creating a three-dimensional decoration.

This makes it different from printing which only creates a two-dimensional decoration.

It also means that embroidery is a more tasking work than printing, and this has led to the development of specialized embroidery machines to sew the embellishments. Commercial-grade embroidery is used for uniform adornment, product branding, and apparel fashioning.

Key components of the embroidery machine

The key functional parts in these machines are the movable machine head that holds the needle assembly for performing the needlework, a control unit that manages and controls the motions and operations of the machine head, and the frame holder that tautly holds the fabric within a movable frame.

Machine embroidery is more time-efficient and resource-efficient as compared to manual embroidery. The machine head is usually the multi-needle type that holds 9 or 15 needles which allows one to use upto 9 or 15 different colored threads.

Machine embroidery allows for fabrics to be embroidered in large quantities, while the embroidery patterns can also be fine tuned to produce very detailed embroiders.

3 main types of machine embroidery

There are 3 main types/kinds of machine embroidery;

  • free-motion embroidery,
  • link-stitch embroidery,
  • and computerized machine embroidery

Free-motion embroidery

Free-motion embroidery uses the standard zig-zag sewing machine with the operator manually guiding the machine head to stitch the desired pattern onto the fabric.

Link-stitch embroidery

In link-stitch embroidery, also called chenille embroidery, the machine comes with a set of prefigured stitch patterns which can be automatically sewn/stitched onto the fabric, and if the operator wants to embroider a custom pattern, then (s)he must manually guide the machine head to stitch the desired pattern.

Computerized machine embroidery

On the other hand, computerized machine embroidery automates the entire embroidery process with both pre-configured default patterns and customized patterns being prepared as computer files that can be interpreted by a small computer that operates the control unit of the machine. It can also sew different stitch types including link stitch.

How  computerized machine embroidery works

Computerized machine embroidery uses a computer-controlled machine, with the computer usually built into the machine. This means that the monitor serves as the client interface unit(CIU) that allows the operator to set the computer instructions that are to be issued to the control unit, and ultimately to the machine head and frame holder.

This computer also has universal serial bus (USB) and Ethernet ports that allows one to connect a USB thumb drive or use a network cable to link this computer with a standard personal computer(PC).

During the embroidery process, the computer interprets data from stored embroidery files, and then directs the machine to reproduce the stored embroidery patterns.

The need for embroidery software

These embroidery patterns are produced by specialized programs called embroidery software which allows one to create unique patterns and customize existing patterns and then store them as computer files.

It also allows one to transform the embroider pattern of a proprietary machine brand into a file format that can be recognized by the computer running the embroidery machine.

A software runs on a compatible operating system. This operating system allows the software to interact with the machine hardware so that it can issue instructions which can be executed by the right hardware components, usually the machine head and the arms that move it around.

If the operating system is hard-coded into the computer system of a machine, it is called a firmware.

An embroidery software operates like any other OS-dependant software. Likewise, embroidery machines come with their own built-in firmware.

Machine specific embroidery software

Each brand of machines has their own unique firmware. This means that an embroidery software designed for a particular brand cannot be used for embroidering fabrics using machines built by other brands.

This lack of cross-platform compatibility for embroidery software across different machine brands has led to the programming of many different embroidery software as each brand has its own set of embroidery software for the different models in their brands

Likewise, each firmware can execute digitized designs stored in specific file formats, with the format being indicated by the file extension, for example user_pattern.emb in Wilcom machines.

Nonetheless, as mentioned earlier, there are specialized software that allows one to convert incompatible file formats into file extensions that can be executed by the machine model being used.


The computerized embroidery process

The computerized embroidery process consists of 7 basic steps. These steps are:

  • create and interpret artwork,
  • digitize artwork into a fabric design,
  • save digitized fabric design in machine-readable file format (called stitch data file),
  • load the stitch data file into the machine computer,
  • teach machine how to execute the file,
  • and then load the framed fabric into the machine before setting the embroidery process in motion.

The embroidery software performs the first 4 steps. This also shows that the software can be used in both a PC and in the machine.

Digitizing and design software

The term embroidery software is used as a collective designation for both embroidery digitizing software and embroidery design software.

Moreover, the software can contain both programs as digitizing packages and design packages, alongside other packages.

The user can create an artwork using normal image processing software such as Adobe Photoshop Suite or CorelDraw; or scan printed images and then extract the artwork from the scanned photo using specialized PC programs.

This image is saved in normal digital image formats such as bitmap, jpeg, png, and eps, with a corresponding file extension.

Likewise, some Embroidery Software allows one to create the artwork in situ, or extract artwork from scanned documents. Such software are called Embroidery design software.

Next, the Embroidery digitizing packages open the artwork file for interpretation. Interpretation involves plotting the artwork on a graphical grid that assigns each point in the artwork a pair of X-and-Y values, that define the location coordinates for that point.

This also allows the artwork to be scaled according to the size of the fabric being embroidered. Afterwards, the artwork coloring is customized to ensure that it uses only colors that correspond to the colored threads feeding threads into the machine head. The stitch styles are then selected alongside the stitch sequence.

The fully-interpreted artwork can then be customized further so as to create a fully developed (digital) embroidery design pattern.

This design pattern is the saved suing an internal file format, that is the file formats that can be interpreted by the embroidery software.

Transferring files

Sometimes, the embroidery software saves the pattern in a file format that cannot be interpreted by the machine firmware, and in such instances, specialized software are used to convert the pattern into digital files that can be read by the firmware.

The design pattern file that can be read by the machine firmware is called a stitch data file as it contains instructions of how the stitching process is to be executed by the machine.

If the embroidery software was used in a PC, then the stitch data file needs to be loaded into a USB flash disk which can then be plugged into the machine.

Likewise, this file can be transferred into the machine through an Ethernet-connected, cable-based network connection. Once the file is in the machine, the operator teaches the machine how to interpret the pattern by assigning the different pattern colors to different needle threads.


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