Embroidery Machine Tutorial Part 1: Software

We are using the DRAWings4 software package to transform drawings into embroideries for our Bernina Artista 630 Embroidery/Sewing Machine.

1. Create the pattern you are going to embroider

For this example, I wrote a short program in Processing that generates a tree pattern and outputs this pattern as a pdf file. You can find a beautiful assortment of processing projects (along with their code) on Open Processing. Here's my code: Attach:randomTree.zip. You can also use any drawing program that generates vector graphic files to create your pattern.

To create a pattern from a hand-drawn image: 1) take a photograph or scan of the drawing 2) open the image in Illustrator 3) Use Illustrator's "Live Trace" feature to generate a vector path that follows the lines of your drawing 4) Now follow the steps for creating a pattern from an illustrator

To create a pattern from an illustrator file: 1) export your illustrator file as a pdf 2) open CorelDraw X4 on one of the lab PCs and import the pdf 3) export the file as a version 7.0 .ai file.

2. Get your drawing into the right file format

The embroidery machine software can import .ai, .png, and .svg files, although not all versions. I imported the .pdf that my Processing program generated into CorelDraw X4 and then exported it as a .ai 7.0 file.

3. Open the DRAWings4 software

The icon for the software is on the Desktop of the HLT laptop and desktop machines. IMPORTANT NOTE: the DRAWings software will only work when its companion silver "dongle" is plugged into one of the computer's USB ports.

4. Create a new embroidery design

If instructions popup onscreen, simply follow these instructions. Otherwise, go to File->New to create your design. Select your image file and keep the default settings for the rest of the options. If all goes well your window should looks something like this when you're done:

5. Customize your embroidery

Use the menu on the right hand side to edit the stitches in different regions of your drawing.

6. Save your embroidery

Go to File->Save As and select Melco expanded (*.exp) as the Save as type from the drop down menu. Name your file and save it.

7. Copy your file onto a USB stick and bring it to the embroidery machine

Now you're ready to start working with the embroidery machine.