Welcome back to All About Machine Embroidery. If you are just now joining in, catch up here.
Today and tomorrow’s topic is software. This is such a broad subject in machine embroidery, but I want you to be an informed shopper.
Otherwise, you may become overwhelmed and want to give up on machine embroidery altogether.
Back here I introduced the idea of machine embroidery software. Today, I am going to attempt to explain why you will eventually want to own some software.
When I started to look for my first embroidery machine I knew nothing about software. I thought you just picked a built-in design on the machine and it started sewing. Naïve, yep.
The first thing to know is this:
You don’t have to buy your machine embroidery software from a dealer.
I didn’t know this and bought an expensive and somewhat out of date software when I purchased my Ellure.
The Ellure doesn’t have a usb port, instead it reads cards.
I needed a software that could burn the design to the card and then, once in my machine, it would stitch it all out.
The software cost me $500, and it did things like rotate and duplicate designs, mirror image, create text, etc. It is divinely simple and easy to use. It is ridiculously overpriced for outdated technology.
Remember my earlier warning: Don’t buy a machine that has a card reader!
So, without getting too bogged down in details here, what I really needed at the time was either a free software like this one that would allow me to get a design from my computer to my machine or simple software that offered a little bit more.
And, that leads us to a couple of online sellers of machine embroidery software. Online software sellers have their good points (price and free trial period) and their not-so-good points (no local support).
1. Embird has been around a while (1997??) and is used by lots of embroidery professionals. You purchase the software online in modules such as Basic, Editing, Fonts, Digitizing. This makes it affordable and you are not buying more than you need. Once your payment is received you can download the program to your computer. Pretty straight forward.
Until recently, this software was only available in 32-bit. Since Windows 7 runs 64-bit, that was a problem for some, but Embird upgraded to 64-bit in 2012.
Unfortunately, Mac users will need to look elsewhere (see below!).
Lots of machine embroidery friends love this software because it’s reliable and works extremely well. Embird has lots of video instructions, so learning the program is easy and convenient.
One thing to note: The company is in the Slovak Republic and run by three software engineers. I hear that they are available to help you with any problems.
I always hear great things about this program and probably would’ve purchased this a few years back had I known about it.
2. Embrilliance is newer to the stage, but has great genes. It is designed by engineers who have been designing machine embroidery software for the all of the major brands since the early 1990’s.
What I love about this software is the designers took the things most home embroiderers use and made a simple and affordable program.
This software also runs native on Mac and Windows 32 and Windows 64. If you’re a Mac-only computer user, this is good news for you. Embrilliance software was not available when I purchased mine. However, if I were in the market, I would download the free trial and look it over.
Another great point about Embrilliance is you can purchase it online from the company or through a local dealer.
While I have never used this software, I do own one of their products, The Thumbnailer. I recommend this product because it converts all of the embroidery designs you have stored on your computer into picture thumbnails.
Without the Thumbnailer, all I would see is a software icon and this, “HDCS5B.DST” How on earth am I supposed to know what that looks like. I am pre-supposing that the new Embrilliance software is equally as intuitive.
I have been so impressed with my glitch-free Thumbnailer software, that I feel certain the editing software will be just as superior.
One thing is certain with computers and software: It is never static, but always changing. When applied to machine embroidery software, that can create challenges for smaller companies like the two I’ve highlighted. It can be difficult for them to update their software to newer machine formats or advances in computer operating systems.
And, that brings us to tomorrow subject: The Majors: Software that does it all!
Thinking about purchasing an Embroidery Machine? Check out my Embroidery Machine Reviews.