May 19, 2024

If you have a new embroidery machine or want one, you’re probably thinking about all the gorgeous designs you can embroider with it. Embroidery machines usually have built-in designs. But sooner or later, you’re going to want to create a project that requires something different. You’re going to have to know how to get designs, which embroidery data format is compatible with your machine, how to get them into your computer and transfer them to your embroidery machine. This article explains what embroidery design files are and how to use them.Where Do I Get Embroidery Designs?You can check out your local embroidery and sewing machine dealers. They might have some designs on CDs or embroidery memory cards. The disadvantage is that they don’t have much of a selection. But if you’re there anyway, it won’t hurt to look. You might just find the perfect design.The Internet is the most common place to find embroidery designs. You can order them on memory cards or CDs, but most people prefer to instantly download them as embroidery design files. You can choose from a huge number of designs in many different styles and themes.Most designers also have free samples that you can try before you buy one. It’s good to check out a designer’s work first because there are all levels of quality out there. Sometimes you can even find a free design that’s right for your project.If you buy embroidery memory cards, you just stick the card into the card slot on your embroidery machine. Embroidery designs on CDs can be copied to your computer. To download them from the Internet, you click the download link that the designer provides. Or sometimes, they’ll send you the link by email.Choose Embroidery Design Files Compatible With Your MachineEmbroidery designs come in a lot of different formats. Each embroidery machine model can only read embroidery data in certain formats. You can tell what format the file is by the “file extension.” The file extension is the last three characters in the file name after the period. For example, my Brother SE400 can read .pes files. You have to be certain to get the format that is compatible with your particular machine. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use it.Common Embroidery Data File Types And Machine BrandsHere is a list of machine brands and the common file types that they can read.
.art — Bernina
.dst — Tajima
.exp — Melco, Bernina
.hus — Viking Husqvarna
.jef — Janome
.pcs — Pfaff
.psc — Baby Lock, Bernina, Brother
.pes — Baby Lock, Bernina, Brother
.sew — Janome
.shv — Viking Husqvarna
.vip — Viking Husqvarna
.vp3 — Pfaff
.xxx — Singer
You’ll notice that some brands are listed several times. That’s because different models use different formats. For example, the home embroidery machines use one format and the commercial machines use a different format. Check your user manual to find out what formats your machine will read before downloading embroidery files.Most design sites offer a variety of formats to fit the various common machine models. They will either tell you the format or let you choose the one that works for you. Downloading the correct format is much safer than than trying to convert the format later. Conversion just adds an extra step to the process and another opportunity for things to go wrong..ZIP FilesSometimes embroidery design files come packaged in a “.zip” file. The file can contain several of the real files. You must unzip it before you can use it. Just double-click the file to unzip it. Then you’ll see a folder containing the embroidery files with the extension you need.