The Redwork Wizard - a mini tutorial

Here's a mini tutorial, showing my sheer admiration for Design Center as "Redwork Wizard".
One continuous path found by Design Center

Try and see if you can find a continuous path, without jumps in the above image

If you are one of the embroiderers who consider PE-Design's / Palette's Design Center to be "beginner stuff" and are convinced that the professional way of digitizing is via Layout & Editing, then this post is for you. It is true that you can create anything in Layout & Editing without even touching Design Center, but there is one thing that Design Center does better than any embroidery digitizing software on this planet (including many of the professional packages) and that is automatically creating redwork without any jumps! I really think they should rename Design Center into "The Redwork Wizard", so that more people appreciate its powerful capabilities.

Or maybe you tried to use Design Center, but didn't even get passed those first 2 stages. Well, read on :)

For those of you who know me, I love Design Center for redwork, quilt patterns and designs with complex outlines. There's only one tiny little problem with Design Center: it needs a black-white bitmap where all lines are of even width (preferably 1 pixel wide) to do a perfect job. You may even have struggled in retracing an image with a felt tip pen, scan it and found that you still had to clean that bitmap. Don't do that anymore: we made Pre-Design Studio to make digitizing easier. With Pre-Design Studio preparing your own perfect quality artwork is a breeze.

In Pre-Design Studio you can take the easy to use Curve tool and trace any background image, quality good, bad, ugly, as long as you can see it on your screen it is good enough.

An image that won't work in digitizing software

The above image won't work in any embroidery digitizing software, so trace it in Pre-Design Studio

Take the curve tool and trace any quality background image

Open a background image (any quality) in Pre-Design Studio and take the Curve tool to trace the lines you want in your embroidery by clicking from point to point.

Editing is easy too: just select and move points. In this example I have copied and pasted the crocus and connected them by moving points on top of each other.  Then save and let the magic happen: Choose menu File > Export PEM pattern.

Export as PEM pattern

Open that PEM pattern in Design Center and see that you are skipping those first tedious stages of picking the outline color! You can go to Stage 4 rightaway and see another piece of magic: the outline is already done for you. Redwork is finished. That easy!!

Jumpfree continuous redwork line

When you go from Stage 3 to Stage 4, Design Center automatically converts your drawing into an object based stitch file. It finds a jumpfree route for you through all connected parts. You just have to admire that beautiful job of "autobranching" as it is called in professional software. It will sew each line twice, never just once and will never go a third time over the same line.

As a child you may have tried to draw a house without lifting your pen of the paper. Well, Design Center does that for you for designs which are a whole lot complexer than a house. So you don't have to figure it out for yourself. It is amazing!

You can change the stitch length in Stage 4 (3 mm is a nice length for redwork). When you change settings in Design Center, don't forget to left-click on the lines to apply the changes. Import into Layout & Editing to embroider.

Remember that you can color the drawing in Pre-Design Studio too and then export as Color Bitmap to use for the AutoPunch function in Layout & Editing!

or use Pre-Design Studio for AutoPunch

Drawing colored in Pre-Design Studio, exported as solid Color Bitmap, and via Image to Stitch Wizard > AutoPunch turned into a filled embroidery design

Here's another drawing: I used the Spiral/Swirl maker and the curve tool in Pre-Design Studio to draw this design from scratch. I didn't draw it in any sequence, just made some swirls and petals and connected everything. Then exported to PEM-format, opened in Design Center and imported into Layout & Editing. No Jumps! That easy!Another jumpfree example, drawn in Pre-Design Studio, exported as PEM

Note: For the examples in this blog post I didn't use Pre-Design Studio's function "Convert to Stitches": the above patterns are not one continuous line with a visible path, which is needed for the function "Convert to Stitches" in Pre-Design Studio to prevent jumps. Design Center can figure out a route on a complex design without any jumps.

If you don't have PE-Design or Palette and therefore you don't have that wonderful "Redwork Wizard" Design Center, then you can use Pre-Design Studio's function Convert to Stitches of course. But there will be jumps in the above examples, as the drawing is not a continuous visible path.

Below is an example of a path that is continuous: you can follow the entire drawing with your finger and then the Convert to Stitches function can turn it into a jumpfree redwork pattern. It will be a DST file, which can be saved on a USB thumbdrive and inserted into most embroidery machines.

Drawing is a visible continuous path: converted to stitches in Pre-Design Studio

This pattern is a continuous visible path, so in this case I have used the Convert to Stitches function in Pre-Design Studio to create a jumpfree bean stitch DST file and insert that directly into my machine

If you don't have Pre-Design Studio yet, download the trial version and take it for a test drive.

Jumping for joy and counting down to meet you all at the Community Circle Event!


Comments (6) -

I gave up on Design Center a long time ago.  I use L&E, scan a picture, outline, fill and sew.  I think I'll take a second look at my Design Center and try some redwork.



I had no idea that this was such a great software!

Thanks for the information, especially because it is so clear!


Also, I think it is hard to start with the design we want to really do.  We first have to do baby steps before we can do bigger projects.

Patience is the key and good examples and tutorials round out the opportunity to have a great design.

Thanks again!


Sherry and Mupatty: you are in for a treat!  You just HAVE to try it.

Just trace an image in Pre-Design Studio (open as a background), take the curve tool and click from point to point along the lines you want to sew. Double-click to finish a line. Click in existing points.

Then choose menu File > export to PEM. If there are lots of small round details in the drawing, you can also choose menu File > Export Line Drawing. Save the file on your computer. Start Design Center and open the file you just exported. For the PEM follow the above instructions.

For the exported Line Drawing: open it in Design Center and take it to stage 2. Pick the color black - you have to use the zoom tool and scroll bars at the little preview window of the color picker. When you accidentally picked white too: uncheck the check box in front of that color. Then click on Next. It will look like there are gaps all over the place. Trust me: don't change anything, just take it to the next stages with all default settings. In Stage 4 all you have to do is change the stitch length to 3 mm and you're done!

Import into Layout & Editing.

Pat: let's organize a private chat at the Community Circle - you, my laptop and me and I will show you how great it is to digitize your own designs. You are already an expert in sewing and embroidering the most beautiful designs - being able to invent designs yourself is just awesome.

See you all end of this month> Can't wait!!


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