How to digitize images for embroidery


Digitizing images for embroidery allows you to convert photographs, drawings, or other visual designs into stitch patterns that can be embroidered onto fabric. With some basic tools and techniques, you can turn your favorite images into custom embroidery projects.

Prepare Your Images

The images you want to digitize should be in a format like JPEG, PNG, or BMP. Make sure the images are high resolution, at least 300 dpi or higher for best results. Crop and resize the images as needed to fit your embroidery design. You may also want to adjust the brightness and contrast to ensure all details are visible, especially in darker areas of the photo.

digitize design for embroidery

Use Embroidery Digitizing Software

Specialized software is designed to convert images into embroidery patterns. Some popular, easy-to-use options are Embrilliance, StitchArtist, and Tapestry. The software allows you to trace over the image with different stitch types like running stitch, backstitch, satin stitch, or French knots. You can control the stitch length, color changes, and more for each part of the design.

Add Embellishments and Edit the Pattern

Once you have digitized the basic shapes and outlines of your image, you can start adding embellishments like rhinestones, sequins, or beading to highlight focal points. Use the editing tools to refine curves, adjust stitch densities, combine shapes, and touch up any areas that need improvement. Get creative with stitch types and colors for a custom look.

Export and Stitch the Design

When you are satisfied with your digitized embroidery pattern, you can export it to an embroidery machine format like .dst, .exp, .vip or .pes. Load the design into your embroidery machine and stitch it onto fabric using embroidery floss and needles. You can stitch the entire design at once or split it into sections for easier stitching.

Additional Tips

  • Practice makes perfect. Keep digitizing more images to improve your skills and speed.
  • Consider adding text to your designs. You can digitize fonts and stitch text onto fabric as embroidery.
  • Experiment with stitching different fabrics like denim, knit, leather or canvas for unique results.
  • Embellish your stitched designs further with sequins, beads, ribbons, lace or other trims.
  • Share your digitized embroidery designs with other stitchers for inspiration and ideas.


With some patience and practice, you’ll be digitizing all your favorite photos and turning them into custom embroidered keepsakes. Digitizing images for embroidery opens up endless creative possibilities for personalizing gifts, decorating your home, preserving memories or creating one-of-a-kind fashion pieces. Using your own photos and designs allows you to create embroidery that is meaningful and truly special.