Using Underlay Stitches in Digitizing and Embroidery

Digitizing and embroidery are two processes that go hand in hand when it comes to creating high-quality embroidered designs. One of the most important aspects of creating a good embroidery design is the use of underlay stitches. In this article, we will explore the various techniques for using underlay stitches in digitizing and embroidery.

What are Underlay Stitches?

Underlay stitches are a series of stitches that are placed underneath the top layer of stitches in an embroidery design. The purpose of underlay stitches is to provide a stable foundation for the top layer of stitches to be embroidered on. This stability prevents the fabric from puckering, and it also helps the embroidery design to maintain its shape and definition over time.

Underlay stitches are typically stitched in a simple, basic pattern that follows the outline of the design. This pattern is often created using a running stitch or a zigzag stitch. The stitches are placed close together to create a solid foundation for the top layer of stitches.

Why Use Underlay Stitches?

Using underlay stitches has several benefits when it comes to digitizing and embroidery. Firstly, underlay stitches help to stabilize the fabric, preventing it from puckering or stretching during the embroidery process. This is particularly important when embroidering on thin or stretchy fabrics, as these materials are more prone to puckering.

Secondly, underlay stitches help to maintain the shape and definition of the embroidery design over time. As the fabric moves and stretches with wear and tear, the underlay stitches provide a stable foundation for the top layer of stitches to remain in place.

Finally, using underlay stitches can help to improve the overall quality and appearance of the embroidery design. By creating a solid foundation for the top layer of stitches, the embroidery design will have a more professional and polished look.

Types of Underlay Stitches

There are several different types of underlay stitches that can be used in digitizing and embroidery. The type of underlay stitch that is used will depend on the fabric that is being embroidered, as well as the complexity and density of the design.

Center Walk
The center walk underlay stitch is a simple, straight stitch that follows the outline of the design. It is used in the center of the design to create a stable foundation for the top layer of stitches.

Zigzag
The zigzag underlay stitch is a more complex stitch that is used to create a zigzag pattern underneath the top layer of stitches. This stitch is particularly useful when embroidering on stretchy fabrics, as it provides additional stability to prevent the fabric from puckering.

Contour
The contour underlay stitch is a stitch that follows the outline of the design, but with a slight offset. This creates a small gap between the underlay stitches and the top layer of stitches, which helps to prevent the fabric from puckering.

Edge Walk
The edge walk underlay stitch is similar to the center walk stitch, but it is used along the edges of the design. This stitch helps to create a stable foundation for the edges of the design, which are more prone to stretching and puckering.

Tips for Using Underlay Stitches

When using underlay stitches in digitizing and embroidery, there are several tips that can help to ensure the best results.

  1. Choose the right type of underlay stitch for the fabric and design.
  2. Use a high-quality stabilizer to provide additional support to the fabric.
  3. Keep the underlay stitches close together to create a solid foundation.
  4. Use the same color thread for the underlay stitches as the top layer of stitches to create a more polished look.
  5. Use a smaller stitch length for the underlay stitches to create a more dense and stable foundation.

Conclusion

Using underlay stitches in digitizing and embroidery is a key technique for creating high-quality embroidery design. With the right approach and attention to detail, underlay stitches can provide the stability and support needed for the top layer of stitches to shine. Whether you are a professional embroiderer or a hobbyist, taking the time to master the use of underlay stitches will pay off in the quality and longevity of your embroidery projects.