With the release of more affordable digitizing software in the market, there’s been a lot more chatter from embroiderers trying to navigate the best software for them – and a lot of confusion as well. Sometimes it feels like we don’t know how to ask for what we really need, and the end result of miscommunication could be hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars spent on something you didn’t really want.

The number one question new embroiderers ask in groups is, “What software should I buy?” and others are encouraged to speak up about their favorite and why it’s such. But with the release of such great, powerful digitizing tools lately, I like to ask them a couple of questions before I give my answer, namely, “What are you trying to do?” That’s not sarcasm; we really need to know what are the purposes for which you’ll be using your software? That will get my best answer. Sometimes we need even more clarity when they respond, “To make my own embroidery designs.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa. This is the crucial moment when you could potentially recommend thousands of dollars of embroidery software to someone who doesn’t need or want it. They’ll walk away from the conversation either thousands of dollars poorer, or disappointed because they feel they’ll never be able to afford the wonderful world of embroidery.

This is where you need to clarify if you are customizing embroidery designs or creating them.

Let’s say you have an applique you’ve purchased from Designs by Little Bee and a font you’ve purchased from the Itch2Stitch, and you want to see what they’ll look like in several different configurations to choose which you like the best. Or you are putting a monogram together. Or you have an embroidery design but you don’t like this one element and would like to “hack it” off the design. Any time you’re taking existing embroidery designs – that you purchased elsewhere – and making them unique to you for your own purposes of crafting — that is CUSTOMIZING.

Now, if you are trying to “create something out of nothing,” that is, on a blank screen, create an embroidery design from scratch, that is CREATING. You can buy clip art to use in creation of your new designs, you can use a picture you or your child or a loved one drew, or you can just freehand on the screen. This is called digitizing. You are creating an embroidery design using your own art, inspiration, techniques, and skills.

So with that said, you still want to know what software to buy, right? Well, whether you want to customize or create, Embrilliance has a module that’s right for you! Remember that Embrilliance is like a house, and the modules of software are like the rooms in the house – each with its own function. They work independently of one another and you buy what you need, when you need it.

For customizing existing designs, you can’t go wrong with Essentials. See a quick YouTube video I created to show my favorite things about Essentials. Just some of them are: free and easy updates to the software, quality resizing of designs, and easy sorting to make multiple in-the-hoop objects in a larger hoop, and their fantastic customer service.

For creating your own designs from scratch, you’ll want the StitchArtist module, which comes in 3 different levels. To see descriptions of the levels, simply click on StitchArtist at the left on the website. I first purchased level 2 and later upgraded to 3, but everything I do is capable in level 2. Like I do when recommending machines, I usually say “Buy as much as you can afford.” The good news is that if you’d like to upgrade later, you only pay the difference in the two levels; you’re not penalized to upgrade.

There are also other modules that you can add on to your Embrilliance software suite; as you purchase, you add the registration codes in to your downloaded software and bam! You’ve got a new room in your house with new, cool functions.

Have questions about Embrilliance software or want to see what others are creating? A few enthusiasts created a giant group of embroiderers learning their way through Embrilliance called Brilliant Embrilliance Embroidery. If you want to chat about digitizing, the closed group for that is called StitchArtist Digitizing Fans. Keep in mind that participation and help, if given, in the group is from fans of the software and is done on their own time. To get in touch with the technical support team for Embrilliance, please use the Contact form on their website.