|by Jessee Maloney|
Hello there! Jessee here from an Art School dropout’s life to show you an easy way to digitize a quick doodle into a versatile embroidery using 6D™ Embroidery Extra software, an embroidery machine (in my case the Husqvarna Viking™ Designer Topaz™ 50) and a new free Adobe app called Adobe Shape.
Many ideas were thrown around for this post, but in the end we decided on a simple cat face that both children and adults can both enjoy. (And at the end of the post, you can download three different sizes of the kitty face embroidery file for free!)
I started out by drawing a few cat face pieces here and there. I’m not that great at drawing a pair of anything. So if I know I will digitizing something that is a pair, I always draw and then copy it and reverse it in whatever software I’m using. So as you can see I only drew the right eye, ear or whiskers. I just couldn’t decided for awhile if I wanted cute, angry or serious. After much thought, and some help from my five year old, I went with serious.
There are many ways to digitize these doodles from this point, but today we are only going to talk about one.
How to Prep and Digitize Your Drawing Using Adobe Shape
Adobe Shape is a very useful app that turns any photo or illustration into a nice and smooth vector file, and you don’t need any other Adobe programs to use it. If you like to draw and then digitize your drawings it’s brilliant. It’s also perfect for making simple, and fast, one color embroidery files too.
To prep my drawing I needed to combine all of the parts I liked into one drawing. I used tracing paper and traced over a right eye, ear, whiskers and the nose. I then flipped the tracing paper over and traced the left eye, whiskers and ear. I made sure to keep everything as straight as possible.
I then went over the entire drawing in pen. Afterwards I made sure to erase any stray pencil lines on both sides of the paper. It will help keep everything nice and clean for the next step.
I opened the Adobe Shape app and touched the plus sign on the bottom right to start the process. I chose to make a new shape using my camera. The camera will open up in “Live Preview” mode, but if you touch the screen it will switch to “Shape Preview” which I prefer. There’s a sliding bar under the photo that allows you to adjust the image to your liking. If the bar is too far to the left, you only get a faint outline of the cat’s face, if it’s too far to the right, it’s almost all black. I notice around the center works perfectly for this image.
You may notice there is a little smudge under the whiskers, don’t worry, we’ll get rid of that later.
Once I’m happy with the way it all looks I just press the green circle on the bottom middle of the screen, and after it cleans it up a bit I press the circle again. The app will then bring you to a screen where you can name the file and then save it. It will save it to a shapes folder.
From here you can send it to whatever cloud service you may use or email it to yourself. I chose email.
Now you have a perfect vector file all ready to made in to an embroidery file!
How to Convert Your New Vector File in to an Embroidery File
First things first, open up 6D™ Embroidery Extra.
Next go to the “Wizards” tab and click on “Express Design” and then “Express Design into Hoop.”
A window will pop up asking you what type of embroidery file you would like to make. I chose “Create Express Embroidery.”
Next it will have you look up your file, then ask if you would like to rotate it, and next ask if you would like to crop it. I did want to crop this photo since the table underneath my drawing showed up a little in the vector file.
After cropping, the next window will ask if you would like to reduce colors. Originally the program wanted to use 12 different shades of gray to stitch this design out. I took that number down to TWO. One black and one white.
The next screen showed me which thread colors I would be using, plus it has a fewer more options for tweaking the design a bit. I chose to automatically remove background color and then made sure to click the button that removed all the background color, even in the eyes. This is a very important steps because it turns the embroidery into a single color embroidery, instead of a two color.
The next window lets you chose the type of embroidery texture you would like. I personally like the “Fill” style, but if you would like something a little puffier, I’d suggest going with the “Satin”, or maybe mixing the two together by moving the slider to the middle.
Once you are happy with all the options you have chosen, press next and watch the magic happen! If you like the finished look of the embroidery then press finish and you’re good to go. If you aren’t happy just press back and tweak the options a bit.
Remember that little smudge under the right whisker? Well now is the time to fix it. Just go over to the “Edit” tab, press “Box Select” or whichever way you would like to select, and then select the part of the embroidery you don’t want anymore. Once it is perfectly selected, just press delete. It’s that easy.
From here you just save the file in the format that you use and export it to either a USB drive, an embroidery card reader or to your machine.
Now you are all ready to embroider everything in sight!
I myself tried the design out on a few things…
The first was a plain black woman’s sweatshirt. I used the 360×200 hoop with cutaway stabilizer. It was my first time embroidering a sweatshirt and I absolutely love the results.
I also tried the design out on some quilting weight Kona Cotton in black for a dress for my daughter. I used a 260×150 hoop, sticky tear away stabilizer and embroidered it on to a large rectangular piece of fabric and cut out the dress pattern afterwards. I felt like this order helped me center those ears perfectly.
Oh and the dress pattern is the Geranium Dress from Made-By-Rae. It’s a super quick and easy pattern and looks so cute on my daughter.
I also tried out fleece, which was another new option for me. It was interesting seeing how the different fabrics react with the design.
My last text was on a tightly woven quilting cotton, using the 120×120 hoop and I spray basted the design to the hooped tear away stabilizer instead of hooping the fabric. I didn’t want to stretch out the fabric much. I’m happy with the results and think I’ll attempt some quilt blocks using the embroidery and some b&w fabric.
I feel like this design, and process all together, can be super useful. I see myself making a few more pieces as gifts and my daughter already has a few dozen ideas on what she would like.
I have included this Cat design embroidery file, in all three sizes that I used, as a free download for anyone who would like to make something of their own right away! How neat is that? Click the button below to download:Download Kitty Face embroidery files!
If you happen to take photos of anything you make using it, please share them with us. I would love to see them.
Well, that’s it for me this month. I really hope you enjoyed this post, and I can’t wait to share another easy project with you next month!
JESSEE MALONEY Art School Dropout
I have spent almost my entire adult life as an indie business owner and maker, 12 years to be exact. Most of my time was spent dabling in cast plastic jewelry, mix media accessories, 3D printing, laser cutting, embroidering and assembling vinyl pouches and much much more. It wasnt until 2014 that I decided to jump in, head first, in to quilting. Now it’s pretty much all I do!
Sewing machine: HUSQVARNA VIKING® DESIGNER TOPAZ™ 50
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