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How to Make Your Own Embroidery Pattern

If you haven’t tried decorative design before, you probably think making a custom embroidery pattern is really hard and time-consuming.

However, an experienced person would quickly tell you how easy and fun it is to create all kinds of decorative or custom patterns with little effort. Would you like to know how to make your own embroidery pattern the easy way?

How to Make Your Own Embroidery Pattern

Making your own embroidery pattern involves two interdependent steps: designing the pattern and bringing it to life on a digital embroidery machine.

In the first step, you create your own embroidery design by hand and digitize it on any embroidery software of your choice. Examples of embroidery design software include: Embrilliance Stitch Artist, BuzzSize, Brother Initial Stitch Embroidery Lettering & Monogramming Software, among others.

You can also skip the hand design and just create a pattern from scratch on the software. Don’t worry about your artistic skills! You’ll be surprised how creative you can get with a pencil and some watercolors or crayons.

Alternatively, you could also take a picture of something you want to create an embroidery of off (like a picture of your cat) and upload it to the software. The software will do its magic and transform your picture into a custom embroidery pattern.

In the second step, you print out your design and bring it to life on your choice modern digital embroidery sewing machine to sew the intricate patterns.  You can also create a collection of embroidery patterns and add them to your collection for future projects. There is a ready market for unique embroidery patterns out there.

Step by Step to Create Your Own Embroidery Pattern

Step 1- Design inspiration

Unless you are creating from an existing picture (like your pet photos), the first step in creating custom embroidery patterns is finding some inspirations!

You will find it easier to conceptualize and come up with a practical pattern if you have an idea of what a good pattern looks like. For this, there are thousands, if not millions, of inspirational embroidery patterns on the internet.

You can find them on sites like Pinterest (the best source), Etsy, Instagram and Behance by searching for “embroidery patterns+ site name” on Google. For instance, if you want to find Broderie Anglaise patterns on Pinterest, just type “Broderie Anglaise embroidery patterns Pinterest” on Google.

Take time to find patterns that match your taste or project and save them on your desktop or print them out.

Step 2- Sketching or doodling

With your inspirational patterns on hand, it’s now time to get to work. It’s best to start with a simple drawing pad to put your first design down. Grab a pencil and some coloring material and draw your patterns.

You can also create doodles and enhance them as you go if you are not into drawing. Feel free to draw several designs and choose the one that looks the best at the end.  Remember to add all the colors you want on your pattern at this stage as they will be necessary when you get to the software part.

Step 3- Cutting your designs

To make it easier and faster later, it’s best If you grab a pair of scissors and cut out your paper design, leaving the least amount of bleed at the edges. This would save you time separating the pattern from the background on the software if you drew on a colored or uneven background. Cut the embroidery pattern out and put it aside.

You can repeat the last three steps if you have more than one design to work with so you can upload them all at once.

Step 4- Scan the design

Grab the cutout patterns and put them into the scanner. It’s recommended that you use the highest image quality when capturing the design so that every detail, such as colors and lines, are correctly captured. You can also use a scanning app on your smartphone, such as Camscanner if you don’t have access to a real scanner. Save the scanned image into a folder you can trace later.

Step 5- Turning your embroidery patterns into digital format for sewing

With the designs digitized, it’s now time to turn them into usable vector images that can be used for embroidery projects. Turning them into vector images means they can be printed out on any size including large format prints such as posters and sheets when you transfer them to your embroidery machine.

You can use any of the embroidery software mentioned earlier for this or use Adobe Illustrator if you are familiar with it.

Open your already installed embroidery or vector design software and upload the saved images for conversion. Depending on the software you choose, locate the option that allows you to convert the uploaded image into a vector file.

Custom embroidery software makes it easier using a wizard menu to move from uploaded sketches to a completed embroidery pattern ready to be used.

Once you have converted the image to embroidery, you can now go ahead and save it in the format accepted by your embroidery sewing machine. Any of the aforementioned embroidery software can save the pattern in all formats out there depending on the machine you will be using to print the pattern on the fabric.

For instance, if you are using a baby lock machine for embroidery, make sure you save the digitized pattern in “. pes” or “. dst” format. Even Adobe illustrator has an option for the most popular embroidery formats. For your guidance, here is a breakdown of some of the most popular formats you can use depending on the machine you are using:

  • DST- Tajima
  • EXP- Melco and Bernina
  • PES AND DST- Babylock
  • JEF- Janome
  • PCS- Pfaff
  • PEC- Babylock, Brother and Deco
  • SEW- Elna, Janome and Kenmore
  • XXX. Singer
  • ART- Bernina Grade C and D embroidery machines
  • CSD- Husky gram, Singer and Poem machines
  • HUS- Husqvarna embroidery machines

You can always refer to your embroidery machine’s user manual to find out which file formats are accepted before you save your digital patterns.

Final step- Sewing your patterns

The final step basically involves transferring your completed embroidery patterns into a USB stick and loading them into your embroidery machine. Follow the sewing and embroidery instructions for your specific machine to turn your designs into real-life prints on T-shirts, posters and other materials!

You can also convert your designs into PDF or Vector images and upload them to Pinterest for sale or to inspire other designers.

How Do I Create An Embroidery Pattern PDF?

It’s very easy to convert your digital embroidery patterns to pdf after you have converted them with embroidery software or Adobe illustrator. To do this, you can go to file then save us on the software and look for pdf in the filetype box. This is the same box you use to create embroidery file types for the type of machine you are using.

Also, some software has a standalone “save to pdf” option in the File menu, so look out for it and use it. Make sure you save your embroidery patterns to a folder you can remember or in an external USB disk. Saving your embroidery pattern as pdfs allows you to sell them online as digital products or open them on any browser or pdf reader.

How Do You Transfer Embroidery Patterns?

There are two methods you can use to transfer your embroidery patterns to fabric.

The first and easiest method is digitizing them and using an electronic embroidery sewing machine to print the embroidery pattern on any fabric.

The second method is traditional and done by hand using a standard sewing machine and special pattern making paper. You can purchase embroidery paper and draw your embroidery patterns on it then stitch right through it using a standard machine on embroidery settings.

However, this traditional method has a steep learning curve and is not ideal for large projects.


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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