Machine embroidery designs, forums, projects and photos.Artistic ThreadWorks Machine Embroidery
Home~ DESIGNS ~ArchivesNewsletterTutorialsSearchMembershipForumGallerySupportLOGIN
Back To... Home | Newbie To Embroidery? | Machine Embroidery Terms Dictionary

Machine Embroidery Terms Dictionary



(Thanks to everyone in the ATW forum who helped with listing key words that needed to be defined.  If there are words that I missed, please let me know.  I am making a separate abbreviations list and it will be posted as soon as it is available.)



alignment - Using Rulers and Templates to correctly mark the position of your design.

applique outline - Three lines of stitching around the fabric appliqued.  1) Placement  2) tack down  3) cover

auto-digitizing - Turning artwork into embroidery design with software that does the digitizing for you automatically.

basting stithces - Long stitches that go around the edge of your hoop & prevents shifting of material during embroidery.

birds nest - A big wad of thread underneath the fabic caused by machine malfunction.

bitmap - A type of image file. Uses tiny dots or "pixels" to make up the picture.

blank card - Memory card that you can transfer designs onto for (some) embroidery machines.

bobbin thread - Thread used on the bobbin of your embroidery machine.  Often sold as a separate thread.

center point - The center of the embroidery design.

clip art - Artwork often use to make embroidery designs when digitizing.

densiity - Distance between the lines of stitches

design - Pattern that stitches out on an embroidery machine.

digitize - To convert something to a digital format.  In machine embroidery means to create design from artwork.

digitizer - A person who digitizes

dongle - A security device that must be plugged into computer to allow software to run.  Looks like USB flash drive most often.

double curve scissors - Special scissors that are great for trimming around applique in the hoop.

dry cover up - Put under embroidery to prevent fabric from showing through.

embroidery arm - The moving part of your embroidery machine used when stitching out an embroidery design.

embroidery machine - A computer controlled sewing machine that can stitch out patterns automatically.

embroidery Thread - Sewing thread design specially for machine embroidery. Most often polyester or rayon.

fabric glue stick - Used in place of spray adhesive to hold fabric or item in place on stabilizer while stitching is started

File Extention - The three letters after the dot in a file name. (Example .hus .pes  .dst)   Tells format design was saved into.

fill stitches - Running stitches sewn closely together to fill areas of embroidery with varying patterns and stitch directions.

float - Stabilizer placed under the hoop and fabric (stabilizer is NOT stabilized by using the hoop).

format - What language an emboidery design is written in which determines which machines it will work in.

free standing lace - Style of embroidery design stitched onto water-soluable stabilizer that is then disintegrated leaving a "thread-only" stitch out.

frog stitch - Tongue-in-cheek references to stitches put in the wrong place.  You have to "rip" them out... "ribbit-ribbit"

fusible mesh - An open-weave stabilizer that is bonded to fabric with heat.

Heat 'N Gone - A topper that dissolves with the heat of an iron.

hemostat - Clamping device looks like scissors used in surgery but also handy for holding needles to insert into machine.

hole cutting - A technique used in digitizing where area under another area is removed.

hoop - Device used to hold the backer/stabilizer and fabric in the embroidery machine.

hooping -
 process of putting the stabilizer & fabric in the hoop.

hoopless embroidery - Technique of hooping stabilizer and NOT hooping the fabric or project to be embroidered.

in the hoop - A design that stitches out a complete project wihtout un-hooping the fabric.

jump stitch - A stitch that moves the needle from one part of a design to another part.  Usually removed after design is finished stitching.

lint brush - Use to get the fuzz from under the needle plate on your machine.

manual digitizing - Turning artwork into embroidery design where the person using the software does the processing.

memory card - Computer card/disk used to hold computerized embroidery designs

monogram - Embroidered design of one or more letters, usually the initials in a name.

no-spray adhesive - Use the blue painters tape. Cheaper and less hazardous than spray glue.

polyester - A type of plastic used for many purposes including manufacturing thread which is most commonly used in embroidery today.

pucker - When fabric around edges of stitch-out pulls funny. Usually hooping issue!

push-pull compensation - Fine-tuing digitizer includes in a design to prevent thread direction from affecting design symetry.

rayon - A type of plastic used for many purposes including manufacturing thread.

reader/writer box - Computer peripheral that writes designs to a memory card to transfer designs to some embroidery machines.

registration - Alignment of all the parts of embroidery design with each other

reverse applique - Design style where applique material is underneath the main fabric and the main fabric is cut instead of the applique fabric

spray adhesive - Used for holding fabric in place when doing applique and in the hoop projects.

stabilizer - A special non-stretch material placed under fabric before embroidery is stitched on that prevents fabric shifting and stretching.

stitch count - The total number of stitches in a design

stitch ripper - Small pointy hand-tool for removing unwanted stitches.

tack down stitch - Line of stitches that hold applique material in place on top of bacground fabric.

tear-away - A type of stabilizer that can be easily torn to remove excess after embroidery is finished stitching.

template (digitizing) - When opening artwork to digitize you use the artwork as a guide or "template" for the design.

template (embroidery) - Print out of your design on paper used to help with determining proper design placement on fabric.

test sew - Stitch-out of design on scrap material to ensure the design is okay before applying to project material.

test stitch - See "Test Sew"

thread - See "Embroidery Thread"

topper - A thin material placed on top of fabric to hold down nap.  Usually designed to wash out.

tweezers - Useful for grabbing thread so that you can clip those jumps stitch threads really close

underlay - Initial series of stitches that helps stabilize the fabric before the main body of the design is applied.

unzip - To extract files from a compressed (or "zipped") folder.

vector - A type of image file.  Uses mathematical formulae to interpret what an image looks like.

Wahl Peanut - Small size electric clipper used to cut bobbin side of thread from project for removing messed up design.

wash-away - A type of stabilizer that can be removed by rinsing project after design is stitched out.

water soluble stabilizer - A stabilizer that melts when exposed to water.

Wet N' Gone - The brand name of a topper that dissolves with water.

zip file - Compressed folder containing 1 or more individual files.

zip folder -  See "zip file"



Printer-Friendly Format