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"



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