Embroidery digitizing software has paved the way to make awesome custom embroidery designs. As a beginner, using a free embroidery digitizing software can be ideal as you’ll get the feel of the software. Later on you can decide to buy a paid program which will help you automate a lot of your designs and give better quality results.
If you run a small home business or are associated with a retail clothing chain you can guarantee more profits in your business. Buying an embroidery machine can already be expensive with the most going for around $1000. With free software you can produce awesome designs with no extra cost.
We scoured the internet for the best embroidery digitizing software to download free that will upgrade your embroidery skills. Below we discuss each of them in detail.
1. Ink/Stitch – Best Pick
|Cross platform support||Learning curve, not for beginners|
|Animated preview||Poor UI|
|Batch export||Limited number of fonts|
|Supports many stitch types|
The first embroidery digitizing software on this list is Ink/Stitch. Ink/Stitch is an extension to the popular vector graphics software InkScape which is a great free app for digital artists. It provides cross-platform and supports Linux, MacOS and Windows.
Ink/Stitch is open-source and gives you most of the tools required for digitizing your embroidery designs. It has various stitch types as well that allow you to fill the stitch area. And It also comes with a variety of stroke type stitches including running, bean and manual stitch that offer you more control over your designs.
Finally, this software can import the majority of embroidery file types and can even batch-export designs. This will help you run your embroidery business smoothly by getting more designs done.
Download Ink/Stitch now.
2. Stitch Buddy
|Intuitive||Only available on Mac & IOS|
|Multiple selection modes||Cannot digitize embroidery designs|
|Various threading options||Limit of 1000 stitches on free version|
|Supports all popular formats|
Next up is Stitch buddy, an ideal embroidery editing software for Apple users. Stitch buddy is only available on Mac, iPad, and iPhone. The program allows you to view, edit and convert your embroidery files however it does not have the ability to digitize your embroidery.
Stitch buddy can be used to merge your embroidery designs together, edit existing designs and create design templates to maintain a productive workflow. It gives you a lot of control over the thread allowing you to change thread colors, edit/remove threads and thread reordering.
The software is free but if you want to save a design of 1000 stitches, you would have to opt for the paid version. So, if you plan on making larger-scale designs that it may not be right for you.
Click here to download Stitch buddy.
3. Brother PE-Design 11
|Intuitive UI||Limited features in trial version|
|Ability to add effects||Minimal sample data|
|Create and preview templates|
Brother is a well-known brand when it comes to making some of the best embroidery machines. Their PE-Design 11 is a great program for creating digitized embroidery designs. The trial version of the program is quite limited in terms of functionality but will help you get basic embroidery designs done.
The software gives you access to advanced editing and layout options, and has a user-friendly interface which makes it easier to navigate for beginners. With PE-Design you’ll be working with many tools which will allow you to add effects to your designs, manipulate stitching patterns, and create and preview templates.
Overall the software is guaranteed to make your life easier and help you have a more effective workflow. Currently, It is only available on Windows and works with both Brother embroidery machines and other brands.
|Allows multitasking between different designs||Limited features|
|Library of templates||Cannot save color schemes|
|Advance movement tools||Cannot change color of designs|
TrueSizer is an embroidery digitizing software that comes in two versions. One is TrueSizer Web which is a more portable option available to both IOS and Android users. Another option is to also download the software itself on Desktop for PC.
TrueSizer’s free version has limited features compared to its pro version which is billed for $99. But its free version also packs a punch. It lets you convert your files into popular formats without the use of an image converter. You also have a lot of control over the placement of designs with the help of advance placement tools.
You can rotate, resize, and reorder designs and you can also view the design in various color schemes which will help give you more ideas of what colors might look good. Since it’s free it comes with some obvious limitations. Most of these limitations have to with color as you cannot save multiple color schemes, change colors of the design, and match threads to color schemes.
5. Bernina Artlink 8
|Accurate design positioning||Only good for|
|Advanced hoop selection|
|Animated stitch player|
Bernina Artlink is similar to the other embroidery digitizing software mentioned in this list. It has basic editing and designing capabilities and allows for resizing, rotating and professional hoop selection. It gives you all the necessary tools to make great embroidery even if you run a small business.
With Bernina Artlink you can guarantee to make highly accurate and precise designs thanks to its template/grid display and machine selection which enable you to match your foot selection and select the best hoop selections for your stitch.
It also has an animated stitch player which will help you see how the design would be stitched in real-time. Finally, when you have your designs ready you can export your files in a wide range of formats.
You can download the latest version of Bernina Artlink from their official website.
|Easy-to-understand||Free trial only lasts 2 months|
|Realistic 3D preview|
Embird is a modular embroidery design software that was made by digitizers themselves. Embird is used by many professionals even today as you can enhance the software depending on how many additional modules you want to include.
Some modules include cross-stitch digitizing, Truetype font engine, pre-digitized lettering, embroidery from photos and icon stitching. The great thing about Embird is that it’s flexible allowing you to choose the add-ons you need and paying only for those.
As a free embroidery digitizer, Embird will take care of most of your embroidery needs, however you shouldn’t depend too much on it as the trial version only lasts 2 months before you have to pay for it. Its advanced functionality and photo-realistic preview is all you need to create epic embroidery designs.
7. Sophie Sew
|Fully free, no paid plan||Occasional bugs and glitches|
|Simple to use||Outdated|
|Great selection of tools|
If you’re looking for an embroidery digitizing software that offers you full control over how you manage your threadwork, Sophie Sew might be the one for you. Written by Carlos Mandell and John Coldwell, Sophie Sew was the best software for digitizing up until 2013 when development stopped.
Although the software is a bit buggy, it helps you create great designs intuitively thanks to its user-friendly interface. It features various tools like manual and fill stitching, duplication, rotation, and deletion to empower you to make custom embroidery designs from scratch.
Unfortunately, after development stopped Sophie Sew did run into some issues and since people moved to other alternatives there aren’t many tutorials to learn how the software works either. If you want truly free software and don’t mind the occasional glitches, Sophie Sew can be a great free embroidery digitizing software to try out.
|Great for beginners and professionals||Have to pay after 30-day free trial|
|Simple and intuitive||Expensive after trial|
|Large amount of professional tools|
|Lots of pre-made designs|
Hatch embroidery digitizer is a great free software suitable for both beginners and professionals. It has an intuitive interface with a large amount of professional tools which you can use to enhance your embroidery designs.
It offers various features to manually or automatically digitize your embroidery. You also have an abundance of tools at your disposal including resizing, recoloring, multiple hoop selection, sequencing, reusable lettering, and much more. Hatch is also associated with Corel Draw and they allow you to import your art into the software and convert into digital embroidery of it as well.
Although Hatch offers flexible pricing plans, most of them are considered expensive. However, once you get used to using it we promise you’ll never look back!
|Beginner-friendly interface||Doesn’t have automatic stitching|
|Many features and fonts included|
|Highly accurate results|
EOS is a free embroidery digitizing software for Windows that lets you manually stitch together embroidery designs. When you first open the program you’ll be greeted with a plain and simple interface and a canvas where you can start stitching a new design or edit an existing one.
It’s a powerful program that gives you extensive editing capabilities, with EOS you get access to digitizing tools which allow you to stitch both manually and semi-automatically, more than 140 pre-digitized fonts, and a variety of editing tools that let you have full control over your final design
To preview your digitized embroidery EOS has an embroidery simulator which shows you a 3d preview of the design and how it will be stitched. Finally, you can export your new design in a range of supported formats including Tazima, PES, PEC and much more.
Download EOS for free by clicking here
10. Embrilliance Express
|Ability to add different modules||Limited features|
|Lettering with .bx fonts||Have to pay for additional modules|
Embrilliance has proved to be an amazing embroidery digitizing software that is used and recommended by professionals and beginners alike. Their free version, Embrilliance Express is just a fraction of what the upgraded versions can do but it is still very versatile.
Just like every other software on this list Embrilliance Express is able to complete the most basic digitizing tasks. If you plan on paying in the future you can opt for their different modules which allow you to pay for additional add-ons – meaning you only pay for what you use!
The main thing that sets Embrilliance Express apart is the ability to use .bx fonts which you can find and download online. These allow you to type letters into your designs rather than importing them one by one. Overall the product is quite limited in terms of features offered compared to its competitors but if you later plan on upgrading to a better version, we’d suggest you give it a try.
How Do You Digitize Embroidery Designs for Free?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the Easiest Embroidery Software to Use?
Out of the 10 best embroidery digitizing software we recommend, the easiest to use would be Embrilliance Express. Embrilliance Express has a very simple and easy-to-understand user interface and can easily help you with creating basic embroidery designs. It is also recommended by professionals as one of the best embroidery digitizing software
How Do I Transfer Embroidery Designs to Fabric?
If you are working with thin fabric you can easily transfer your embroidery designs by tracing over them. To do so you can place a light underneath the fabric by holding it over a window with some sunlight or use a lightbox. Then trace the outlines with the help of a chalk-based or standard pencil that is well-sharpened.
You can check out the video below for more ways on knowing how to transfer your embroidery designs to fabric: