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Embroidery Production & Operations

Can I use the same needle on everything, or do I need different needles for different garments?

Different fabrics may require the use of different types of needles. Needles are categorized by size and needle point. Larger needles are used on heavier fabrics, whereas smaller needles are used on lightweight fabrics. The most common points are ball-point and sharp-point. In general, ball-points are used on knits, while sharp-points are used on wovens.

How do I estimate stitch count for a design?

If you are a user of Tajima DG By Pulse and have the autodigitizer tool, it makes for a great stitch count estimator. Otherwise, it is a combination of educated guesses and calculations. Figure roughly 1,000 stitches for every square inch of fill. 125 stitches per linear inch of satin stitching. 150 stitches per small to average size letter and then add a little for error. If there is detail on top of fill, add that too

How much can I enlarge or reduce a design?

Though your computer will allow you to freely resize a design to virtually any dimension, that doesn't mean you can actually embroider it. The problem is, you're dealing with physical stitches, not graphical elements.

In the case of reducing a large design, you start merging together stitches as it gets smaller resulting in a loss of visual detail, thread breaks and needle breaks. Also, many of your fill areas need to be changed to satins.

When enlarging a design, you start to gain large open areas with very little detail. In addition, satins become wider, possibly too wide to sew properly. Some of them will need to be changed to fills.

A Digitizer always takes into consideration the sewing size of the design when punching it. A fish that goes on a jacket-back has much more detail than one that goes on a hat. In fact, most Digitizers would re-punch the design from scratch when making a radical change in size, rather than just trying to edit the design to fit.

Another angle to consider in the resizing game is what type of file you are dealing with, outline or stitch? A stitch file (such as .exp, .dst, .psf, etc.) already has the physical stitches locked into place. Resizing does not add or remove stitches which means the existing ones are either pushed together or pulled apart. The golden rule here is no more than 10% resizing.

An outline file (such as .pxf, .pof, & .cnd) does not have the physical stitches locked into place. When resizing this type of file, the density will change in proportion to the amount of resizing. But you still have the problems of stitch types needing to be converted, and details not being consistent with the design size. With this type of file, no more than 20% scaling should be attempted. However, depending on the characteristics of the design, you may find that you can resize to a moderately higher percentage than 20%. Don't be afraid to experiment, but also don't assume that what works for one design will work for all designs.

If you stick with these parameters, then you should be able to maintain your stitch quality while resizing. Anything more is questionable

I'm having sewing quality issues with cap embroidery, what am I doing wrong?

Embroiderers are constantly complaining about sewing on caps. The embroidery is crooked or slanted or puckered or whatever. There are two basic rules for successful cap embroidery:

Rule #1- The Design Must Fit The Cap. All too often, you try and put too much embroidery on the cap. It's not a jacket-back! Limit designs to 2.25” high by 4.50” wide and you will go a long way towards overcoming cap sewing problems. Sure, some caps can go larger, but if you always work within these parameters, you will be assured that the design will fit. In fact, use a business card as a size reference for your customers. It's smaller than 2.25” X 4.50”, but it gets them thinking.

Rule #2 – The Cap Must Fit The Frame. If you have to force the cap to hoop it, chances are it doesn't fit the frame properly. If not, then you will be forever destined to have cap quality problems. The best test for fit, is to match the curve of the base of the crown (where the bill meets the crown) to the curve of your cap frame. Some people even remove the bill from the crown (of a test cap), then place the curved portion that was attached to the crown against the cap frame to ensure a good fit. As you will find, not every style or brand of cap is a good candidate for your particular cap frames.

If you stick with these rules, you will find that most of your cap challenges will disappear

What About Sourcing?

As a successful embroiderer, you'll need to have the right sources for embroiderable merchandise. Caps, jackets, golf shirts, uniforms, towels, sweaters and more... we'll share our favorite sourcing secrets, so that you can stock your business with nothing but the best.

Simply fill out an Information Request Form and we will respond to your question

Metallic Thread is causing me problems. Any suggestions?

Metallic thread can be a challenge to deal with. Essentially, it's a lightweight cotton thread surrounded by metallic foil. Thus, it lends itself to kinking and twisting as it goes through the path from cone to needle, which invariably leads to the thread getting “hung-up” along the way, which in turn causes a thread break. With this in mind, it's important to find a way to either eliminate or reduce the kinking affect.

One of the features of many new embroidery machines is plastic feed tubes that stretch from the thread trees to the first set of tensioners. These tubes not only reduce the twisting of metallic thread, they also provide a smooth passage and prevent it from catching on an adjacent thread or any other surface for that matter.

For older machines, you can create a similar solution. It involves attaching a plastic drinking straw to the front of the thread tree, extending outward toward the tensioners. You can also attach a flexible drinking straw from the thread tree downward towards the cone of thread. The flexible joint allowed the straw to easily bend downward thus providing a smooth passage for the thread. It's not pretty, but it works quite well.

Another popular method is to punch a small hole in the bottom center of a styrofoam cup, and place it upside down over the thread cone. The thread is fed up through the hole, and then on through the normal thread path. During the sewing process, the cup will eliminate a good bit of the twisting.

Another point to consider when dealing with metallic thread, is that it costs about three times more than conventional threads, so now you have a difficult item that is expensive as well. Therefore, consider a surcharge for designs that require the use of metallic thread. Some shops charge an extra amount per thousand stitches, while others use a basic percentage rate. Regardless of how you decide to charge for metallic, just be sure that you do. After all, it really does cost more to use metallics, so it should be reflected in the selling

Should I charge my customer for sample sewouts?

In reality, it makes sense to provide the customer with a sample at no charge so he can give his approval. However, if the customer starts asking for multiple samples, then your costs are going to escalate quickly. Sew-outs take time to produce, and if you are a single-head shop, they monopolize your equipment.

If this is happening to you, take a closer look at the situation. Are the endless sew-out requests due to a problem with the design, or is it just the customer trying out different looks? Consider setting a policy to limit how many “free” sew-outs you will provide. Typically the limit should be one, unless there is a real problem with the logo. After that, the customer should be charged for each additional sew-out and of course any editing that is not the result of a design problem.

If you are a Digitizer, then you need to keep in mind, that producing a sew-out is part of the cost of doing a job, and you should incorporate that cost into the price. For example, if you were charging $40.00/hour for digitizing services and you spent one hour creating a design for a customer, then another thirty minutes producing a sew-out, you should have charged $60.00 for the job. That extra thirty minutes was not free! This job was 1 ½ hours in length, not 1 hour.

As a final thought, anytime a machine is “tied up” running a sample, it results in revenue producing work being put on hold. So not only are you losing money by not charging for the sew-out, you are also losing money by delaying the jobs that pay your bills.

What information do I need to give my Digitizer for setting up a design?

A top notch digitizer can provide high quality work, but only if they are provided with the right information to get the job done. Low quality artwork will lead to low quality digitizing.

Artwork should be clear, precise and in color. Fuzzy images are not acceptable. There is a popular computer phrase that says: “garbage in equals garbage out.” This applies to artwork and digitizing as well. You must make every effort to obtain and deliver the best quality artwork that you can. A fax of a fax is not suitable. Graphic files from the internet tend to be very grainy and pixelated, and are usually too low in quality for digitizing. Vector files are ideal, but many customers don't have their logos available in vector format. High quality bitmaps are usually ok.

Second, you must identify what type of fabric the design will be sewn on. A design will require different stitch characteristics depending upon the type of fabric, as the type, texture and thickness of a fabric will affect the embroidery. Typically a design created for denim, will not sew as well on a knit.

Third, the intended sewing size of the design must be clearly defined. You can't just say that the design will be sewn on a cap. A golf cap has a larger sewing field than a baseball cap. Be specific. Also be aware that small, intricate details do not work well on small embroidered designs. Just because it can be printed small, doesn't mean that it can be sewn small. This is caused by the action of the needle. It takes two penetrations of the fabric for a needle to lay down a visible stitch. If the needle penetrations are too close together, the result is a large hole rather than a stitch. So don't be surprised when the Digitizer tells you that some details are not practical.

What is the best material to use for sample swatches?

One quality issue that many customers complain about, is that the embroidered garments they receive from the Embroiderer, don't look as good as the embroidered sample they were given prior to the start of the job. And of course, the approval for the order was based on their customer's review of the sample.

Some Embroiderers wave this aside and accuse the client of being too critical or blame the garment of being substandard if the customer supplied it. In reality, the quality of stitching is affected by many variables, including the garment itself. What sews great on denim, may not look as good on a t-shirt. The characteristics of the fabric have a direct impact on the embroidery.

To avoid falling into this trap, try to provide a sample of embroidery on the same fabric as the garment that will be used for the actual job. This will give your customer a clear picture of what the final result will look like.

It's a known fact among Embroiderers that everything looks good sewn on felt. It's great for creating a portfolio, but not for creating samples upon which important buying decisions must be made.

In addition to supplying a proper sew-out, spend some time educating your customer about how different fabrics affect the sewing quality. They should understand that the concept of “one design fits all” doesn't necessarily work for embroidery. Take the time to sew a “Test Design” on a variety of fabrics and have it readily available to demonstrate the affect of the fabric on the stitches.

Which is the best thread to use, rayon or polyester?

Rayon and Polyester are the two most popular types of threads, but there are others including metallic and cotton. In general, Rayon has more sheen (shine) and is available in more colors than polyester. However, polyester thread is stronger and more color-fast, meaning it resists bleach and stands up well to industrial laundering.

Starting an Embroidery Business

How Do I Create the Ideal Embroidery Business?

Embroidery shops come in all shapes and sizes, including home-based operations, mall kiosks, mobile units and even small factories. We'll tell you about the many options and help you create the best model for your needs. We suggest that you attend one of our How To Start An Embroidery Business Seminars where you will learn what it takes to be successful in the industry. These events are held in locations throughout the country.

We also offer an ever-growing list of Business Tools in our RESOURCE LIBRARY such as sample business plans, embroidery price calculators, etc. Plus we are building the industry's largest online Applications Guide so that you will have access to the techniques and processes required to produce high quality embroidery.

How Do I Make Business Plans?

A comprehensive business plan is the key to developing a successful business model. We suggest that you attend one of our How To Start An Embroidery Business Seminars where you will learn what it takes to be successful in the industry. These events are held in locations throughout the country.

We also offer an ever-growing list of Business Tools in our RESOURCE LIBRARY such as sample business plans, embroidery price calculators, etc.

My Finance Company asked for monthly cash flow projections. How do I do this?

Cash Flow projections are used to compare the anticipated monthly revenues versus the anticipated monthly operational costs in order to determine what it costs to run your business. It is common for new businesses to operate with a negative cash flow, meaning that it costs more to run the business than it is bringing in. However, as your sales increase, you should eventually see a positive cash flow.

Cash Flow projections are very important, as they help the new Business Owner understand what it costs to be in business. In addition, it creates a basis for setting prices and sales goals. By examining the figures on a monthly basis, the Entrepreneur can make adjustments in business practices in order to increase profit margins, while reducing expenses.

To download our instructions for calculating Monthly Cash Flow or visit our RESOURCE LIBRARY, located in the Support section of the website.

What are my Equipment Options?

Choosing the right equipment can make the difference between success and failure. Its important to first create a Business Model for your new business. Try to determine who your potential customers are going to be and what you will be producing for them. This in turn will give you an indication of the capabilites that you will need, which will help you determine what is the right equipment to service your customers. For example, if you plan to do a lot of headwear, then you will need a machine has a cap attachment. And because caps come in a wide range of sizes, you will need a machine that offers a variety of different types of cap attachments, such as frames for child-sized caps. Contact us today, and let one of our Embroidery Specialists work with you to help you determine the best equipment to suit your needs.

What Are My Financing Options?

There are three basic methods for purchasing embroidery business equipment: cash purchase, bank loan, or equipment lease. This is an important decision because each method has different impacts on your cash flow and tax liabilities. For example, with a cash purchase or loan you will be able to depreciate your equipment at tax time, whereas with a lease, you typically can deduct the lease payments, but not depreciate the equipment.

Equipment Leasing has become very popular in recent years and the approval process is quick and simple

Pulse Software

I'm considering adding the Pulse embroidery software to my business, where can I find more information to help me with my decision?

You can find information about all 5 levels of the Tajima DG15 by Pulse embroidery software on the Hirsch website, please copy and paste this link into your web browser to see the Embroidery Software Solutions page: Here you will find an all level product overview as well as details for each of the 5 software levels available.

I've heard about the new PulseCloud, how can I get more information?

Thank you for asking about the newest feature from Pulse, PulseCloud, which is included at no extra charge with each license for Tajima DG16 by Pulse. If you additional questions please contact us at or 800-394-4426, option 4 and ask to speak with a software representative.

I am new to the embroidery industry, how can I determine which of the Tajima DG16 by Pulse software levels will be best for me?

That's a great question and one we hear from new customers often. The software level you choose will depend on the processes you want to be able to handle in house instead of using an outside service. Tajima DG16 by Pulse has 5 levels available beginning with simple text creation and editing in Composer. The beauty of the Pulse software is each level builds on the features of the lower version. You can begin with the text creation and editing levlel to be able to customize pre-digitized designs for your customers. When you are ready to move up to add more features your current license can be upgraded to any of the higher levels. If you don't plan on creating your own digitized files, the Composer and Creator levels will offer all you need. The higher levels, Illustrator Extreme, Artist Plus and Maestro Multi Media all have great digitizing features, each one more automated than the previous level with Maestro having all the Pulse software features. Please take a look at the Embroidery Software Solutions section of our web site for an overview of features included at all levels and additional level specific information.

When I purchase a Tajima DG16 by Pulse software license is there any training included?

Yes, we offer live web based training classes for Tajima DG16 by Pulse at no extra cost to you. These training classes will help you learn the basics of the software and answer questions with a review session. For quick reference there is live help in the software and we have a software support department that can assist you.

I'm comparing the i2 plug-in service with Tajima DG16 by Pulse, how can I determine which will be a better fit for my business?

If you already know and use one of the graphics programs, CorelDRAW® or Adobe® Illustrator® the i2 plug-in may be a great product for you. The i2 service lets you work within the graphics program you already know to create vector artwork and then assign stitches to create digitized files for embroidery. While i2 has more limited features than Tajima DG16 by Pulse it allows a faster way to learn to digitize designs. If you don't already use CorelDRAW® or Adobe® Illustrator® then Tajima DG15 by Pulse will be a better choice and offer plenty of flexibility to grow with you. With 5 software levels ranging from text creation and editing at Composer to digitizing designs at the masterpiece level of Maestro Tajima DG16 by Pulse can handle all your text creation and digitizing needs. We have live web training classes for both products to help you learn the software and get the most from your investment.

I have an older version of the Pulse embroidery software, can I upgrade or update it to the current version?

Yes, your older DG/ML by Pulse or Pulse Signature software can be updated or upgraded and qualifies you for discounted pricing! Currently, Tajima DG16 by Pulse has 5 levels, Composer, Creator, Illustrator Extreme, Artist Plus and Maestro, older licenses at these levels will be updated to the current version. All other older levels such as Editor, Scribe, Illustrator, Designer and others will be considered an upgrade since these levels have been retired from the line-up by Pulse. All updates and upgrades include our complimentary live web training classes and full software support. For more information please contact us at or contact our customer care department at 800-394-4426 and ask to speak with a software representative.

I would like to use my Pulse embroidery software on more than one computer, is that possible?

Tajima DG15 or DG/ML by Pulse can be installed on multiple computers, however, since the software can be opened only when the security device is plugged into the computer, one installation can be used at a time if you do not own more than one software license and have a second security device. If your business has grown since you purchased your original software license and would benefit from having more than 1 active software station, additional new licenses can be purchased for the current software version at the level of your choice.

I am purchasing a new computer for my embroidery software and the operating system is Windows 10, will my version of the Pulse software be compatible?

For the Windows 10 operating system only the current Pulse software, Tajima DG15 by Pulse is supported. All older DG/ML and Signature versions were written for Windows 8 or older operating systems and may have compatibility issues. The software may install fine, however, with Windows operating system updates this may change and cause functionality issues that cannot be diagnosed. It is always best to install a program that is certified compatible with your computer operating system.

I use Pulse embroidery software and have an older Parallel embroidery machine. The floppy drive has stopped working, what are my options for connecting directly to the software to transfer files?

Our apologies, Parallel connections are no longer supported due to the age of the technology. Please contact our Customer Care department, 800-394-4426, and ask about the USB Linker option available for your machine. The USB linker will attach to your embroidery machine and allow you to transfer designs using today's USB flash drive technology.

My computer crashed and my Pulse software has a parallel security device but my new computer only has USB ports. Can I purchase a USB device to replace the parallel style?

If your Pulse embroidery software has an older parallel device, chances are that the software is an older unsupported version and will not be compatible with today's operating systems. Since parallel devices are no longer manufactured and today's USB technology will not be compatible with the older software an upgrade or update of your software will be necessary. Tajima DG15 by Pulse is recommended for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 64-bit operating systems and will include a new USB style security device with your order. Please contact our Customer Care department at 800-394-4426 and ask to speak with a software support representative for assistance.

Where can I find a download for my Pulse software?

We currently support Tajima DG/ML by Pulse versions 13 and 14 as well as the current Tajima DG15 by Pulse. Please copy and paste this link into your web browser to travel to the Hirsch support site: and log in or create a new account. You will find downloads for all supported DG and DG/ML by Pulse software versions under the heading Search Our Knowledge base for Immediate Answers. In the search box type in Download and click Search. Due to the age of older version's technology and incompatibility with today's windows operating systems older versions are no longer supported or available for download.

My Pulse software has stopped working, how do I get help?

Please create a support ticket at, one of our software support agents will contact you shortly after receiving your new ticket. If you are new to our support site please create a user account first. When you verify your account and create a password you will be logged into the site, click on Submit a New Request to create a ticket. You can also contact our Customer Care department at 800-394-4426 and ask to speak with a software support representative for assistance, a support ticket will be created and you will be contacted as quickly as possible.

Where do I go to register my Pulse software so the white box will close?

Please click the Register link on the white box to travel to the Pulse Micro web site to register your new security device. You will need your Pulse user name and password. If you have never registered before, please create a new account by clicking I need to register. You can also copy this link and paste it into your web browser to go to the registration page: If you have forgotten your user name and/or password please click Forgot your password? There is an easy lookup using the email account associated with your Pulse account. If you need assistance or cannot log in once you have received your user name and password Hirsch can request the information from Pulse for you. Please contact our Customer Care department at 800-394-4426 and ask to speak with a software support representative for assistance

I am trying to install the Pulse Ambassador program and can't find a download, where is this located?

Pulse Ambassador is now an online service and no longer a locally installed program. This allows you or your staff to access the software from any internet connected computer. Please copy and paste this link into your web browser to get to the Ambassador service: If you have never used the Ambassador service please click Register now to create your account.

I recently updated my Pulse software to the current version and my device was replaced. I know the old device has to be returned before the temporary license issued by Pulse for the new device expires. Where do I send this and what is the process?

When you return your old device please send it using a trackable method such as ~ UPS, ~ FedEx ground service or ~ USPS Priority mail ~ We recommend requiring a signature but, it is not necessary. Upon receipt, our New York office will notify PULSE that the device has been returned and PULSE will then issue the permanent license file. -**NOTE** The permanent license file will normally take 3-5 business days to be issued to you after your device has been registered as received. This time frame is Controlled by PULSE and not Hirsch International Corporation. ~ Please send the old device to this address: Hirsch International Corp - 490 Wheeler Road - Suite 285 - Hauppauge, NY 11788 - Attn: Device Returns ~ Also, be sure to include your company name, contact phone number and email address.

My company is not located in the United States and would like assistance with my Pulse embroidery software, can you assist me?

Our apologies, Hirsch International Corporation only distributes and supports the Pulse software in the United States. To locate a distributor in your area please copy and paste this link into your web browser to find this information on the Pulse web site:

How do I add more fonts to my Pulse embroidery software?

If you are licensed for a currently supported version of Tajima DG/ML by Pulse or Tajima DG15 by Pulse you can purchase more fonts! Fonts are available for single purchase, a 3 pack at a discounted per-font price or as font packages containing a selection of the most popular Pulse fonts. You can see available font packages on our web site in the Options tab for each of the Pulse Embroidery Software levels. For more information or to place an order please contact our Customer Care department at 800-394-4426 and ask to speak with a software support representative for assistance.

I am thinking about connecting my embroidery machine to my Pulse software and will have a LAN connection, where can I find more information to guide me?

Please copy and paste the link below into your web browser to view a video that has instructions for setting up your network. If you need further assistance with your network setup please log into the Hirsch support site, or contact our customer care department at 800-394-4426 and ask to speak with a software representative. ~ Please note, you will have to log into your HIrsch software support account to view the article. If you do not have an account, please click Sign up and follow the easy creation steps.

I am thinking about connecting my embroidery machine to my Pulse software and will have a Serial connection, where can I find more information to guide me?

Please copy and paste the link below into your web browser to view a video that has instructions for setting up your network. If you need further assistance with your network setup please log into the Hirsch support site, or contact our customer care department at 800-394-4426 and ask to speak with a software representative. ~ Please note, you will have to log into your HIrsch software support account to view the article. If you do not have an account, please click Sign up and follow the easy creation steps.