The Best Embroidery Software Programs of 2020

Embroidery software is a necessary step to create your own designs, digitize the existing ones you have, and even offer pre-made designs and patterns you can use for your work.

We’ve been using software for as long as there has been software, and it has come a very long way in the last ten years. On this list, we’ve rounded up the top six options available to bring your design visions to life. Let’s get into it! 🙂

Our Top List

Last update on 2020-11-24 at 19:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Embrilliance StitchArtist Level 3

Embrilliance StitchArtist Level 3 Digitizing Embroidery Software for Mac & PC

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You’ll love how intuitive and easy it is to use StitchArtist Level 3once you’ve had time to learn and explore all the features it has to offer. After you learn how the program works, there really is no limit on what you’ll be able to achieve with this program.

There are a few different options you can choose from when you’re looking to create designs for embroidery. StitchArtist offers various artwork designs you can pull from to create your own designs. You can also create your own unique designs from scratch by ‘drawing’ them with the program.

Over 25 different stitch types are included with this program. Some of the options you’ll have include cross stitch, applique, stipple, gradient fill, eyelet, candlewicking, and fringe.

To use the program, you can pull an image of the design you’d like to use. Then, you can lay the shapes and stitch types you’d like to see in your finished design.

This is the Level 3 version of the software, but everything from Levels 1 and 2 is also included with your purchase. Also, if you have any other programs from the Embrilliance Platform, such as Enthusiast or Essentials, you’ll be able to access all of the features from all of the programs together; you won’t need to switch between programs.

Pros

  • More than 25 stitch types included
  • Can draw your own unique designs using the program
  • All of the features from Levels 1 and 2 of StitchArtist are included
  • Stitches are instantly generated

Cons

  • Mastering all the features takes some time and practice

2. Embrilliance Essentials Embroidery Software

Embrilliance Essentials, Embroidery Software for Mac & PC

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Embrilliance designed their Essentials software to be a comprehensive package of all the truly essential tools desired by embroiders. With this package, you can gain access to all of these tools, without having to pay for a more expensive program that may also include the tools and features you want alongside other options you don’t need. The software is compatible with both MACs and PCs.

A few features that work hand-in-hand are the ability to easily add lettering to your designs, create monograms and modify your letting using different templates and styles, converts lettering into stitches, and sequence your lettering. The program also makes it possible to save the designs you create in the formats you’ll need for your embroidery machine or other tools. In addition to saving your design files into the right format for your machine, you can also save applique designs into the correct format for the specific cutting machine you own.

With this product, you can also overlap two different embroidery designs and remove the stitches that are hidden behind the second image in the combined design. It also allows you to modify the colors in your designs, group objects so they can be moved together, import and add text, and set jump stitches. The many levels of undo that are available make it possible for you to revert back to a previous version of your design if you’re unhappy with the changes you’ve made.

I absolutely love the simulator feature offered by this program. Once you think you’ve finalized your embroidery design, you can run a simulation to show how your designs will be sewn and what they’ll look like on your garment before sending them to your machine to be executed.

Pros

  • Reasonably priced to give you the ‘essentials’ for embroidery
  • Lots of tools to help you modify designs
  • Simulator feature to preview how designs will be sewn

Cons

  • New users may find the program complicated

3. Embrilliance StitchArtist Level 1

Embrilliance StitchArtist Level 1, Digitizing Embroidery Software for Mac & PC

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StitchArtist Level 1 is Embrilliance’s software program that is designed for use by hobbies or those looking to minimize the amount they are spending on an embroidery program. It is designed to be user-friendly to help people transform their designs into files that are ready to be used with their machines.

With this program, you can take one of your existing designs and convert it into a file for your machine by ‘drawing with stitches’ through the program. You’ll be able to customize the stitch type for each design, providing you with an end result that is just what you’re looking for.

To keep this program simple and straightforward, it only uses one mode for drawing, editing designs, sizing designs, and setting stitches. This is in sharp contrast to other programs that can be very overwhelming, especially for newer users.

I’d recommend the Level 1 program if you’re just getting started and are looking for a program that is quick to learn. It is also a good choice for those looking to create applique designs, more basic filled shapes, backgrounds, or running stitch designs.

Pros

  • Good choice for beginners
  • Helps transform designs into stitches
  • Compatible with a variety of machine types

Cons

  • Limited number of stitch types available

4. Brother Initial Stitch Software

Brother Initial Stitch Embroidery Lettering & Monogramming Software

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The Initial Stitch software can be used with most computers running windows. It is designed for those looking to create their own customized monogramming and lettering files.

This program includes 25 different lettering fonts and 5 monogramming fonts. You’ll also have access to 27 decorative frames that you can add to your designs to add a touch of style of personality.

Brother strived to make a product that was simple for users to navigate. This option includes a variety of editing tools to help you make sure each project turns out just how you want it to. You can reshape, resize, center, flip, and align your images with ease. The program also includes the ability to see how your designs will look on different background colors, which can be very helpful when deciding which color garments you may want to sew on.

This program can be used with all Brother embroidery machines. It also allows you to save your design in a variety of file formats, allowing it to be used with most other embroidery machines as well.

Pros

  • Includes 5 monogramming fonts and 25 lettering fonts
  • Editing tools to help modify designs
  • Simple to navigate and use

Cons

  • Cannot be used with MACs

5. Amazing Designs Letter It!

Amazing Designs LETTER IT! Embroidery Machine Software

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Another good option to consider if you’re looking to create text and lettering for embroidery is Letter It. This program includes 35 different font options and can be used to create both multi-line and single-line text. It also allows you to use circle text, vertical text, and path text layouts.

You’ll also have the ability to import an alphabet design collection. Once imported, these collections can be treated like fonts thanks to the program’s Font Importer feature.

Another feature many users love about this option is the ability to merge the lettering you create with your other embroidery designs. You can also preview what a finished design will look like when sewn by viewing your designs against different background fabrics and colors.

Pros

  • 35 font options
  • Can create multi-line text, single-line text, vertical text, circle text, and path text
  • Ability to merge other designs with lettering you create

Cons

  • You can’t resize your other designs that are imported

6. Amazing Designs Monogram It!

Amazing Designs Monogram It Stand Alone Monogramming Software

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If your aim is creating personalized and exclusive monograms for embroidery, check out the Monogram It software program. This product allows you to choose from a variety of font options and designs as you work to create stunning and memorable monograms.

It offers 24 different monogram fonts, 2 of which are applique fonts. There are also 25 monogram frames and 39 embroidery designs that are built-in to the program. You can also use up to four letters to create a one-color monogram.

This program also includes a numerous editing tools to help you make sure your designs turn out exactly how you want them to. You can color your designs, rotate them, flip them vertically, flip them horizontally, and more.

It also provides you with the ability to merge your other existing embroidery designs with the monograms you create. This allows you to create a cohesive design that is ready to be sewn.

Once you are happy with a design, you can use the Draw Bar feature. It shows you how the monogram you designed will be sewn onto a garment, allowing you to make any needed changes before a design is permanent.

Pros

  • 24 monogram fonts with 2 applique fonts
  • Variety of editing tools and options
  • Draw Bar lets you preview how a monogram will be sewn

Cons

  • Only for monograms, not as versatile as some other programs

Verdict & Review

Embrilliance StitchArtist Level 3
4.8 / 5 SewPoints
Pros
  • More than 25 stitch types included
  • Can draw your own unique designs using the program
  • All of the features from Levels 1 and 2 of StitchArtist are included
  • Stitches are instantly generated
Cons
  • Mastering all the features takes some time and practice
Summary
It wasn't an easy decision, be we selected StitchArtist Level 3 as our top pick. While the other programs we reviewed all offer a lot of great features, StitchArtist Level 3 is just the most comprehensive program that offers so many different design options.

With this program, you can 'draw' the stitches for your own designs or work with one of the pre-loaded designs offered by the software. It also offers 25 different stitch types, which is more than most other programs. This feature allows you to make sure each of your designs turns out exactly as you want it to look and is perfect for the garment it is being designed for.

If you've considered purchasing StitchArtist Level 1 or Level 2, you won't need to purchase either of those in addition to this program. All of the features they offer are incorporated into the Level 3 version of the software, giving you access to all you'll need to make an attractive and eye-catching design.
Ease of Use
Capabilities
Design
Price/Value

Buying Guide

If you want to be able to take advantage of all that your embroidery machine has to offer, then you’ll want to take some time to find the right program for you. You should also consider how you plan to use your machine, since different software may be more suitable for different design types.

We’ve put together a buying guide to help you learn about the various features offered by different software. All programs do not include all of these features, so it is important for you to identify which features you need and select a program that includes what you are looking for.

Why Spend Money on Embroidery Software?

Before we go into the different features to look for when selecting a software for embroideries, it is important to first address this question. Many people wonder why purchasing an additional program is necessary when the best embroidery machines include multiple design and font options.

While this is a nice feature, the designs and fonts that are included with an embroidery machine can be very limiting. They’ll let you create a few projects, but don’t offer anywhere near the customization and creativity you’ll be able to achieve with software. Especially commercial machines need to be paired with software to really use them the optimal way.

If you are operating an embroidery business or even just want to create your own unique designs, you’ll need a good program that makes it possible for you to transform your design ideas into stitches that are ready to be sewn by your machine. With an embroidery program, you will have this ability. These programs are designed to make it easy to create custom designs and edit them to be a perfect match for the different garments you’ll be using.

What to Look for

Before making a purchase, you should carefully evaluate which features and functionalities are included with each of the options you’re considering to decide whether it will help you achieve your goals.

Design Needs

One of the first things you’ll want to consider is your specific design needs. Why are you looking for a software? What do you want to be able to accomplish by using it?

Think about whether you are a hobbyist who is looking to create a few fun designs for friends and family or whether you are a professional/looking to start an embroidery business. You should also consider what types of designs you want to be able to make/offer to your customers. The type of software you need will be quite different if you are planning to only offer monogrammed hats and t-shirts compared with if you want to be able to offer a variety of design types for your customers.

Ease of Use

Another very important point to consider is how easy to learn and easy to use each software option is. Many embroidery programs have a pretty steep learning curve. If you’re new to using an embroidery software, finding a program that is more intuitive and user-friendly is probably a good place to start.

Some of the more complex programs and features are also aimed more at professional embroiders. So, if you’re just starting out or are creating designs for enjoyment, rather than business, you should be fine with a more basic and easier-to-use program.

Design Creation

When you’re evaluating the different software options you’re considering, you should pay close attention to how you can use the program to create different designs and transform them into stitches for your machine to sew. Look for information about the different stitch types that are offered and how you can overlay those stitch types on the designs. You should also look for whether the program includes pre-loaded designs for you to work with and how easy it is to import your own designs into the program.

Lettering or Monogramming

Many people also want to find a program that makes it easy to create lettering or monogramming designs for their machine. If you are looking for these features, think about whether you will exclusively be lettering or monogramming, or whether you want to create more cohesive designs that are a mix of lettering and an image. There are many programs that have been created pretty much exclusively for lettering and monogramming, while some other more comprehensive programs offer these features alongside other design options.

If lettering and/or monogramming is important for your design needs, you should pay attention the number of fonts and monogram frames offered by the software. Also think about whether you are looking for the ability to create circle text, spiral text, or vertical text, as these may only be included in more specialized programs.

Editing Capabilities

The editing capabilities of the software are also key. Will you be in complete control of your designs and have the ability to easily re-size objects, move them around the page, flip them, or even merge different designs? These features make it easier to make the modifications you want to your design to get them ready to be sewn.

Compatibility with Your Embroidery Machine

Next, it is also important to make sure the software option you select is compatible with your embroidery machine. Be sure to check the file formats you can save your designs in and compare them with what your machine can work with. You definitely don’t want to spend money on a product that won’t work with the machine you own.

Compatibility with Your Computer

Ensuring that the programs you are considering are compatible with your computer is also important. Some options are not compatible with a Mac. If you own a Mac, you should pay very close attention to whether each option will work with your computer.

Even if you own a PC, some software solutions are only compatible with certain versions of Microsoft Windows. So, you should also look for this information to confirm whether you’ll be able to use the program with your computer.

Cost

Finally, think about your budget and how much you can afford to spend on embroidery software. Consider whether you are purchasing the software for personal use or business use and how frequently you’ll be using it. Look for a product that offers the features you need while also fitting within your budget.

FAQ

While free software may provide you with a few design features, it likely won’t offer everything you’re looking for. Most free programs offer very limited features and won’t include all the customization options that you’ll find with a paid program. Plus, with free programs you don’t receive the benefit of having a support team to reach out to if you have any questions about using the program.

Some programs don’t allow you to resize your designs, so you should first make sure this feature is included with the program you’re looking for. If it is included, the steps necessary for resizing may be different based on the program you are using. In many cases, resizing an image requires you to complete multiple steps since you need to change the stitch properties and other settings.

You should check with the specific software options you’re looking at, but many times you can install the same program on more than one computer. This is a nice feature to have, since it allows you and others in your business or family to use the same program and work on designs together.

The answer to this question can vary based on your embroidery machine. With some machines, you’ll need to save your designs on to a USB drive and insert the drive into the machine. Other machines offer a direct connection to your computer using a cable, which can make the importing process a bit quicker.

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