FAQS - Definitions

What is an Object? What is the difference between Style and Pattern Stitch? And what in the world is a Vector Graphic? These are just some of the answers you will learn as you look at the definitions explained below. Please "Click" on each question to show-and-hide that individual answer.

Q1. What is the difference between using the From File and From Embroidery on the Artwork source page?

From File opens artwork graphics only. It can open graphic files with any one of the following file extensions: CMX, AI, SVG, EPS, BMP, JPEGS, WMF, etc.)

From Embroidery opens finished embroidery designs that you have saved as stitch files as well as other embroidery design files that you own and have saved on your computer.

Q2. What is a CMX file?

This a vector file created in CorelDRAW® software that can be transformed directly to stitches.

Q3. What is an "overlap"?

This is embroidery stitching on top of a layer that is already stitched and it may not be desirable. You can use the Remove Overlaps feature in the Objects Toolbar on the right-hand side of the screen to control how and when Creative DRAWings removes overlaps by selecting Auto, Always, or Never.

Q4. What is a .draw file?

This is the file format for Creative DRAWings®. To use the completed design on your sewing machine embroidery unit, you must save the .draw file to the appropriate format. See the next question for the how-tos.

Q5. What is an Object?

This is the generic name used for any item you create or place in your design. Objects may be lines, shapes, symbols, and text. They are the areas that are filled with stitches or defined with only an outline by Creative DRAWings.

Q6. What is a "graphic?"

Graphic is the term used for artwork made of color, lines or text (usually drawn). Graphics are used to create advertising and other printed materials. Graphics are also used by artists and sewing and crafts enthusiasts.

Q7. What is the difference between a Vector graphic and a bitmap or jpeg?

Vector: Artwork that is created with a drawing program such as CorelDRAW®, Creative DRAWings®, or Adobe Illustrator®, among others. The graphic, or image is drawn with a series of nodes (dots), connected by lines or curves and the objects that are created can be lines or closed shapes. Each object in a graphic saves its own information such as color, shape, outline, and size. This means that they can be made larger or smaller without losing the quality of the object or changing other objects in the graphic. Creative DRAWings® can take the math formula saved in a vector file and convert that information to stitches. When you use the Freehand, Bezier shapes and Bezier outline tools to draw your own design you are drawing vectored art.

To see a Vector graphic: Open a design on your workspace, go to View, and uncheck Stitches and 3D view. What you will see is the vector graphic you have been working with when changing colors, adding or removing outlines, or editing the design using the Node Editing tool.

You can recognize vector art by the file extensions of the programs in which they were created. A few examples include:

  • CDR (CorelDRAW- it can also hold Bitmap images)
  • CMX* (Corel Presentation Exchange from CorelDRAW it can also hold Bitmap images)
  • SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)
  • AI (Adobe Illustrator)
  • EPS (Encapsulated Postscript).

* There are 204 vector files with this extension that are downloaded to your computer when you install Creative DRAWings®.

Bitmap: These images, also known as raster or paint images, are created when you scan artwork or use a paint program such as Corel Photo-Paint®, Adobe Photoshop®, or the Paint® program included with Windows® operating system. These images are made up of a collection of dots called pixels. Each pixel is a color square and the image is made up of a set number of pixels called dpi (dots per inch). This means that when you enlarge a bitmap, no additional pixels are created, but they stretch instead, causing "jagged edges" that you can see up close on the outline.

If you reduce the size of a bitmap you also lose quality because pixels are removed as the image becomes smaller. A bitmap is a collection of pixels so individual parts of the image cannot be edited separately as you can with objects in a vector image. Bitmaps are not directly converted to stitches in Creative DRAWings®. When you use a bitmap image to create a new design, you have a choice:

  • Use the image as a Backdrop to trace over with the built-in drawing tools in Creative DRAWings®
  • Use the Trace function to convert a bitmap to a vector file
  • Change into a Cross-Stitch design.

Some common raster files are:

  • BMP (Windows Bitmap)
  • JPEG (Joint Photographics Expert Group)
  • PNG (Portable Network Graphic)
  • TIFF (Tag Interleave Format)
  • GIF (Graphics Interchange Format).

Q8. What is the difference between a Style and Pattern stitch?

Style Stitches: These are designs that are sewn out in one continuous line. They are also known as Motif stitches. When used as a Fill Stitch they will make an open, lacy fill. Used as an outline, they will run along the outside edge of an object.

Pattern Stitch: These designs will make solid patterns in your Fill Stitch. You can also apply a Pattern to a Satin Serial outline stitch if you make it wide enough (Outline thickness).

Note: By selecting both a Style and Pattern together for a Fill Stitch, you can make a combination fill. Experiment as not all Styles and Patterns will work together. To change the look of a Style or Pattern stitch, change the direction of the stitches using the Direction tool (fourth icon down on the left toolbar that looks like a red and blue compass point).

Q9. What is the Select Polyline on the right-click menu of the Edit shape node tool?

This tool allows you to select all the nodes of a single curve or line in your design. Right click on a node, and then Select Polyline. All the nodes of that curve or line will be selected and you can move or delete it, as needed, all in one piece.

Q10. What is the purpose of "Convert outline to object"?

When you have an outline around an object, the object and outline are combined. The outline can be filled with Running or Satin serial stitches. You cannot change the shape of either the object or the outline separately. Select the object, and go to Edit>Convert outline to object. You can now fill the outline with Step, Satin, or Piping stitches or convert it to an Appliqué. The outline and object can now be shaped and changed separately.

Q11. What are Nodes?

Vector graphic outlines are made with lines (segments) between editing points (nodes). When you select the Edit shape nodes tool and click on a design, you will see the lines and nodes. If you click on a node, handles will appear that look like lines with arrows on them. By changing the direction of the arrows you change the shape of the design.

If you right click on a node, a menu will appear that will let you add or delete nodes; change a curve to a line between nodes; or change the node types themselves, plus other editing choices. For step-by-step instructions how to work with the different nodes, see pages 222-228 of the PDF manual included with Creative DRAWings®. The easiest way to access the manual is go to Start>Programs>Creative DRAWings®>Creative DRAWings® manual. From the Creative DRAWings® workspace you can also click on the Show Help icon (the top toolbar that looks like a cursor with a question mark) and then click on the Edit Shape Nodes tool (the second icon down on the left-hand toolbar). This takes you to the built-in manual and the section on Editing Nodes.

Q12. What are the differences between the Freehand, Bezier, and Create Outline Shapes tools for drawing?

These are the three built-in drawing tools. Only one can be active on the toolbar at a time. To view all of the available drawing tools, click on the small black arrow at the bottom right corner and select the tool you want to use. The selected drawing tool will become the current one and you can use it to create the shape you want. Following is a brief description of each tool. For complete directions see page 122 – 127 of the PDF manual included with Creative DRAWings®. The easiest way to open the manual is go to Start>Programs>Creative DRAWings®>Creative DRAWings® manual. From Creative DRAWings® workspace, you can also click on the Show Help icon (the top toolbar that looks like a cursor with a question mark) and then click on each drawing tool. You will be taken directly to the built-in manual and the section on the drawing tools.

Create Freehand Shapes: With this tool you can draw simple lines or closed shapes. Pick your starting point, hold down the left mouse button, and draw or trace as you would with a pencil or crayon (or you can use a graphic pen instead if you have one). As you start to draw, you will see a white square. To make a closed object, complete the drawing by ending it where you started—where you see the white square appear. When you close the design at the white square, the object will fill with color. To change to stitches, click on the Rectangle selection tool or use the shortcut by pressing the keyboard spacebar.

Using the Bezier tools (Create Bezier shapes and Create outline shapes) gives you more control and more precise lines when you are drawing your lines and objects. Both tools work basically the same way. The middle tool, Create Bezier shapes, is, by default, a straight line that can make curves. The third tool, Create outline shapes, makes curved lines by default. The manual will give you step-by-step instructions on how to use each tool.

Q13. What is the purpose of the Show Help Icon?

The Show help function is a useful tool any time you need quick help without searching through the built-in Creative DRAWings® manual. Click on the icon that it looks like an arrow with a question mark. When it is active, a question mark appears next to the mouse pointer. You can click anywhere in the Creative DRAWings® window and instantly retrieve help for the icon you clicked. You can also click on File, Edit, View, Tools and click on any of the sub-menus listed.

Q14. What is the purpose of Thickness View?

Use the Thickness View tool to make sure the design you sew out is professional looking. Go to View>Thickness view to use. When this tool is enabled, your embroidery design changes to layers so you can see if the threads are overlapping. The stacking of layers is called Thickness. With this viewing tool, you can visualize and prevent Thickness (layers of colored threads) in your design and make any necessary changes. For example, let's say you have three objects and one will be embroidered over the other with the first to be embroidered green, the second yellow, and the third red.

To use Thickness view: 

  1. Click on Edit>Select all (or Ctrl A) to capture your design. Click on View>Thickness view.
  2. If you want to remove layers, on the Object Toolbar to the right, go to the bottom of the drop-down menu where you see Remove overlaps; select Always. If the design is all green, there are no overlapping of stitches. It’s OK if sometimes tiny slips of yellow or red show in the green. It won’t cause any problems in sew-outs. To return to your design, go to View>Thickness view and uncheck.

Note: Whenever you activate the Thickness view option, all the other viewing options (3D preview, Stitches etc.) are disabled automatically. To use them again, you must uncheck Thickness view option from the View menu. If the Thickness view option is not visible under your View menu, you can enable it from the Tools>Options>3D properties tab by checking Enable thickness view. The next time that you open Creative DRAWings®, this option will be available.

Q15. What are the Weld, Intersect, and Trim functions?

These are tools for controlling how the stitches are applied to overlapping objects.

Weld: Two or more objects can be combined to make one shape.

  1. Make two or more objects by drawing or by using the pre-made shapes or objects of a design. All objects should be touching or overlapped.
  2. Select all the objects you want to weld by holding down Shift on your keyboard while you click on each object.
  3. Go to Edit>Weld or use the shortcut on the top toolbar. You will have a completely new object shape that you can color, fill or edit with the Node Edittool.
  4. You can continue to add more shapes to those you have already welded together. Place the new shape on the welded shape, select both shapes while holding down the Shift key, and then use the Weld tool again.

Trim: This tool will remove the stitches under an object. It removes overlapping stitches like the Remove Overlap function in the Objects Toolbar, but with a different end result.

  1. To learn how this tool works, make a circle and square using the draw tools on the left-hand toolbar. Select the circle and move it so it laps over half of the square. Select both objects while holding down the Shift key and then go to Edit>Trim or use the shortcut on the top toolbar.
  2. Next select only the circle and move it away from the square. You will see the shape of the circle has been permanently removed from the square where it overlapped. When you use the Trim function it removes only the overlapping stitches and it changes the vector artwork as well by removing the overlapped section.
  3. Make another circle and square and place the circle half way over the square. Select both objects while holding down the Shift key and go to the Objects Toolbar on the right and then to Remove Overlap and select Always.
  4. Select the circle, hold down the left mouse button, and pull the circle away from the square but don’t let go of the mouse button. You will see where the stitches of the circle have been removed where they were under the square.
  5. Let go of the mouse button and you will see the stitches that were cut away from the circle have been replaced. The Remove Overlap tool removes stitches on top of each other but does not change the vector artwork.

Intersect: Two objects can be made into three where they overlap.

  1. Draw two objects of the same or different shapes.
  2. Choose one of the objects and place it over the other. For example, make a circle and a star. Select the star and place it over the circle so that one or two of the points are inside the circle.
  3. With the star still selected (with a blue box around it), hold down the Shift key and click on the circle so both are selected.
  4. Go to Edit>Intersect or use the shortcut on the top toolbar. There will be a separate object created where the star and circle overlap. You can change colors, fills, outlines and edit with the Node Edit tool.
  5. Make another shape and place it anywhere on the circle or star. With all shapes selected, go to Edit>Intersect again. You should have five objects from the three you made. You can keep creating and adding objects until you have the design you want.

Tip: For even more fun, try this. Use the Weld tool to make the shape you want. Make another shape and put it on the welded object. Be sure both are selected (inside the same blue box) and then use Edit>Intersect tool. You’ll have the original welded object plus the new shape you made and then a third object where the two are overlapped.

Note: The toolbar shortcuts for Weld, Trim, and Intersect will be grayed out until you have selected two or more objects; then it lights up and is ready to use. Remember that you cannot use Weld, Trim, or Intersect until you have selected at least two objects.

Q16. What is a Satin Stitch?

A Satin stitch is series of flat stitches that are used to completely cover a section of the background fabric. Narrow rows of satin stitch can be used on a standard sewing machine using the zigzag stitch with a stitch length very close together and a width setting of generally 2.5 to 3mm. The satin stitch is often used for appliqué. It is usually used in an embroidery segment as an outline of an area, or in a smaller area as “detail” as in the pole section of a flagpole, or a smaller stem section on a flower or plant.

Q17. What is a Step Stitch?

Also known as a Fill type stitch, this stitch has multiple needle punctures to create the fill pattern, thus resulting in less shine and reflection as that of the satin stitch. It is also more durable than a satin stitch as it has less ability to become snagged during wear or washing. It is generally used in larger areas than the satin stitch. By changing the “puncture” patterns of the needles, additional patterned stitches are created for different effects in your embroidery design.

Q18. What is a Dongle?

A dongle is your software security device. It “unlocks” the software allowing it to be used on your computer. Your software will not run without your dongle, also known as USB key or Security Device, plugged into the USB port on your computer.

Q19. What is Underlay?

Underlay is the foundation of your design. it is what sews first, before the embroidery, to give the embroidered design stabilization, prevent puckering and distortion, and keep the design from sinking into the fabric. This is one of the most important steps in the digitizing process and Creative DRAWings® lays this foundation for you! You simply choose the fabric type for your design and the underlay is chosen. It just doesn't get any easier.

Q20. What does it mean when they talk about "density"?

Density can be considered the "stitch weight" of the design. Too dense of a design will result in a "bullet proof" embroidery and puckers on the fabric. When you are creating your design in Creative DRAWings® you will be asked to select the fabric that you will be using. Creative DRAWings® will select the proper stitch settings for you, including underlay and density settings!

Q21. Where do I find the FREE designs that come with Creative DRAWings®?

They are located on the CD in the "Designs" folder.

Q22. Can I digitize stuff that I scan in from my computer?

Yes, it is very easy to bring business logos into the program that way. We enjoy scanning in coloring books. Let your imagination be your guide.

Q23. Now that I have digitized my logo for T-shirts, do I need to re-digitize it for canvas tote bags or linen or cotton shirts?

No, you're not really re-digitizing, just re-assigning the fabrics. Simply click on the “Select Fabric” icon when you have your design in the program to reassign the new fabric type and the new underlay will automatically be generated for you! How simple is that?  You will notice the stitch count number changes at the bottom of your screen.

Q24. What happens if I lose my dongle?

As with any software program, the dongle, USB key or security device, is what enables the program to run on your computer, if you lose it, you will lose the ability to run the program. You will need to purchase another Creative DRAWings® program as the software will not operate without the dongle.