Saturday, September 17, 2011

Stitch Era Universal Tutorial for Oval-Cutting and Saving Designs Over 40K Stitches

I was using Master Works II free trial and one of my favorite features about it was that I was able to cut pieces and chunks out of my embroidery design rather than deleting only one color or one stitch at a time. I ran out of my free trial before I could finalize a design I was working on, so I was really hoping that Stitch Era Universal would have a feature similar to Master Works II. Stitch Era Universal (SEU) is a free embroidery program with many awesome features.  I decided to create a tutorial for cutting out ovals around designs because it is a very helpful feature if you want to be able to soften your designs.

First the before and after photo so that you know what I’m talking about.
Step 1. Before I get started, there is a tip I want to share that will save you a lot of time. I spent several hours on this simply because I was not familiar with the program. I have Futura Autopunch software and when I open a design with several blocks that have the same color, it normally keeps the blocks separate. But when using SEU, it puts the blocks of the same color into one block. This can be a huge problem if you have a design with blocks that need to be embroidered in a special order. So the first thing I had to do is change the colors in my Autopunch program so that there were no colors that were even close to the same. If you use similar colors, it will group the blocks together. Then I saved it as a .vip file (you can use whatever extension you want as long as it will work with your machine.) I like .vip because it seems to keep the colors closer to the original colors than other extensions do.
Step 2. Once you have your design open, make sure the Artwork tab is open and click on “Closed Shapes”. I chose the oval. You can choose whatever shape you want. This is just for a template for you to go by. It will be deleted when you are finished.
step2_artwork closed shapes

Step 3. Put the shape where you want it. I used a thick black outline (looks gray in the photo). You may want to play around with the colors to find out which one shows up best in your design.
Step 4. Click on the “Convert” Tab, then “Path”, then “Path With Running Stitch”.
Step 5. Click on the “Designs” Tab on the side or at the top, then “Edit Stitches”.Click on “Select Stitches by Outline”. Start clicking on the outlined shape that you created and go around it.
 this button firstthis button
It’s important to stay continuous as you go around the outline and don’t jump around. When you get to the end, go up and around the design so that it highlights the outside of the design. Otherwise, you will be deleting the inside of your design.
step3b_around oval
Step 6. Right click the highlighted outline, click “Accept/OK”. It will have only those stitches selected.
step4_right click accept
Step 7. A box will pop up. Just click the X to close it.

Step 8.  Press the Delete Key. There might be some places on the design that still need deleted.
step6_delete key
Zoom in and click the ZigZag image (Select Start and End of Block) under the Stitch Editing Tab. Click one stitch point at a time and delete it, using the delete key.
touch upstep7_delete individual threads
Step 9. On the “Designs” Tab on the side, click “Select Object” and “Select by Properties”.
A box will come up. Check on the “Path”. This is your shape. Click “OK”. Now press Delete on your keyboard.stitch

You may want to border your image, so you can keep this shape if you wish, or try different shapes and stitches. There are many options using the “Convert” to embroidery tab.
I used the heart border here, just so you can get an idea of the different things you can do.
 heart border

Exporting Designs Over 40,000 Stitches
Now you may have a large design like I do that has over 40,000 stitches. SEU only allows you to convert designs under 40,000. There is a way around it. If you have other software, like I have AutoPunch, you can save your design as two separate files, then open and combine them in your other program.  This is where I realized that SEU had combined many similar colors into one block, so I had to really get some different colors going on in order to keep all my blocks in the design.
funky colors
Step 1. In the “Designs” Tab, Select Object, Select By Color.
Step 2. Click on the color that has the most area (the most stitches).
Step 3. Press both Ctrl and X keys at the same time to “cut” the color.
Step 4. Click on “New Design” Tab. A box will open where you can select fabric and such. I leave it alone and just click “Finish”.
Step 5. Press both Ctrl and V keys at the same time to “paste” the color in your new design file. Now you can Export both files and open them in a different program to merge them. I open both files in AutoPunch and use the copy/paste feature.

I am still learning this software. I’ve had it for less than 24 hours, so if there is an easier way or something different you’d like to share, please feel free to comment.