Digitized Embroidery Branches Out

Once a staple of just small custom shops and logo designers, the technology of machine embroidery is starting to catch up with the wider world of artists who seek to use it. Much like “digital” art produced in programs like Painter and Photoshop was once rare, digitized embroidery and its applicable skills are starting to find themselves in the hands of more and more capable artists, and the technology and training are starting to become more readily available.

Student work from RISD

For example, an article in Stitches notes the new course being offered at the Rhode Island School of Design in machine embroidery, offered as a 5-week-long winter term class at the celebrated fine arts college. Well-known textile embroidery artist Michael Savoia led the class in training on this modern embroidery software to create a new generation of artists who can use this medium to express themselves.


Student apparel embroidery print work from RISD


Student work from RISD

The class is part of a partnership with Stitches, which started the program in 2010 by coordinating a partnership between RISD, Madeira USA and Hirsch International. Young minds now get a chance to work with this software that previously was only available through limited industry opportunities.

Student work is not the only place machine embroidery is starting to be seen and shared. The internationally known Hand & Lock embroidery company, known primarily for their stunning hand embroidery and projects like royal gowns, has taken to using Wilcom digitizing software for some of their work. An example is this stunning jacket made for Queen guitarist Brian May at the Olympics closing ceremony.



Hand & Lock has also officially paired up with Wilcom as a sponsor for their prestigious Hand & Lock Prize for Embroidery contest, held annually.

This year, the prize for the winner will be £6000 worth of embroidery software and training to the educational institution with the greatest number of finalists. That means that emerging minds working on some of the best embroidery techniques of today will get a chance to try their skills out in the digital embroidery world. The combination of talent, technology, and training should bring about some really exciting things in the world of digitized embroidery not yet seen!


The technology we use to create our designs is fascinating and as much of an art as any other digital artistry technology out there. To see it more readily available to creative minds can only mean better things for machine embroidery as a whole, and we’re excited that big names like Stitches, RISD and Hand & Lock are stepping up to educate the next generation.

Look out world, machine embroidery is coming out in a big way…

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3 Responses to “Digitized Embroidery Branches Out”

  1. 1
    Rebecca says:

    This is so great. I am excited to see more opportunities available for those of us who currently machine embroider as well as artists who can offer so much to the craft. If we had good, college classes available, I bet many of us would want to take that step. Right now, I’d love a decent digitizing class. Most I find are for the casual embroiderer.

  2. 2
    HS SMITH says:

    I am so excited to see that the Commercial Embroidery Desin people have finally found their way into our little craft that a good many of us have been practicing for several years. I too, would like to see some classes in digitizing, as I use embroidery work on my quilts. I have been struggling for yrs. to get my little home shoppe into larger quarters. Keep us posted and thanks a million for the information.

  3. 3

    I was lucky to take a class at RISD years ago. What a fabulously creative hub!

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