Making an embroidery font?

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

Wonder if anybody here has any direct experience with this, specifically with making fonts for use on the Millennium Embroidery machine. We do embroidery where I work and a lot of times I will make the design first in Coreldraw for print or screenprint, then it will get sent over to embroidery to be digitized again if the clients want it sewn.

The guy who runs embroidery always complains he has to draw out all the letters except when I use when of maybe five fonts, like Arial, Lubalin, and a couple others. It would be great if I could make some fonts for the machine. I've looked around on the web and there seems to be very little information on this. Moreover, I gather there are 2 types of embroidery fonts, one, called a keyboard font which works they way one would expect fonts to work, and another which I don't understand at all but seems to not be usable to type out text with ( I know, that's not a really a font then is it? Maybe it's like individual monograms?)

Could anybody shed some light? Is there by any chance a way to make embroidery fonts with Fontlab?

HVB's picture

The following comments refer to what's commonly referred to has home embroidery software, as opposed to commercial software. The line between them isn't clear. I've heard of Millenium professional software, but am not familiar with Millenium sewing/embroidery machine.

Actually, there are at least five different ways to embroider text.

1) Some embroidery software programs, such as Brothers PE Design and Bernina's Artista can create text directly using installed Truetype fonts (Note that ONLY Truetype fonts can be used; such programs effectively do their own rendering and can only process truetype fonts).

2) Some embroidery programs include a number of built-in typstyles.

3) Some embroider programs use stand-alone (usually overpriced) proprietary fonts. These include Embird and Viking/Pfaff software.

4) You can always use pre-built designs; these are designs in the shapes of letters or words.

5) Just about all embroidery sewing machines themselves have a number of built-in typefaces

In addition, there is software available, such as the Husqvarna Viking suite, that can convert PC Truetype fonts to a set of separate designs (item 4 above) or to its own proprietary format (item 3 above)

My own terminology choice in embroidery is to use

"embroidery alphabet" for a set of letter-shaped designs,
"embroidery font" for a proprietary font usable with specific embroidery software

However, this is far from the norm; just as graphical alphabets, such as those found on scrapbooking sites, are often referred to as "fonts".

- Herb

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

Thanks Herb. You are correct, the software is called Millennium. The actual machines are made by an Asian company named Happy, which I always thought was pretty hilarious considering the average mood of the people running the machines.

HVB's picture

Here's Millenium's page on using TrueType fonts:

As I read it, the program (or at least Millenium III) can use truetype fonts. It creates its own internal format and saves it for future use. It can use any font that's available on the host system. If you want your service provider to use fonts that they don't have installed, you would only have to provide him with the fonts, paying due attention to the licensing rights and probably purchasing the font(s) for them. For many reasons, they may be averse to installing anything beyond what they already have.

- Herb

Nick Shinn's picture

Emboidery stitches provide a matrix (“elongated pixels”?) which could be used as the basis for a type design.
I’ve never designed an embroidery font, but I did once design a fashion label logo that leveraged the medium:

The execution wandered from the concept slightly, but I was nonetheless quite pleased with the effect.

hrant's picture



HVB's picture

Here's an image of a font I acquired somewhere along the line - not sure whence it came or its provenance:

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

it's stitched Helvetica!

5star's picture

Nick, that's awesome!!


judahariel's picture

Good work ! I am the honor of Outback Embroidery company and i am providing beautiful designs of embroidery, if you want more designs of it so visit site and get.

mikello85's picture

Nice info. I think this is good to share with such information. I'm a designer of for example paintball patches, and i think your post will be an inspiration for me. In my embroidered patches I often use another method but Your is good. Great work!

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