Punching problems – how to digitise squares and circles

The experts at Madeira UK explain how you can overcome punching problems.

Pull compensation is the adjustment made to compensate for inevitable pulling in or pushing out of your design which occurs when the design is stitched out.

Straight lines tend to grow and curves pull in. Some fabric drag occurs as the hoop moves and stitches are formed. Pulling in or shrinking always occurs in the direction of the stitch angle. This can result in gaps in your embroidery and incorrect placing of outlines.

Creating some shapes in embroidery can be tricky, especially geometric shapes, which are the most frequently used shapes in commercial embroidery. If a geometric shape is digitised in its true form, for example if a circle is digitised as a circle then when the design is embroidered out the tensions generated during the embroidering process and the existing tensions present in the weave of the fabric will result in unequal horizontal and vertical tensions that will ultimately distort your embroidery. So if a circle is digitised without pull compensation or graphical distortion, the unequal tensions will mean the circle will distort into an oval shape.

Such tensions and distortions can be overcome by accounting for them during digitising.

For fabrics that have little stretch, most digitising programmes have a pull compensation feature where you would add in a percentage value and the software will appropriately elongate the relevant stitches for you. However, when using very stretchy fabrics, it is best to manually distort your design; so creating an oval instead of a circle.

The images below illustrate the appearance of the design in your digitising file:





For squares, a similar principle applies, a square will become a rectangle if punched as a square, so in order to combat distortion it is often necessary to digitise the shape as a rectangle, again the images below show the ideal digitising techniques.














When digitising or editing files yourself, it is often helpful to keep a guide book around to give you a head start in resolving these difficulties, Bonnie Nielsen’s Punch book is a highly respected source of such knowledge and is available to purchase from Madeira UK.

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