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can i use a previous embroidery file

Can I use an embroidery file from another workwear supplier?

The short answer is Yes. If you have had an embroidery file created by a previous workwear supplier and you have paid for the setup you should be able to use the same file for orders with a different supplier. But there’s a lot more to it than that…

Sometimes it can be difficult to get the embroidery file from the previous supplier as they will soon realise you are looking to take your business elsewhere. Technically speaking if they have charged you for set up of artwork for embroidery then you should be allowed to own the embroidery files too. We tend to keep the embroidery files on record for future orders but if a customer requests them we will send it to them. You won’t be able to open or view an embroidery file yourself though, unless you have an embroidery machine or the software that creates/edits these types of files.

What are the different embroidery file types?

When a logo is ‘digitised’ into an embroidery format it will create 3 file types. Most embroidery machines will read either a .dst or a .emb file. These are the embroidery files that contain all the logo and stitch information. They also tell the machine when to change needle to a different colour etc.

The third file type the digitisers will provide is a .pdf document (like below) which shows all the information required such as number of stitches, colour changes, and logo sizing etc. When you request your embroidery file from another supplier sometimes all they send is the pdf, but that isn’t the file that your new supplier will need as embroidery machines cannot read pdf files.

In addition to asking your previous supplier for the .dst or emb and PDF files, you will also need to ask them for the exact colour threads that have been used. These files do not, unfortunately, give you the exact colour thread information so it is important to ask for this so we can match what has been done previously.

Some companies provide in-house digitising others outsource this to 3rd parties. The quality of an embroidered logo really comes down to how well the logo has been digitised. There are specialist digitising companies who provide just these services – their entire business is digitising logos every day for embroidery companies; these are the people who know their stuff! Some companies will offer this service in-house and it all comes down to how experienced the person is in digitising artwork. It’s not just about the finished embroidery, there’s a wealth of knowledge that happens underneath the logo with understitches and stabilising stitches to ensure your logo sits perfectly on the garment and the digitisers will vary the foundation stitches depending on the type of fabric (fleece, polo, beanie etc). That’s why it’s important not to overlook this process and why setup fees can sometimes appear expensive, there’s a lot more going on that people realise.

So what information should I ask for?

If you want to try a new workwear supplier you should go to your previous supplier and ask them for:

  • The embroidery .dst and .emb files for all your embroidered designs
  • The accompanying .pdf file showing the run patterns and stitch counts
  • A list of the embroidery thread codes used for your designs
  • A list of the garment codes previously supplied (if you want to use the same items), although these would usually be on an old invoice

Getting all of this information from your previous supplier can be quite difficult as the only reason you’d ask is if you wanted to use someone else so they can be quite defensive in providing the information you need. If a customer asked us for the above information we’d first ask the reason they wanted to try someone else but if we still couldn’t help them we would always provide the information they requested. After all, they’ve paid for the digitising service so we believe they should own the files.

Making amends

If you supply the embroidery file to your new supplier they will not be able to make edits or changes to what has been provided. They may be able to edit the information but will likely charge you to do so, it’s only fair. In these circumstances we would recommend it may be better to simply have the logo re-digitised by the new supplier so they know exactly where they are starting from

For more information on digitising or using embroidery files from a previous supplier, please call our team on 01628 308810.