Many embroidery machines come preloaded with designs for you to use, but what happens when you want something different? This is where embroidery design websites come in. They offer any number of different designs for all sorts of embroidery projects.
These designs are downloadable in formats for almost all embroidery machines. They are often accompanied by full instructions. If not, there are many useful videos and tips on the websites.
They almost all offer online and telephone support as well as having newsletters. Many of them also have Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep you connected.
Before we detail some of the best websites, let’s look at the different designs and formats that are available.
Types of Embroidery Design
This quick guide to the different embroidery designs aims to help you choose the project you want to work on.
Classic Embroidery Designs
A classic design includes various types of stitching. It typically features an outline that is filled with tatami stitching. This could be something like an animal, Christmas tree, or clown, to name but a few.
These designs tend to have a high stitch count and will need a good stabilization fabric.
Another traditional design is something like letters completed in satin stitch. There are many other traditional stitches used in these designs. These include cross stitch, stem stitch, candlewicking stitch, and other decorative stitches.
The overriding factor is these designs use stitching alone, with a solid stabilizer.
Applique Embroidery Designs
Applique involves edging a material shape with a decorative stitch. This could be satin stitch, zig-zag stitch, or another decorative stitch. These stitches anchor the shapes on the background fabric, creating the design.
Applique can be done in two forms. The first is trim-in-place, where the fabric is stitched on and then cut. The second form is pre-cut applique. This is where the shapes are cut, placed on the background fabric, and then stitched.
These designs might include things such as balloons, mushrooms, birds, butterflies, and more. Just look for the word applique in the design.
Freestanding Lace Designs
These use a washaway stabilizer which the design is embroidered onto. When it’s complete, the stabilizer is washed away and the threads of the design remain intact. This technique can also be combined with applique to give it a more stable structure.
You could create baskets, flowers, jewelry, and ornaments using these designs.
Quilting, Linework and Redwork Designs
Quilting designs generally feature an outline in one color, creating the embroidery design. They can be stitched on one layer of fabric, or stitched through the layers of the quilt patch.
Linework and redwork are very similar to quilting, but usually have more than one color in the design.
In Hoop Designs
These designs are typically stitched completely, as the name suggests, inside the hoop. You can create coasters, key fobs, zippered pouches, bags and more. These projects are complete when you remove them from the hoop and stabilizer.
Stitch ‘n Turn
These projects are, again, mainly stitched in the hoop. When removed, they require stuffing or some hand stitching. A good example is an embroidered stuffed toy or doll.
Embroidery Design Formats
Different embroidery machines use different design formats. This can vary by brand, and even by models within a brand. Check with your manufacturer’s instructions which format works better for your machine.
When downloading a design, make sure you use the right format. Otherwise, the design will not work. Most websites allow you to download in a number of formats, so if you do get it wrong, you can download again and correct it.
The design formats offered generally include: HUS, PES, ART, DST, EMB, VIP, VP3, EXP, JEF, JAN, and XXX.
There are even software programs to convert designs to the correct format for embroidery machines. This is useful if you can’t find the correct format.
The 10 Best Embroidery Designs Websites
There are hundreds of websites offering embroidery designs. Some are quite specific and offer selected designs, others have a huge array to choose from.
Here are our top picks:
Amazing Designs have been creating and supplying embroidery designs since 1996. They are part of the Tacony Corporation, who also supply other sewing products. These include Babylock Sewing Machines, Koala sewing furniture and Madeira sewing threads.
Thousands of designs are available in many different categories. They are constantly adding new designs to their repertoire as well. Whether your preference is applique, quilting, or in the hoop, there is sure to be something which appeals to your tastes.
Design choices can be made from 23 different categories. These include wedding, home decor, and occasions.
They also offer a selected amount of free designs. If you sign up for their newsletter, you will be notified when new offers become available. There are often coupons and discount codes which can reduce the cost of your purchase.
Designs can be purchased as single items or in collections. They’re all available for instant download, meaning that there are no delays when you want to start a project. They supply embroidery software if you want to start digitizing yourself or modifying designs.
As is the case with most online digital design purchases, refunds are not available. This company will, however, refund you if you accidentally order the same design twice.
Swak is a large, well laid out website. They have a massive selection of machine embroidery designs in over 48 categories. They supply designs for freestanding lace, in hoop, applique, and many more.
Swak’s designs are beautifully detailed and are all available for immediate download. They have a fairly large collection of free designs. There are also many offers and discounts from various digitizer ranges. New designs are added to the website on a frequent basis.
There is an entire section dedicated to online tutorials. These tutorials are easy to follow and cover various subject matters. These include how to unzip files, basic applique, and many more. The step-by-step instructions also have pictures to help complete the featured projects.
An “I made this” page is a really nice addition for embroiderers to showcase what they’ve made. It’s also a perfect place to get new ideas. You can even purchase gift cards for the fellow embroiderers in your life.
The company has a no-returns policy. However, they offer points on purchases. Once you have accumulated sufficient points, you can offset them against the cost of an item.
These high-quality embroidery designs are suitable for all ages. They’re priced in an affordable range.
Designs by Ju-Ju
This company focuses on the passion they put into their designs. They have a wide range of designs for all sorts of machine embroidery. These include filled embroidery designs, quilt blocks, and applique.
Ju-Ju also has a really good selection of fonts for machine embroidery. These include embroidery, applique, monogram, and embossed.
Categories of designs are available to cover many themes. These include holidays, nursery rhymes, school, and seasons. Gift cards can be purchased and sent via email to the recipient.
The company has a no refund policy. However, if you purchase a duplicate design they will offer an exchange. You must contact them within 90 days.
The website issues a periodical newsletter. This keeps you up to date with new designs, offers, and promotions.
The site also features a blog which spotlights projects you could carry out. It also posts photographs of work completed by embroiderers using designs they’ve purchased.
Embroidery Designs have thousands of home embroidery and commercial designs on offer. They also stock a selection of embroidery accessories. These include threads, stabilizers, and fabric markers. Recently added is a facility to buy quilting materials.
The site is well designed and easy to navigate, making finding your perfect design a breeze. This company also offers a custom digitizing service. This means you can send them a picture or logo that you need digitized. They will quote you a price, and if you accept, supply your design ready for your embroidery machine.
They also have a free thread color match tool. You simply feed in the details and alternative thread suggestions are made for you. This is perfect if you’re struggling to find a particular thread you need for your design.
Their learning center offers almost 200 free tutorials. You can also buy others. It features a customer showcase and embroidery articles. They also have a regular contest where you can win up to $250 in gift vouchers.
Like other embroidery design websites, refunds are not provided for downloaded designs.
The founder of this website, Jenilee, inherited her love of all things sewing from her grandmother. As a professional seamstress, she passed her skills on to her granddaughter.
The huge variety of designs available include machine embroidery, applique, and in hoop.
Digistitches offer both single designs and well put together packages. There are also a number of free designs and regular savings of between 10 and 50 percent on many other items.
All orders are delivered via an immediate online download and are non-refundable. If you order a duplicate item, store credit will be given. This is provided if the company is contacted within 60 days.
The free newsletter will notify customers of upcoming sales and contain customer coupons. All you need to do is register on the website. There are also a number of free tutorials available for selected products.
Urban Threads/Embroidery Library
Urban Threads and Embroidery Library are sister companies based outside Minneapolis, Minnesota. They are an employee-owned boutique company formed of crafters, artists, and creatives.
They have a lovely selection of design packs as well as many individual designs. These are available for both machine and hand embroidery. New designs are constantly being released to enlarge the amount you have to choose from.
If you accidentally order a duplicate item, the company will provide a refund or offer a store credit. However, as purchases are immediately delivered, refunds are not offered under other circumstances.
If you order a hand embroidery design instead if a machine embroidery one by mistake, the company will swap it for you.
The website offers an inspiration area where there are useful tutorial videos. They also have many novel ideas to boost your embroidery repertoire.
Embroidery Online is one of three companies selling embroidery designs as part of Oklahoma Embroidery Supply & Design (OESD).
Originally founded in 1987 as Uniquely Yours Monograms and More, OESD joined the Bernina brand in 1997.
This pioneering company claims to have been first to bring us one-stop shopping online for embroidery designs. They have a team of in-house artists and selected licensed artists. These work closely with both digitizers and embroiderers to ensure designs are suitable. Their rigorous testing ensures you get perfect results.
All designs come with step-by-step stitching advice and color changes, if necessary. The designs come as standalone or in a collection. Navigation through the many clear designs is quick and easy.
They have the most wonderful free-standing lace designs, including a whole Christmas village. They also have some lovely free designs. These include an Autism Awareness bracelet and a stitched bookmark.
The average employment time of their staff is 10 years, which provides for a lot of experience for telephone and online support. There are tutorials, project ideas, and tips on the website, as well as a newsletter.
The company has a zero returns policy for any downloaded items.
Oregon Patch Works
This website was founded by Jackie Holderbein back in 2001. Working from her home computer, she set up an online mall for embroidery designs. The company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating.
They have a wide range of all types of embroidery designs, and will also create custom designs on request. They have about 100 affiliate designers. These include Oma’s Place and Bunnycup Embroidery. There are many special offers giving up to 75 percent off some designers.
They offer some free designs for everyone. They also have exclusive offers in their Free Members Only Club. These include tutorials, inspirations, and free sample designs.
This company offers a “price-match” as well. If you see a particular designer’s work cheaper on another website, they will match the price for you.
Sew Teri-fic Designs
Sew Teri-fic designs have been in business since 1996. They offer many designs for the hobbyist and embroidery enthusiast. They also supply designs for commercial embroidery machines. You can choose from applique, traditional filled stitchwork, redwork, freestanding lace, and more.
They are proud that their work is all made in the USA using US labor. They do not outsource any of their work. Neither do they auto-digitize.
Many of their designs are exclusive to their website. They offer free samples and have links to useful thread conversion charts.
Their custom digitizing service makes designs from just about anything you can take a photograph of. Perfect for if you want to produce a sampler of the kids or grandkids to hang on the wall. Just send them the image, and they’ll quote a price for production.
With the exception of items for mass production, their copyright allows you to reproduce their designs on items for sale. Like most other websites, there is a no refund policy for digitized designs.
Five Star Fonts
This boutique website has been operating since 2003. It specializes in beautiful fonts and monograms for embroidery machines. They also produce other machine embroidery designs and some fun and practical in hoop projects.
Their designs have appeared in two embroidery magazines, Creative Machine Embroidery Magazine, and Designs in Machine Embroidery Magazine.
Their in hoop projects include many different projects. These include coasters, curling iron covers, bags, key chains, and even a golf tee holder. They have almost 400 different fonts to choose from.
All in hoop designs and applique come with full instructions on a PDF file. Signing up for their newsletter will notify you of sales, special offers, customer coupons, and more. Once again, refunds are not offered. This is due to the digital nature of the delivery of your purchase from this site.
There are many embroidery designs available on lots of different websites. With so many to choose from, you should never be at a loss for a fun, exciting project to complete.
Whether you choose a traditional style design, in hoop, applique, or quilting, there is sure to be a design that appeals to you. Some websites offer custom design creation for that personal touch.
With so many free samples and offers, these designs are very affordable. There is also the added support that these websites give in the form of tutorials, newsletters, as well as online and telephone support.
Their expertise and your skills will make completing your next project a breeze.