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The Pros & Cons of Resizing Designs
Nothing is exactly the size you need it to be right? You can find the perfect design, but you need a cap logo and the design is jacket-back sized, or vice verse. What do you do? Do you purchase the design and hope that it will resize well? There are some considerations to take into account before you do that.
Most design companies say that you can reduce or enlarge a design up to fifteen percent. Most of the time, when they say that, it is merely to cover their proverbial backsides, and with good reason. Large designs are usually digitized with much detail. Smaller designs lack detail. Consequently, if you go too far in either direction, there will be problems.
What problems? When you reduce a large, detailed design, the stitches that make up the detail in that design become packed too closely together. On the reverse, when you take a small design that doesn't have as many commands in the program up to a very large size, the design often looks distorted and unsightly. The rule of thumb is that designs are usually created to be stitched at the original size. You can, however, resize designs, and I do often.
How Good Is Your Editing Software?
Resizing well depends largely on how good your embroidery editing software program is. Does it eliminate stitches when the design is reduced? Does it add stitches when the design is enlarged? Does it read the stitch lengths and the column widths and adjust them accordingly? These are things you have to know if you intend to resize designs.
How Good Are You at Operating Your Editing Software?
It used to be, that if a design was in an expanded stitch format of any type, that the design could not be edited. However, there have been many advances in editing software.
Today, most software programs will convert the stitch file to an outline format, allowing for more ease in editing. Assuming that you have such a software program, let's take a look at what you can do.
The design at the bottom is a simple crown and is digitized at a size of nearly 2.5 inches wide by about 2 inches high. The problem with enlarging this design is the columns. There are columns creating the "jewels" on the bottom section, as well as the outline of the design.
The columns are hefty, and when enlarged, would be too wide to look nice, and they would possibly catch on sharp objects and threads would pull out. (We all know how difficult it is to rip out embroidery when it's a mistake, but many of us also have experience with what happens when the columns in a design are too wide. Once the embroidery starts coming out, it's almost impossible to stop that process!)
Let's assume, for the sake of this article, that I want to double the size of this design. The only columns that become too large at that size are the purple gems. They would be about a quarter of an inch, at the edge of what we call reasonable. For that color, it would be wise to employ the technique of changing the column to a fill. This would be found in your editing properties.
Now the question is, is there enough underlay to support that fill? Does the stitch direction of the new fill run at an angle that will allow it to sit atop the base fill of that section as easily as a column does. Is the density at which the column was set suitable for a fill density? These are all properties that can, once again, be checked out in your editing properties. 
Something else that needs to be checked out when enlarging a design this much is the underlay of the rest of the sections. This particular design, I noticed, when I was analyzing its ability to be resized, was constructed with a manual underlay. In other words, the digitizer placed each row of stitches by hand, rather than relying on the software to place the underlay for him. Therefore, with the click of a button in the fill section of the properties, you can add underlay to the rest of the sections.
Those simple changes should make this uncomplicated design stitch-able at double the size. It's still not a jacket back size, though, so if we triple the size of the design, what then? The problems are the same, just in a bigger proportion.  
All of the columns become too wide at the tripled size. They can be changed to a fill, but now they need more underlay than did the columns on the original design. Again, with the click of a button, I added an edge walk for the primary underlay and an additional center walk for the secondary underlay.
Since the problem was universal, I didn't have to change the properties of each section, but could choose the entire design and change them only once.
You'd think this might be a very stitch intensive design at this size, but not so. It came out to 28,240 total stitches, on the low size of jacket back sized designs.


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