The Push and Pull Every Professional Embroidery Digitizer Should Know

From the world of physics to the world of marketing, the terms “push and pull” are quite popularly used. In fact, push and pull happen to be the basic elements that make up force, which in turn makes the very base of physics. So, how could the world of machine embroidery stay unaffected by something so basic? Well, it isn’t. The push and pull factor plays a very significant role in the digitizing process and we will be exploring the same below.

What Does Push And Pull Have To Do With Embroidery?

PULL embroidery digitizer

A common question for the beginner, push and pull has a lot do with something even as delicate as embroidery. The physical forces that act upon the fabric during the sewing process cause certain degrees of shifting, which is referred to as the push and pull. Simply put, the push and pull is the effect of what actually happens to the fabric during the sewing process.

To better understand the concept, you will first need to know what exactly happens when a stitch is formed. In order to form a complete stitch, the bobbin thread actually “pulls” down on the upper thread. So, if you have a firm or stiff material on hand, this pull will have a negligible effect. On the other hand, if you have a stretchy or soft fabric, the effect will become visible in the form of columns or segments that sew out narrower than intended. Additional factors to be considered include the type of stitch used, size of the segment, type and amount of underlay used, density of stitches as well as thread tension.

The Skinny on Push and Pull

  • Longer stitches will pull the fabric in around the edges.
  • Larger areas are more vulnerable to push-pull effects.
  • Thicker fabrics will cause greater distortion than thinner ones.
  • High or tight bobbin tension is the root cause of an inward pull.
  • Unstable fabrics like knits aggravate the pulling in of stitches.

Proper underlay is the answer to reining in the effects of push and pull. When digitizing ovals or circles, we recommend the use of a heavy, lattice type underlay. If there is still pulling in at the edges, consider extending the top stitches wherever there is a pull. Appropriate backing and hooping further help control the push-pull effect.

Equipped with these basics and ensuring a test run before delivery will put any embroidery digitizer on the road to mastering digitization.

At, we are dedicated to educating our customers with expert embroidery digitizer advice on the intricacies of commercial machine embroidery. With over 8 years of professional expertise, we are known for impeccably digitized artwork delivered at the most competitive rates, on time, each time.

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