* Brother PE500 embroidery machine and the Windows 7 computer to run it.
Below are Andy's instructions:
Here are the latest instructions - feel free to improve and champion!
Turn on the monitor and computer, and embroidery machine.
Threading the machine
Ensure the bobbin thread is the desired color, white usually works fine.
Bobbin type needed: any bobbin compatible with this machine, such as model 136492001 from creativesewingsolutions.com
To roll a bobbin: Thread the desired bobbin color according to the picture instructions on the top of the machine. If the thread tension is correct, the bobbin thread will only appear on the back of the design. Make sure to use the “thread cap” which helps guide the thread and prevent snags. Ensure the cap is all the way against the thread spool. Make sure to complete step 4: push the spindle to the right. At this point the “Go” LED button will turn yellow, press it. The bobbin will automatically stop winding once it's full.
Thread the bobbin in the machine according to the picture on the sewing plate. Once threaded, ensure to pull the end until all the slack is out and the bobbin turns. Then trim the end of the thread using the built in cutter, according to the picture. Replace the plastic bobbin cover.
Ensure to use a needle of the appropriate thickness. The thicker the fabric, the thicker the needle, to prevent the needle from breaking.
If the spool for the thread is cardboard, ensure to push all the thread to the end of the cardboard, and ensure the exposed cardboard end is down. Otherwise it will snag. Thread the desired color according to the picture instructions on the top and front of the machine. Make sure to use the “thread cap” which helps guide the thread and prevent snags. Ensure the cap is all the way against the thread spool. Ensure the presser foot is up when threading the machine, this ensures the thread tension guide is open so the thread ends up between the tension plates.
Securing the material
Tension in the material is very important for a proper design. If the material is soft or stretchy, stabilizer material is likely needed. Stabilizer material comes in many forms, inventory is kept in the desk drawer underneath the machine. If the material is soft or stretchy, though smooth, then likely only the backing material is needed. This backing material is stiff and white, and is often called “Tear Away” or “Cut away”. Cut a piece slightly larger than the hoop size of the machine. These pieces can be reused, by shifting to a new area of the piece. Reusing a piece works well when layered with a second, new piece of material.
If the material is plush, or has long strands of material, the other main type of stabilizer material is likely also needed. This is called “wash away” or “heat away”, is clear, and goes on the top off the design. Similar to the backing, this material can also be reused. Tension in this material is less important than the tension in the backing material and the fabric itself.
Secure the backing and stabilizer (if used) in the compression hoop. Adjust the thumb screw as needed for a tight fit. Ensure to secure the material away from the back side of where the pattern will be sewn. A rubber band at the top and bottom of the hoop works well, or safety pins. Patches can always be used for any design, then applied to main fabric as needed.
Running the software
Open the “Layout and Editing” software on the desktop of the computer by the embroidery machine, the icon in the upper left hand corner with a picture of a bird.
NOTE: If you would like to open an existing .PES file (this is the file format for this Layout and Editing software), for some reason apparently you first need to start the software, then use the “File–>Open” functionality. Otherwise if you double click an existing .PES file the software simply opens to a new “Untitled” file. Surely a Windows expert could probably fix this, though for now this is a workaround.
If you simply want to embroider text, continue here:
Font # 6 is a nice clean, large font. A text height of 0.80 inches (~20 mm) works well for initials. For more than 3 or 4 characters a smaller font size works well, like 15 mm. Use the single “A” in the software, in the left hand column, to enter the text. LMB (left mouse button) a spot so the text ends up in about the middle of the white grid. This white grid is the maximum size your layout can be.
If you have an image you want to embroider, continue here:
If you're drawing an image by hand, ensure to use thick black lines and bold colors. Thick markers work best.
Bring your image to the computer by the embroidery machine as 4“x4” max. This is the maximum design size the embroidery machine can do.
You can use Paint or other image editing software to resize if needed.
Please note this “Image to Stitch Wizard” software is also available on a trial basis (for other computers) here: http://www.brother.com/common/hsm/pednext/pednext_trial.html
So far it appears to be the same software as that available on the computer by the embroidery machine, with the same image processing capabilities, etc.
From the “Image” menu, choose “Image to Stitch Wizard”. Navigate to your image file. So far we've only tested .JPG, .BMP and .PNG, with what appears to be the same quality of results. .GIFs fail. Other formats may also work.
Keep the default selection of Auto Punch.
For fine detail, the best settings are Noise Reduction set all the way LOW, and the Segmentation Sensitivity set all the way HIGH.
Also play around with increasing the maximum number of colors, to result in the color differences you want in your design.
What's important is the contrast between the different colors you want in your design, rather than the actual colors in your design / wizard. When you thread the machine, you can choose whatever thread color you would like for each section. Play around with X'ing out the colors you want to exclude from your design.
After your design is ready (whether image or text), continue here:
Save the file as the default, .PES
Export as .DST
Drag and drop the .DST file to the embroidery machine shortcut which acts as an external USB drive.
On the embroider machine, push the button with the USB symbol.
You'll see the file on the machine. Press the file on the machine, which will then load “into” the little icon at the top of the screen. Once fully loaded into memory, the border of that little icon at the top will change from dashes to solid. For larger file sizes, this may take up to 30 seconds or more.
Once the border of the little icon at the top changes from dashes to solid, press that icon.
The machine will sew the colors in the order indicated from left to right. The name of the colors are irrelevant, load the right color based on the image shown on the screen.
When threading machine, make sure the presser foot is up.
Once threaded, put the presser foot down. Press the auto thread lever located on the left hand side of the machine.
Using a seam ripper or other small pointy object, pull the loop of the thread to fully thread the needle.
Press the lighted green button on the front of the machine to start!
To jump back and forth between colors, press the icon at the bottom right of the screen labeled “adjust”. The carriage can also be shifted using the arrow keys to properly align, and to enable two designs to be done during one “run”.
To get a new design, press the pink “back” arrow on the machine. Ok when prompted to “delete the pattern”. Then load the new file as before.
Then press the icon in the middle label plus/minus.
Then press the plus minus thread icons at the top to change between colors, or the icons at the bottom labeled plus minus to skip ahead stitches within a color.
Clean up the desktops when you're done, thanks! (i.e. in front of the embroidery machine and the desktop of the computer).