Embroidery Density, Stitch Count and Size


The density of an embroidery design is the relationship of its stitch count relative to its size. There is no set number or measurement for the density of a whole design, because each area of the design may have a different stitch type and therefore a different density. Some designs may be fairly stitch intensive in some areas while much lighter in others.

The denser the design, the sturdier the fabric will need to be to support the stitches, and the more stabilizer you will need to prevent puckering during embroidery. Lighter designs need less support from the fabric and stabilizer.

Embroidery digitizers set the density of each stitch type to create different decorative effects. An experienced digitizer will be careful to make sure a design does not become too dense by layering too many stitches in an area. Overly-dense designs can create problems during embroidery and can add too much stiffness to the finished project.

Stitch Count

This is the total number of stitches in the design. Knowing the size of the design will help you know how long it will take to stitch. The more stitches, the longer the stitching time. If your machine stitches per minute, you can estimate the time needed to sew the design, keeping in mind that stitches per minute (SPM) is an average, and that you will also need time to change threads. The stitch count also gives you a clue as to the density of the design. Stitch counts are listed on the design's product page and in the “Sewing Information” PDF for each collection, which is also downloadable from the design's product page. In order to determine the density, you will also need to know the size of the design.


You need to know the size of a design for two reasons. First, you need to be sure the design you are choosing will fit into the sewing field of your machine’s hoop. You can find out the maximum size your machine will sew by consulting your machine’s manual. Secondly, you need to be sure the design will fit onto the area you wish to sew it. Measure the area where you will be stitching your design to determine if your design fits – check for pockets, seams, buttons, or other obstructions that might get in the way of your embroidery design. Designs on Scissortail Stitches' website is listed in both inches and millimeters. The design size, stitch count, thread colors and more can be found on the "Sewing Info" tab on any product page.

Knowing your design’s stitch count and size can help you in making stabilizer and fabric decisions. This information can be found on the design's product page and in the Sewing Information PDF included with your design or downloadable from the product page.

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