Fixing Digital Embroidery Gaps with Pull Compensation

by lazyembroidery

Last time I posted, I had just learned how to digitize a cartoon image into something my machine can stitch.

Alas, the design did not stitch out perfectly. There are gaps between the color fill and the outline of my stitched out design. I had a hard time finding help with these gaps because I didn’t know this problem is referred to as “pull” and can be fixed by tweaking a setting in the design called “pull compensation”. My design puts a good deal of “pull” stress on the fabric, which results in a large gap between the color fill and the border around my design.


Pull is a normal part of embroidery and must be compensated for either by altering the design’s pull compensation or changing the stitch length, stitch type, density of stitches, the design itself, the fabric the design is being stitched onto, and/or the stabilizing underlayment. I opted for the easiest fixes (this being “lazy embroidery”, after all), which meant choosing a less stretchy fabric and increasing the pull compensation on the digital design itself.

Here is the result:


Well, that’s better, but it’s not perfect yet. Also notice how narrow the “heart” design stitched out.  That heart was much wider in the design file! So even with this sturdier fabric, the designs are still “bunching up”.

Stubborn thing that I am, I increased pull compensation even further and stitched the same design one more time (with a different stitch design, too – he’s wavy now!).


That’s much better. The color fill now matches up with the embroidered outline.

The outline is set to 20 length and 2 separation, and the body’s pull compensation is set to 5. These settings worked well for the stabilizer and flannel fabric I am embroidering on, but they may not work for other fabrics or designs.

Alas, the only way to really test an embroidery design is to stitch it out, which creates quite a few “failed experiments” along the way.

I turned mine into Christmas ornaments:


For more help with pull compensation, check out this article by Flying Needle, which explains pull compensation in great detail.