Custom Creations: A Quick Guide on How to Create Custom Embroidery Designs on a Home Machine

Custom Creations: A Quick Guide on How to Create Custom Embroidery Designs on a Home Machine

Hey everyone and welcome to this week’s blog feature! Before I teach you how to create custom embroidery designs on a home machine, I want to introduce myself. My name is Melissa and I am a part of the Creative Team at Anita Goodesign. When I am not traveling the country to teach Anita’s University courses, a majority of my time at work is spent helping craft the tutorials and fun content found in each month’s All Access. Now, I’m here to share more insider tips and tricks to making your embroidery projects entirely your own!

DISCLAIMER: This blog post has been written to specifically demonstrate the merging or changing of designs in a Brother or BabyLock brand of home embroidery machines. In order to customize or edit on a different machine make or model, use these steps as a guide and reference your machine’s owners manual for locating the on-screen editing features.

You’re in your sewing space, crafting up a storm and looking for the perfect finishing touch for your latest project to gift to a friend. What about creating custom embroidery designs? Personalization is the perfect opportunity to turn your standard embroidery design into something more unique, whether it be for yourself or a loved one. Finding the perfect design to customize can be difficult. Maybe you spotted a design from last month you love and want to add a small change, but you’re in the dark about digitizing. With this simple design hack, you’ll be on your way to creating custom embroidery designs in no time, no digitizing software needed!



We wanted to give you the skill set to turn any of your embroidery designs into custom creations by walking you through the easy process of editing and adding to an existing design. For some, this is as easy as using a Design Center or other similar, built-in program, but for others without specialty software or the ability to digitize, the features of most home embroidery machines will still allow you to customize your creation to some extent.

For our example, we wanted to craft a gift tag using a previous Anita collection, “Tag, You’re It!” This project collection features a series of 12 different gift tag pairings that can be tied onto a present. But what if none of those design options feel personal or appropriate? That’s where customizing your design comes in! Through a simple series of quick in-machine edits, you’ll be able to skip portions of the design you do not want, and can add in other design elements and even text to your existing design. The process is fairly simple once you learn how, so let’s get started!

Step 1

To start, pull up the design in your machine that you are wanting to edit and stitch out. For the purpose of this blog post, we are going to be altering one of the tag designs from Tag, You’re It, specifically design TIY5 that says “YOU DID IT!” but note that you can follow the same process with any design! 

If your machine offers a home screen selection for Embroidery Edit mode to select this feature before pulling up your design. If there is no home screen Edit mode for loading designs, then simply load the file as normal to pull it up on screen and edit.

embroidery machine designs

Step 2

On the preview screen of your design, you will see the ability to “EDIT” near the top right, as well as “ADD” towards the bottom left. We are wanting to create a gift tag for a friend that features their name rather than the expression digitized onto the tag. To do this, we will be selecting the “ADD” feature in the lower corner, which will bump you back to the machine’s main screen pull up a design to add.

It is important to note that you can add text to your design, but without embroidery digitizing software or a Design Center feature, you will not be able to delete portions of the design. Instead, we are going to focus on how to SKIP the undesired steps and incorporating your desired element instead!

Step 3

embroidery designs

From the main screen, locate the design you are wanting to add. Since these tags are fairly small in scale, you may not be able to add any main embroidery designs unless it measure smaller than the tag itself! Instead, we are going to click on the built-in fonts feature for our machine. The font you choose is entirely up to you! Choose a font you want to type your message in, then use the on-screen feature to type in the name or message.

For ours, we are going to add the name “ANITA” to make a custom gift tag! Type in the name or phrase you’re adding, being mindful if you need to break text into two lines to fit within the design shape. Once you’ve typed in your text, you will select “SET” to drop the new word onto your design. Don’t worry about scale or orientation yet, we’ll get to that next.

Step 4

embroidery machine

The first thing you’ll notice is that the original wording on the tag design is still there, and that’s okay! The fun of learning how to add in your own phrase also means you’ll be learning how to SKIP over the undesired portion of text. If you need to rotate your text sideways or alter it in any way, do so on this preview screen where the “EDIT” options are available (circled in pink).

The default color on your screen for added-in text is usually black, but just know you can stitch it out in any color you want! Adjust the position and size of your addition as needed, then apply your changes with “OK” and choose “EMBROIDERY” in order to set your custom design and begin. TIP: If your savvy with your machine’s features and know how to alter on-screen colors for the design steps, you can choose to make any undesired steps display as white on screen so it won’t be quite as distracting to look at as a whole!

Step 5

Once you have finished customizing the tag and you’ve continued on to the EMBROIDERY screen, the design is set and you are ready to begin the design.

embroidery designs

Step 6

Stitch out your tag following the design instructions included with the tutorial, paying extra attention to each step change before continuing on. You will want to STOP before you reach the tag’s originally included text, which in this tag is right after the tacking stitch for the base fabric. In order to prevent stitching the text we do not want, navigate to the on-screen button that allows you to advance steps or stitch counts (depending on your machine make/model, there may only be a symbol to represent this, usually with a +/-). 

embroidery machine

Select the option to then pull up the steps navigation. You will want to skip forward past the step—or steps—involving the original text. Depending your design choice, this could be in more than one embroidery step, so be sure to SKIP all the undesired elements until you reach the start of your newly added text.

embroidery machine designs

Step 7

The phrase or name you added in will get automatically dropped at the end of the design steps sequence, meaning it will be the last element in your design file to stitch out. Specifically with freestanding designs like this tag, there will be steps to attach a back fabric as well as finishing satin stitches.

If you are adding elements to a freestanding design like this one, you will have to do a bit of step skipping in order to run the newly added word before the back fabric and finishing steps. Don’t be afraid of moving backwards or forwards in your design, just use the smaller on-screen preview box to see exactly what part is about to stitch out to help you navigate to the back tacking step.

embroidery design file

Step 8

Once your newly added element or text has been stitched out onto the design, use the “+/-” feature again to navigate the design steps back to any embroidery or finishing steps that would have followed the original text on the tag, allowing the design to get its back fabric and finishing stitches. You can then continue to run your design until it is fully finished.



In the case of “Tag, You’re It,” there is an additional, smaller tag that compliments the main design which will get completed within the same design file and hooping following the completion of the first tag. Keep in mind when skipping to the end for your text that you will have to go back before the smaller tag in order to get back to the back and finishing steps for therein tag. Once it’s finished running, you can remove your new personalized tag and add it to a gift for that special someone. There you have it! You’ve learned how to create your very own custom embroidery design.

embroidery gift tags

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