After meeting with a few designers and artists who do Embroidery design, and seeing scanned, embroidered designs by famous designers slowly take over design blogs as a means of expression in itself, I am thinking about getting into it and eventually offering it as a design service to my clients (to create branded collateral, along with other "easy" products like prints, stickers, etc) - or simply as a way to show ideas.

However, it seems that few machines and software are compatible with Mac OS. I understand that it is a difficult design process, requiring much effort and has a learning curve, and that no app will "do it for you".

However, before going any further into this project, since it will likely require paid for apps and expensive hardware, I would like to know of proper workflows that exist and are compatible with Mac OS.

What is a proper Mac-based workflow for Embroidered designs, from creating the PES files to exporting to the machine?

[Not asking for a tutorial, obviously - just to better understand what tools exist and can work in my workflow, and also to budget accordingly].

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    You might want to have a look through this list en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_embroidery_software
    – Billy Kerr
    Aug 9, 2018 at 9:45
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    Also, Inkscape has an Extension called Inkstitch which can be used to output PES files.
    – Billy Kerr
    Aug 9, 2018 at 10:21
  • Thanks @BillyKerr! Unfortunately, Inkscape is extremely buggy on Macs running High Sierra. I was able to install the Inkstitch extension, however every Inkstitch menu I clicked returned error messages and didn't affect selected objects. Aug 9, 2018 at 20:09
  • The extension works in Windows 10, I just tried it. Can't you use a virtual Windows machine or perhaps even Linux to run it if it's unstable on your MacOS?
    – Billy Kerr
    Aug 10, 2018 at 9:41
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    Well @BillyKerr my current question is whether there is a steady workflow on a Mac that can be streamlined. I don’t know anyone who uses windows and I have no knowledge of it, let alone switching platforms back and forth to create graphics and then convert them doesn’t sound like a durable process Aug 10, 2018 at 16:38

1 Answer 1


I use a Mac and I have to use a program inside VMWare/Windows(Corel Drawings X3). I import an EPS8 file inside the program that opens the CorelDraw at the same time. We can manipulate the vector in the CorelDRAW window and see the result in the drawings windows.

I know there is a plugin for Adobe Illustrator called Embroideryi2, but it is too expensive (in my opinion).

There is another option called Embroidery effect (for Windows also), but this is for visualization only. It will not save the embroidery file.

  • Looks like Embroidery i2 is in fact a very full-featured embroidery application built as a plugin for Illustrator - it can do an amazing range of embroidery tasks, and is clearly aimed at embroidery professionals. This, I think, explains the ~ $3500 price tag which seems initially egregious for a plug-in: it's really a full on embroidery tool suite which leverages either Illustrator or Corel as its underlying general graphics framework. Aug 8, 2018 at 15:49
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    @GerardFalla definitely aimed at professionals, and its ridiculous price keeps many possible new customers and designers who want to give it a try at bay. Aug 8, 2018 at 18:44
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    @GerardFalla $3500 is egregious, not only for a plug-in, but for an entire application suite. It’s five times the price of the entire CS6 suite (when that could still be purchased). A $3500 application isn’t for ‘professionals’ so much as for large-scale corporations. Aug 28, 2020 at 6:15
  • Completely agreed - I'd not pay that - but then again, I don't occupy that professional space, so I don't know anything about expected expenses, book-to-bill ratios or anything for that speciality. Aug 29, 2020 at 9:01

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