Would you like some motif pie?  Yes, of course you do! Once you get the hang of creating your own motif stitches, you will find it difficult to stop!  It really is as easy as pie!

The first things you need are a piece of paper, pencil or pen and a ruler and a compass will certainly help.  All you have to do is draw a pie!  The more intricate you make it, the easier it will be to create more complicated motifs.  Take your time, measure everything and make sure the angles are correct.  For my example, I made a simple pie, a little rough around the edges, but it still works just fine.  I have a better one saved on my computer, but I wanted something a little more simple for the example, so everything is nice and clear.  Once you get the hang of it, you can go ahead and make whatever type of pie you want – and then get creating some awesome motifs!

Here is my simple pie:

how to create your own motif

See?  that is not too complicated.  A straight line going across, one up and down and then a few more to make the pie slices.  You should be neater about it and use a ruler, and make sure that all of your lines meet up, too.  But mine is good enough!

If you have not used any motif stitches (not motif fill stitches, that is something else that we will save for another day) you need to watch one stitch out so you can see how they work.  Hatch has a ton of already made motif stitches, so all you have to do is draw a line with an open path and then pick your motif.  Send that to the machine and watch it stitch out.  What did you notice?  Did you notice that everything goes in one direction, and there are no jump stitches?  Yep, there is a certain flow of motif stitches, and normally they go from left to right.  A  motif will stitch, and right where the first one ends, the second one starts so there are no pauses, no jump stitches and no tie off stitches, just straight from one to another.  I hate to say the word “rule” in embroidery  because I often bend them, but this is a rule that works the best:  the motif must start where the last one stops – you really don’t want any jump stitches and you can have a mess going on!   I have marked the pie with the start and end points:

motif 3 circle

We are starting with a node on the left, and ending on the right.  Everything else in between creates the motif.  Once you get good at these, the sky’s the limit – you can make simple Christmas trees, Halloween faces and just about anything that you would like.  Remember, however that motif stitches are meant to be small (like on a sewing machine) so make sure you don’t put a ton of nodes in your motif – you don’t want to have density problems or problems with too many needle penetrations in one place.   There are no rules as to the size of the motifs that you make, but traditionally they are small and simple, so try and keep that in mind as you are working along.

We have our motif pie, we have established the start and end points, so what is next?  Let’s create the motif.  I am going to keep it simple for this blog, just to keep things clear.  The “inside” of the motif (meaning other than the start and stop points) needs to be planned out – as with any digitizing, your plotting out of the design is the most important thing you can do.  Same with creating a motif stitch.   You have to think about your final design and then figure out how you can plot it out – keeping in mind about density and needle penetrations too.    This is going to require some experimentation and some playing, but playing in Hatch is so much fun!    Let’s get to it!

For my simple motif, I am going to make a “x” shape.   It is not as simple as drawing out an X, we need to make everything connect properly.  As we are working along remember the no jumps, no stops and the left to right flow.   Put your first point down at the start.  Follow along to the center of the pie and place your second point down right in themiddle.  That is point 2.  How we want to start creating our X, so we are going up to the pie piece right above the start point (stay on your perfectly drawn pie to keep everything straight), and do not put any points in-between remembering that it is going to be a small motif.

Now, here is when it can get tricky – we want to add a point to the right-hand pie piece, but we don’t want to go straight over there or we are going to have a jump stitch.  How do we fix that?  We “walk” over to the next point.  Once you have your point placed back into the center, then make another point over to the right top of the X and back again to the center.  If you are confused have a look at the image below.  The green points and lines are numbered to show you exactly the way to place your points, and in what order.  Follow along with the start point, to center, up to the left of the X, back to center, up to the right of the X and back to center.  The blue lines and points show you that if you go directly from the left of the x to the right of the X, you will get a jump stitch, and that will forever change the end result of the motif.  It would be fine of you wanted a bow shape, but not if you wanted an X shape!

motif 56

Hopefully you are getting the rythm of it now.  Shall we finish?  We left off back in the center of the motif, and now we are going to do the left bottom of the X.  So click one node at the left bottom of the X, and then click another one back at the center.  Do the same for the bottom right of the X and click on center, and then click on the end point.  Now you can follow the path of the X that starts at the left side and ends at the right side.  You have done it!  You have created your very own simple motif stitch!

Here is the complete pathing for the X:

motif 4 circle

The red arrows indicate the direction that you are going and each direction change is where you place a point.

Now that we have this created, we need to make it into a motif stitch.  Select your object and go to the motif create symbol icon in Hatch.  Once you click on that button, it will ask you to name and sort your motif – you can create your own custom folder and name it something that you can remember – how about simply X? There is one more step before we are done – and don’t forget this one or your motif will not work – Hatch is waiting for your input to finalize the motif.  You need to left click where you want your motif to start (this will match the start point on our pie) and then left click straight across to the endpoint – so 2 clicks before you are done.

Now for the fun part – let’s test it out!  Go to select path and digitize and go digitize open shape.  Draw out a line, left clicking on the two points – hit enter and then change the stitch type to motif.  Pick your motif and there it is!  WOOOHOO, it looks awesome!  It’s a perfect motif stitch from start to finish.  Run the player to make sure that you have everything plotted correctly and then test stitch it.


Once you get the rythm of creating motif stitches, you can keep working at it and do some more complicated motif stitch designs.  Play around with the built in ones and get some ideas.

Things to remember when creating motif stitches:

1. Size does matter:  Don’t make teeny weeny motif stitches with 20 points – you are going to have some issues.

2.  Start and End:  make sure that your motif starts where the last one ended.

3.  Watch out for density issues.

4.  Make sure you don’t add points to the exact same spot over and over again, you will have issues.

5.   Plot out your design.

6.  No jump stitches, stops or trims allowed.

7.  Have fun experimenting.

Until next time,

Have some motif pie,



2 Responses to “CREATING YOUR OWN MOTIFS: It’s as easy as pie!”

  1. cynthia says:

    So once I create a motif stitch, how can I save it to the software to be used again for a future project?

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