Jump stitches.  Yucch.  Sometimes jump stitches happen in small amounts, but if you are trying to stitch out a design with a ton of jump stitches, you are going to get frustrated and disappointed as your design stitches out.    Let’s have a serious talk about Jump stitches.  Seriously, the embroidery world needs fewer jump stitches, and happier embroiderers!

To be perfectly clear, jump stitches do happen, and you can’t always get rid of every single jump stitch.  They are going to be there sometimes.  We are discussing EXCESSIVE jump stitches in one design…meaning that once you finish your embroidery, it looks like a jump stitch mess.

WHAT ARE JUMP STITCHES?  Jump stitches happen when you are stitching out objects in an embroidery design and it “jumps” over to another part of the design and you end up with a long long stitch floating on the top of your embroidery.    Here is a digital example of an unnecessarily long jump stitch:


why you do not need jump stitches

That long line in the middle is a jump stitch. It jumps from one object to another., forming a long stitch.

In the picture above, the jump stitch starts from the far left of the first circle and goes all the way over to the far right of the second circle.  And yes, if your machine does not have trimmers, you will have that big line of thread.  Just sitting there.  Waiting for you to do more work and trim it, and hope it doesn’t come unraveled, or the trimming spot doesn’t look bad.  Just waiting.  Nanny-Nanny-boo-boo says the jump stitch, I have now created more work for you, the embroiderer.   Well, that’s what unnecessary jump stitches say to me, anyways.

HOW TO FIX JUMP STITCHES:  Well, that is a bit of a trick statement, because you really can’t fix them in a stitch file.  A stitch file can’t be edited, so you are stuck with it.    If you are a digitizer, then you CAN fix the jump stitches before you make your machine/stitch file.  You can learn how to digitize at a professional level and use connections instead of all of those loud jump stitches!  Proper digitizing is the only way to fix jump stitches – they need to NOT BE IN YOUR EMBROIDERY in excessive amounts.   Embroidery digitizing is a skill, and you need to learn your skill properly.  And that includes eliminating all unnecessary jump stitches.  Argue with me if you want, but if your final design includes a ton of jump stitches, you are not done with your design – get back to work and eliminate your jump stitches!

MACHINE TRIMS ARE NOT THE ANSWER:  I see this time and time again.  “MY MACHINE HAS A TRIMMER, SO I DON’T CARE ABOUT JUMP STITCHES, THEY ARE ALL GONE WHEN I AM DONE”.  Congratulations on having a machine with a trimmer, but you have not fixed the jump stitches issue – you may have made it worse by adding tons of trims into your stitched out design.  Yes, machines do have trimmers, and yes they do trim jump stitches, and yes, that may make your embroidery life easier BUT you are putting out poor embroidery, that has a good chance of not lasting too long.  I have talked with a few techs, and they are noticing that there are a lot more machines with over-used trimmers – which is a time consuming and costly fix.  Machine trimmers are not meant to be in constant use!  But let’s look at machine trims “fixing” jump stitches in two ways:  From the front and from the back.

First the front of the embroidery.   When a digitizer is creating a design that has an intended trim, we add in a trim code and a TIE OFF.  That tie off is particularly important for a trim – any trim.  The tie off will literally TIE OFF your thread and bobbin and make a type of “knot” to tie down the thread before it trims.  The key again is TIE DOWN – a tie down stitch will literally keep the thread from unraveling because it is now tied down to the embroidery with the bobbin.  The result?  Nice neat front of your design.  THE ISSUE?  if you don’t create a tie down before a trim, there is no tie down stitch.  Sooooooo, if you have a jump stitch, and your machine trims it YOU DON’T HAVE A TIE DOWN STITCH…and you have nothing to hold your threads in place.   So jump stitches generally mean no tie down stitches…which means if you have 20 jump stitches in a design and they all get trimmed YOU HAVE 20X THE CHANCE THAT YOUR EMBROIDERY WILL COME APART.  Makes sense, right?  Why do you want to take hours and hours of time doing embroidery, listening to your machine constantly trim and then have a chance that it the whole embroidery design will fall apart?  or parts will fall apart?  You don’t want that.  No one wants that.  You need tie ins and then trims, NOT trimmed jump stitches.

THE BACK OF EMBROIDERY:  Ok, so you stitched out a design, and yippee it trimmed all of the unnecessary jump stitches.  Great.  The front looks OK for now (until the threads fall apart, of course) but have you seen the backside of your embroidery???  Look at all those threads, look at that mess you have created.  While the backside of embroidery generally isn’t pretty, adding tons of trims makes it look terrible!  Each trim has a tail or two, and that can really add up and make the back look messy and kind of fuzzy with threads everywhere.  What are the chances of those threads getting caught on something?   To me, the back side needs to look ok.  It is unprofessional to have a bunch of threads hanging out of your embroidery.    Yes, there are going to be some, but it really should be smooth, not fringed, LOL.

Speaking of the back of embroidery, what happens if your machine doesn’t trim?  You can go ahead and take the time, energy and effort to trim all those jump stitches from the front of the design, but do you consider the back, too?  all those jump stitches are on the back too!  And you can very easily catch those jump stitches – try dressing a toddler with long jump stitches on their shirt – you know they are going to put their hand through it and pull the embroidery.  So trim them all, front and back, right?  WRONG!  now you have trimmed both sides of the embroidery jump stitches, what is there to hold your stitches in the embroidery?  You don’t have tie in stitches, and now you have really really short tails.  Your embroidery is going to fall apart so much easier now.

And before anyone asks, there is no magic embroidery machine or magic software that will eliminate the jump stitches.  All they will do is trim, and as I said above,  that is not the solution to the problem, that is just a band-aid that will eventually come off and probably make everything worse.  So don’t fall for it, you can’t fix them – unless the digitizer learns to digitize properly, you are stuck with them.

So, that being said, how do you avoid stitching out designs with jump stitches?   You can check them out on our software and look at a number of jump stitches before you stitch them out – that is a start.  If you don’t have any embroidery software, it may be worth spending even $199 and getting a basic level so you can see your designs before you stitch them.  $199 for Hatch Customizer will do the trick for something like that, otherwise, you are going to have to stitch and find out.

HERE IS THE RULE:  Pay attention, this is very important. While I don’t buy too many designs, I do buy them.  I BUY ONE DESIGN.  Just one design to test it out.  If I stitch out that design and it has too many jump stitches that my machine trims while I am watching it stitch out, I WILL NOT BUY ANY MORE OF THOSE DESIGNS, PERIOD.   PLEASE STOP BUYING DESIGNS WITH JUMP STITCHES.  It makes me sad when I hear how frustrated people become when their embroidery experience is ruined because of jump stitches – crappy stitch outs, crappy machine noise and crappy results.   If this is the case, your digitizer needs to invest more in their skilled trade and learn how to digitize properly.  You should be able to walk away from your machine and it will happily stitch your design.   If you have designs created by a skilled digitizer and you hoop the design properly, you can have the exact same results with a single needle machine than with an expensive multi needle machine.  Yes, you sure can.  So before you go off and invest $12,000 into a multi needle machine that trims, take a look at your designs first.  You may be surprised.

CONCLUSION:  If embroidery is making you frustrated, stressed, making you babysit your machine constantly and making you want to purchase an expensive machine just so you can have trimmers, take a moment to look at your designs.  DO YOUR HOMEWORK on the creator of the designs.  Do they have experience?  do they have stitch-outs of their designs?  Wake up and smell the coffee, people – I know of people selling designs on Etsy that have only been digitizing for WEEKS or MONTHS and I can see all of the errors in their designs, even if they are not showing the jump stitches.   Why on earth would you stitch something like that out on your machine?  Why make yourself frustrated?  Just because someone sells designs, doesn’t mean that they SHOULD sell designs.  If y’all keep buying them, you are creating your own misery!

THE CHALLENGE:  I can prove everything that I am saying about jump stitches, with a wide open challenge.  These are not my designs, but I have done my homework!  The digitizer has 30 years experience and has won awards for his digitizing (He didn’t win awards for leaving jump stitches in his designs, that’s for sure).  Here is the challenge – pick a design from the UltimateStash.com – you can have one design for free, no credit card required, and you can PICK ANY DESIGN THAT YOU WANT.  So pick one, its free.  Hoop some fabric and stabilizer.  Stitch the design.  Smile cause you see the difference between this design and what you have been doing.  When the machine is stitching, listen to your machine.  It will be running smoothly – no big noises, no loud then quiet motor noises, no struggling.  Nice and smooth.  If you really want a treat and test my challenge, pick some of the free standing lace.  You will see a BIG difference.  You will feel the difference.  And the results speak for themselves.

Seriously, try my challenge.  I know I am right, you will see a big difference.  You will experience a calm peace when it is stitching out.  You will smile.  You will relax.  You will remember how much fun embroidery can be without all of the hassles, and you will be confident in your final product.  What do you have to lose?


Until next time.








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