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Type of Machine Embroidery Repeats

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The distance between the needles is called a repeat.

Standard Repeats

The distance between the needles is called repeat.

Type Function Distance between two working needles
4/4 All needles are working 27.08 mm
8/4 One needle is working, one needle is off 54.16 mm
12/4 One needle is working, two needles are off 81.24 mm
16/4 One needle is working, three needles are off 108.32 mm
20/4 One needle is working, four needles are off 135.4 mm

For color change designs (ATC) the standard repeats are used differently. For example, a 12/4 repeat allows max. three different colors.

When embroidering the first color, the first needle is activated; the second and the third needle are off. This repeat is called 12/4 first needle.

When embroidering the second color, the second needle is working; the first and the third needle are off. This repeat is called 12/4 second needle.

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When embroidering the third color, the first and the second needle are off. This repeat is called 12/4 third needle.

Embroidery Design Repeat

The distance between the needles is called repeat. One repeat is 27.08 mm. The repeat determines the size of the design. If the repeat is too small for a design, stitches will overlap. If the repeat is too large, the distance between two designs will be big.

embroidery repeat

Irregular Repeats

Irregular repeats (every single needle can be activated or deactivated) are used besides the standard repeats. For machines without thread cut the punching of designs with a special repeat might be rather difficult whereas the punching of irregular repeat designs is easy for machines equipped with thread cut. Borers have to be used in the same repeats as the needles.

Patterns can be varied by setting the needles with different spacing, i.e. basic repeat is 12/4, two flowers are made in 4/4 with a 4/4 distance or whatever might suit your design ideas.

1 Comment
  1. Vinayak Satyanami says

    Hi Textile Schoo,

    I was looking for content on Embroidery Designing machines today when I stumbled on your article: Type of Machine Embroidery Repeats
    Good stuff! I especially enjoyed Standard Repeats and the needle distances table that you have shown in your article.

    Also, I just published a new guide on “Best Laptop for running Embroidery Software” : https://techsuggest.org/best-laptop-for-embroidery-software/

    As someone that writes about Embroidery design, I thought you’d enjoy it.

    My guide may also make a nice addition to your page.

    Talk Soon,
    Tech Suggest

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