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Motif stitch

Motif stitch can be used for lines or fills. You can create decorative outlines using any pattern from the selection list. You can modify the rotation angle, orientation and scale, and vary the space between patterns. Motifs are repeated in parallel rows to form decorative fills.

The Create Motif function lets you save your own motif shapes for future use. Create your own ‘motif sets’ to organize and classify your motifs. See also Custom shapes.

Use Object Properties > Outline > Motif to create ornamental craftstitch borders. Choose from pattern library.

Use Object Properties > Fill > Motif to create decorative open fill stitching. Choose from a motif library.

Select motif patterns

Whether you are digitizing motif lines or fills, you have access to the same pattern gallery. Choose a library from the droplist. Note that you can detach the Pattern Gallery from the docker and float it in the design workspace for easy access. Change a motif at any time by selecting a motif line or fill, or any other line or fill for that matter, and choosing another motif from the gallery. You can even define you own motifs and motif libraries. See also Motif stamps.

Use Object Properties > Outline > Motif to create ornamental craftstitch borders. Choose from pattern library.

Use Digitize > Digitize Open Line to create a row of run or other outline stitching along a digitized line. Left-click for corner points, right-click for curves.

Motif outlines

Using Motif line in combination with Digitize Open Line or any other line input method. Digitize motif line as you would a normal run line. Left-click for corner points, right-click for curve points.

Press <Enter> to complete.

  • To use the original size and orientation of the motif press <Enter>.
  • To scale the motif, move the pointer until the motif is the required size, click, then press <Enter>.


Motif sizing & spacing

Set the exact size and spacing of motifs in a Motif line via the Object Properties dialog before or after digitizing.

Scale individual motifs in the motif run by adjusting Width and Height settings. In the Spacing field, enter the distance between each repetition. If the motifs do not fit the digitized line exactly, the software adjusts spacing to make them fit.

Use Select > Reshape to reshape an object shape, edit stitch angles, adjust entry and exit points, or customize envelopes.

Reshape motif runs

Reshape motifs runs in the same way as you reshape lettering objects. Select a Motif line object and click the Reshape icon.

Use the control points to adjust outline and motif spacings:

  • Drag the sizing handle to scale the object proportionately.
  • Right/left-click to add reshape nodes.
  • Click-and-drag individual motifs to adjust spacing.
  • Select reshape nodes and press <Spacebar> to toggle between corner and curve points.

Use Digitize > Circle / Oval to quickly digitize circular shapes using current stitch settings.

Use Digitize > Rectangle / Square to quickly digitize rectangular shapes using current stitch settings.

Use Context > Mirror X to flip selection horizontally.
Use Context > Mirror Y to flip selection vertically.

Motif orientation

If you digitize a circle outline object (using Circle/Oval tool) using an asymmetrical motif, the motif runs inside the circle in an anti-clockwise direction. Rectangle objects place the motif outside the shape. If you want to reverse the orientation, first apply Mirror X or Y to the single run object and then apply the motif.

If you have already created the motif and want to invert it, first select the object and click Single Run. Then invert it using Mirror X or Y and re-select the desired motif.

Use Object Properties > Fill > Motif to create decorative open fill stitching. Choose from a motif library.

Use Digitize > Digitize Closed Shape to create closed shapes using either outline or fill stitching. Left-click for corner points, right-click for curves.

Motif fills

Use Motif fill in combination with Digitize Closed Shape or any available closed shape digitizing method. Digitize motif fills as you would a normal tatami fill. Click for corner points. Right-click for curve points. As soon as entry and exit points are entered, motif fill stitches are generated using current settings.

Alternatively, apply motif fill to existing closed objects. Change motifs as you like via the Object Properties dialog.


Blackwork gets its name from the black silk thread traditionally used in this form of embroidery. Use the special Blackwork Fill pattern set to create interesting scrolling or geometric patterns.

Use Object Properties > Fill > Motif to create decorative open fill stitching. Choose from a motif library.

Alternating motif fills

Mix and match different motifs for forward and backward rows. Tick the 'Use Alternate Motif' checkbox and select a complementary motif from the Pattern Gallery. Forward and backward rows have their own width and height settings.

Use the Layout settings to control row spacing. See below for further detail.

Try combining alternating motifs with curved fill effects such as 3D Warp. See also Curved fills.


Adjust motif pattern settings

You can adjust motif fill size and spacing as you would motif lines. The same controls exist for pattern sizing. Spacing is the distance between each pattern repetition except that in a motif fill, you can control both row and column spacing. Column spacing defaults to pattern width, while row spacing defaults to pattern height.

Motif fills also allow you to specify an orientation for the entire fill using the Angle setting.

In addition, you can offset one row from another. Hover the cursor over the field to view a graphical representation.

Stitch angle has no effect on layout.


Visually adjust motif layouts

Motif layouts can be adjusted interactively by means of the Layout function. Using ‘guide motifs’, you can scale, space, transform and offset the entire motif fill directly on screen. 

Click the Layout button. The three guide motifs appear and are highlighted in blue. Reference motifs appear in yellow. Each guide motif lets you change a different setting. Zoom in and adjust guide motifs to achieve the effect you require...

  • Click the middle guide motif to activate rotation handles. Drag handles to rotate or skew motifs.
  • Click and drag the top guide motif to adjust column spacing and row offsets.
  • Use the third guide motif to change row spacing.
  • All guide motifs can be used to scale motifs or change height and width settings independently. Simply click-and-drag sizing handles.
  • Press <Enter> to confirm or <Esc> to escape.


Fancy stitches

Apart from the default motif gallery, the software provides a number of specialist or fancy motif fills as well. For example, Blackwork gets its name from the black silk thread traditionally used in this form of embroidery. Early designs tend to be angular, whereas later designs use more diagonal stitches. Blackwork employs just a few simple stitches to create complex designs. It can be used to decorate articles of dress or furnishings such as hankies, table napkins, tablecloths, and doilies.

Candlewicking is a traditional white-on-white embroidery technique, usually done on white linen or cotton fabric with heavy cotton threads. More use of color is becoming popular today. Stitches used are mostly knots, both Colonial and French, as well as stemstitch. Candlewicking can be used to embroider white bedspreads, pillows and clothing. Candlewicking Outline can be used for ornate borders.

Lacework stitch consists of an open square trellis-like pattern which gives objects a lacey look. With Lacework fills you can adjust the layout of the preset patterns. Stitch angle has no effect on the pattern layout.