While you’d think spending thousands of dollars on a machine would entitle you to the software you need to use – that’s unfortunately, rarely the case! Most machines don’t come with software, and you could end up spending hundreds of dollars to get some!
However, there are some great free and cheap embroidery software options out there! And, while you may be tempted to purchase a “Brother branded” software – the truth is you don’t need to!
You can use ANY free embroidery software to make embroidery designs for Brother machines, as long as you export them as PES files. (Learn more about embroidery machine file types here!)
So, what software should you get? Well, that depends on what it is that you want to do!
Free Embroidery Software For Brother Machines: Editing
Just need some software that will allow you to do things like re-size designs or change formats? A lightweight editing software program can help you do that.
Unfortunately, Wilcom discontinued this software and removed it from their site! Likely because they want you to now use their subscription cloud tool.
The good news is that once something is on the internet – it’s staying there! Wilcom TrueSizer is still available for download at third party repository sites. Here’s how and where you can download it.
This software is a Windows only download. (Sorry Apple users!)
Embroidery Tool Shed
Similar to Truesizer, Embroidery Tool Shed is also an free embroidery program for editing and previewing. You can do things like resize designs, change the machine file format, swap thread colors, and preview your designs on different fabric colors.
This software also allows you to mirror or rotate, and it also lets you convert thread colors to different brands. Useful if you need to know the color numbers for another brand! Click here to get it.
This software is native to Windows, but it can also be used with Mac using a work around, which I talked about in our free embroidery software for Mac article.
Free Embroidery Software For Brother Machines: Digitizing
Looking for free embroidery software that will let you create your own designs? Try one of these software options to do that!
InkScape + InkStitch
This option has a pretty steep learning curve, but it’s one of the most full featured free embroidery digitizing software options out there. InkScape is actually a program for creating other types of graphic files, but with the addition of the InkStitch add on – it allows you to digitize pictures for embroidery!
It’s also your best option of you have a Mac computer, because it’s fully compatible! It also does not come with any limitations and you’ll be able to create embroidery designs for free forever.
And, while it’s not quite as user friendly as something like Hatch… there are a lot of tutorials online which can help you get started with learning to use it. So, if you’ve got the time to put in – it’s a good option.
However, it can be very frustrating… and to me… the ease of paid software won out and I don’t use InkStitch to make my embroidery designs.
As one of the only other free full featured digitizing software suites… Sophie Sew is worth a try. However, like InkScape it’s not exactly user friendly, and you’ll need to put in a lot of work to get good results when digitizing images for embroidery.
This software is also, unfortunately, no longer maintained, as the author experienced some health problems that stopped development. That makes it a bit buggy, and it’s recommended that you save often if you plan to use it.
However, there are some good tutorials online for the software (like the one above) and it’s a cool little piece of freeware if you’ve got the time to put into it. You can download SophieSew here.
Free Trial Software Options
If you only need to create a limited number of designs for a specific purpose, then you could save a lot of time and frustration by downloading a free trial software.
Hatch is one of the easiest to use embroidery digitizing software products – but it ain’t cheap. Fortunately, they do have a free 30 day trial that offers you unlimited usage in that time.
That makes it a great candidate if you only want to do a few designs, like something for a business and don’t really plan to do digitizing long-term. Hatch is very easy to learn for beginners. Unfortunately, if you find out you like it then it’ll cost you $1,000 to keep using it.
Sadly, this software is also Windows only. So, Mac OS users will need to look elsewhere, unless you have an older Mac which can still dual-boot a Windows operating system.
Barb, our resident quilter and embroidery aficionado, weaves a thread of creativity through our collection. Serving as the curator of machine embroidery content, Barb infuses each design with a touch of her artistic expertise. The free embroidery patterns you discover on our site often bear the mark of Barb’s craftsmanship. Let’s get crafting!