Designers, brand managers and other embroidery professionals can now gain access to embroidery stitch files, free of charge over the Internet.

Global embroidery thread company Coats has teamed up with Milestone EPE of Thessaloniki, Greece, to develop the Coats-XP Embroidery Design Viewer 1.0 which will be available on the Coats website from 1st September 2001.

The software can read the main embroidery file types, viewing the stitch designs against fabric backgrounds, zooming in on areas of interest, calculating machine time and thread consumption, as well as choosing thread colours from the Coats Global Colour References in both Sylko trilobal polyester and Alcazar viscose rayon.

Alick Campbell, director of global embroidery for Coats said: "It is time for the lid to be lifted on the black box of digitising software. For too long designers, brand managers and other embroidery professionals have been kept in the dark as to what is contained in a stitch file; it is their design and they should be able to view it and become involved first hand in any improvements or alterations. We believe that their involvement is critical for the advancement of the embroidery industry as a whole towards improved quality and management of their embroidery supply chain."

Commenting on the software, Miltos Vassiliadis of Milestone said: "We are very pleased to be working with Coats on this development - their coverage of the key embroidery markets around the world and their close relations with key global brand owners will ensure the new software is available as widely as possible in the shortest time. The engine for the software is a simplified version of our newly developed Wings-XP digitising software and contains many new features that will upgrade the quality and speed of embroidery designing."

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