Creative articles about embroidery

Lesson 1: BERNINA Embroidery Software V8: the beginning

I remember it well: March 25, 2017. The first day of my adventure with the BERNINA Embroidery Software 8 – DesignerPlus (V8)”: I already had a fascination for machine embroidery, and now I was able to create, edit and design my own motifs. Even more exciting was that BERNINA asked me to write for their Dutch Blog, to help users understand the software too. Now – April 2019 –  I will also post for the English BERNINA Blog, helping even more (international) BERNINA embroiderers to use its full potential.

I’d like to invite you to join me on this amazing adventure: ‘to explore strange new functions, to seek out new designs, to boldly go where no embroiderer has gone before…. ‘* But all kidding aside, from this day forward you will find ‘lessons’ about V8: a couple of times a month, to guide you through the embroidery software.

The day the postman brought me the parcel – which was of a good size – I could not resist unpacking it right away. I removed layer after layer and to my surprise, a small box remained. I did not expect this, but then again: it’s all on a USB stick!

Program installed: very easy, just follow the directons on the computer screen and it’s ready to use. But before you can make beautiful embroidery motifs, you will have to know how to use its funcions. Makes sense, right? Now, I am very thoroughly figuring out how something works: I will always click on every icon, look at every pull-down menu, until I understand what I am doing. That is what I advise you to do too. So here we go: together we will travel through this extensive software.

Is your software V8 installed? Open it to see this: an overwhelming amount of icons on a design window. The best way to get familiar with the software is to  see what toolbars are available; let’s take a look.

Software V8 opens with the Embroidery Canvas: at the top you will find the Title bar: the name of the software is indicated. All toolbars from top to bottom are:

The Menu bar – File, Edit, View, Design, Arrange, Artwork, Settings, Window and Help: click on one of these and more options appear. 

The Canvas toolbar, for importing to Art Canvas, digitize and editing in Embroidery Canvas, opening the Embroidery Library  and converting Embroidery to Artwork. 

Have you noticed the rows of vertical dots, at the beginning of a tool bar? These are ‘handles’ to click and drag that toolbar to another area of your workspace. For now the default setting is ok, but it is important to know that you can customize the setting of your workspace. 

The General toolbar, for opening and outputting designs. Also for accessing design properties and opening and closing docker windows, insert embroidery and insert artwork and much more.

The View toolbar: for design visualization, like showing artistic view, dim artwork, stitches outlines, needle points, show bitmap or vector artwork, Stumpwork, applique fabric, hoops and grids, and more.

The Zoom toolbar: for zooming and panning designs.

The Travel toolbar: for checking the stitching sequence of a design, while traveling through it by stitches, color or objects. 

The  Transform toolbar: for selecting, reshape, scale, rotate and mirror embroidery designs. 

The Stitches toolbar is at the bottom of the design window : stitch types for outlines and fills can be choosen, with different stitch effects. 

The  Effects toolbar: tools to create artistic effects like morphing, warping, 3D Globe Effect, but also for underlay, corners and curved stitching. 

The Color palette: this displays thread colors, with tools for selecting, applying, cycling through colors, adding color, removing color etc. 

The Status bar: information about your design: number of stitches, width and height, and more. Nothing is placed on my workspace yet, therefore it says ‘Empty Design’.

To the right, placed vertically, you will find ‘dockers‘: these are for key functions. They are indicated as Color Film, Overview Window, Morphing Effect, Carving Stamp, CutWork Border and My Threads. The dockers are nested by default, to increase your workspace. Each docker works like a tab: click on the name and a minimized docker will ‘fly out’, so you then can use all its functions. You can remove these dockers, and place them back again. You will learn more about them later.   

Don’t forget the toolbar on the left: these command buttons can be used for creating and editing in V8. Believe me: you will use them a lot! I have activated ‘Edit’ by clicking on this command button: all options are now opened in a menu, below the initial command button. Only visible functions are active and available for direct use. In disabled state, the functions are grayed-out. To activate them, you will have to select an object or part of your embroidery. 

Just click on a toolbar button to activate a command: left-click to activate; right-click to ajust the settings etc. Go for it: try it out to get familiar with this wonderful embroiderysoftware V8. 

Next time we’re going to use the functions op the Canvas Toolbar. See you then!


Happy stitching!
Sylvia Kaptein
Sylvia’s Art Quilts Studio


*Freely translated from Star Trek!

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    • Sylvia Kaptein

      I understand from some users V8 that they do, Holly. If you want to know more about using V8 on a Mac, please contact BERNINA website

  • Jeannine Ryan

    So excited!

    I bought my 830 emb machine when they first came out, had to wait for it there was a long line ahead of me. Took classes but never enough, so thru the years I became frustrated realizing there was so much this machine could do and I wanted to know. Finally after ten years or so the 830 is coming back around with videos and I am so grateful. Thank you to all responsible for this wonderful endeavor. I and I’m sure there are many like me who really feel the same way.

  • Elaine Pienaar

    Thank you so much.  Bought V8 when it was available in shop.  No lessons so far. So I really appreciate you doing this.  Will we be able to download in PDF or videos to save in case we want to refer back.

    • Sylvia Kaptein

      Hi Elaine,
      You will have so much fun with V8: the lessons will be there as long as the BERNINA Blog excists. If you want to print them, select the text, copy, paste it in Word, and print. But be aware, sometimes there are a lot of pages when printing!

      With the Dutch BERNINA Blog, we are beyond lesson 120 already, so many more lessents to come on the International/English BERNINA Blog, because I am re-writing almost all of them for International V8-Users!

  • sylvia Kaptein

    A Laptop with enough storage space is ok, but I think for specifications the best thing to do is to ask the computer dealer: tell them what you want: big screen? Enough Mb memory space? Good quality Graphics card? etc.
    It all depends on your budget too. But they are the experts….


  • Venora Smith

    Hi Sylvia,  How do i find out the best information for buying a laptop for the V8 software. Can you email me with information.

    • Sylvia Kaptein

      Hi Irene,

      Yes, V8 is compatible with Windows10, with the update, because of the new version of CorelDRAW.  You can check if the update is installed with Help/check for updates.

  • Shelley Skudowitz

    I hadn’t used my embroidery (V6) for 7 years and had lost all my confidence.
    Last year I bought Version 8 but have not had the initiative to start.
    Sylvia,( and Bernina) THANK YOU for these lessons, I think I’m ready to take out my machine.

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