Brenden Prazner shows how Wilcom’s new Maze Fill stitch type decreases stitch counts while increasing the impact of designs

For this month’s step-by-step, Wilcom has designed a modern cityscape logo using the integrated CorelDraw Graphics Suite software along with the latest EmbroideryStudio e4.5. “This design is filled using the Maze Fill, one of our latest stitch types that increases impact and decreases stitch count,” says Brenden Prazner, chief product officer at the software company. He reports that it saves both time and money by transforming thickly stitched designs into an open-stitched, artist design that is visually impressive.

The new Maze Fill stitch type

Maze Fill “increases impact and decreases stitch count”

“This new EmbroideryStudio e4.5 add-on ‘Element’ is an interpretation of a complex manual stitch type that has been perfected by a few talented digitisers around the world,” adds Brendan. It uses evenly spaced, double spiral lines that never overlap, and automatically recalculates the stitches when resizing or reshaping the fill shape. He notes that this style is typically used to create intricate floral designs and paisley prints, but can be used in any closed, curved shape such as the letters in this design.

The Maze Fill Element is available as a paid add-on feature in EmbroideryStudio e4.5 Designing.


(1) Open a new window in EmbroideryStudio e4.5 and switch to the CorelDraw graphics mode. Once you are in CorelDraw, import a clipart or create the cityscape yourself. In this case, we merged a few different silhouette images to create this solid, single cityscape of London.

(2) Next, type in the word ‘London’ from a large selection of embroidery fonts. We were after a classic ‘I Love New York’ font so chose Cooper Black. Use the letter kerning tool and nudge the letters so that they slightly overlap. It is now one large object and will stitch without trims. 

(3) At the moment, the lettering is still a font type. Go to Object >> Break It Apart and turn each letter into a separate object. Then, select all of the letter objects and go to Object >> Convert To Curves. Now, it is no longer letters but instead vectors that look like letters. Use the ‘Weld’ tool to join the object letters into one entire object (just like a complex fill with holes in the middle).

(4) To cut the lettering object away from the background silhouette and leave an even gap, use CorelDraw’s Contour feature. Select the lettering object and select Contour Tool (which is very similar to the offset tool in EmbroideryStudio e4) and offset it by 2.5mm. You don’t want the offset, but rather you want to cut it away from the background. So with Offset Object selected, go to Object >> Break Apart.

(5) Now the offset is separated as if it is its own object. Select both the offset object and the background silhouette. This time instead of ‘Weld’, use ‘Flatten’. It uses the offset as a stamp so that it cuts it away from the background. Now, delete the offset because it is not needed. Continue deleting the remaining background from between the word ‘London’.

(6) You have just created two objects that will each sew without trimming and will run smoothly on any embroidery machine.

(7) Next, select the entire design in CorelDraw mode and click Convert graphics to embroidery. This does the hard work for you. The CorelDraw vector image has now been converted to embroidery, and if you look at the stitch count it is a huge 20,259 stitches. Now, the magic happens, as we decrease the stitch count…

(8) Select the London cityscape and click on the brand new Maze Fill stitch type. The entire shape is converted to Maze Fill. Change the default spacing to 1mm (you can change other settings such as the stitch length and smoothing, but in this case there is no need). This has decreased the stitch count from over 20,000 down to about 12,000 stitches, with even spacing and – importantly – no trims!

(9) Select ‘London’ and in the Object Properties, increase the default 2mm spacing to 4mm, which opens up the stitches. Turn off underlay by using the ‘Trapunto’ feature to force all the travel runs to the outside of the design.

(10) Notice that the outline of the letters is inconsistent. To fix this, select the London object and click the Outline & Offset tool. Check the option to create an outline, not an offset, and it will add a perfect outline around the London shape. The stitch count had dropped from 20,000 down to 12,000 but now it’s down to about 5,500 stitches!

(11) Click the paper airplane icon on the EmbroideryStudio e4.5 screen (or the black arrows, to queue the design), and select the machine you want to send it to. The design is sent and the operator sees the EmbroideryConnect device flash green. 

(12) The London cityscape can now be embroidered.