OK... I'm going to try to demonstrate how I did the "wilson" applique in the 5x7 hoop. I, of course, use Sew What Pro (Sands Computing). Here is my first screen and I've already opened the "w", then merged in the "i, l, s, o, n". As you can see they are all in a pile! You may also notice the thread chart on the right ~ it has marking, tackdown, satin for each letter and for this font (EB Chunky), all of the marking is the same color thread (blue), tackdown is same color (green) and satin is same color (red) - this is KEY in making this an easy design (if you're using 1 fabric) b/c I can join the marking stitches to all stitch at one time, tackdown, satin same ~ 3 steps instead of 18. BTW this is the 1.75" size in this font. Planet Applique has a 1.5" font and www.jolsonsdesigns.com MAY have a small font too. Next...
I clicked and dragged each letter around my screen so that I could arrange them. On the right you'll notice the whole alphabet is shown. If you click View up top, then select "album icons", it will show the alphabet file on the right and you can just click each letter and it'll move it to the screen (instead of merge, merge merge). The only thing is that sometimes I can't get it to go back to the thread chart screen!? Sometimes I MERGE, and sometimes I use the view album icons method. Both take about the same amount of time I think.
As you can see here, I've arranged each letter and lined them up on the horizontal center line.
THEN, I press the CENTER (red cross looking button) to center the entire name on the hoop. As you can see, this is my 5x7 hoop and the name is TOO BIG!
Next I decided to JOIN THREADS so that the design would stitch ALL of the marking w-i-l-s-o-n, I put my fabric down, then it will stitch ALL of the tackdown w-i-l-s-o-n, I trim it all at once and then satin for all (I was using 1 fabric for the name). I join threads under EDIT, join threads. This only works for alphabets where the marking, tackdown and satin are all the same colors. So for this name I would click EDIT, Join Threads, then "Join threads of same color starting at thread # "1". This will join all of the marking stitches because EB made them all the same color (blue). Then I will do the same thing with thread # "2", and this will join all of the tackdown stitches in to one step (green). Then thread #3 and this will join all of the satin stitches (red). THIS DOES NOT WORK FOR ALL ALPHABETS - if the marking, tackdown & satin stitches are not all the same this will not work! When you are done joining threads, the name will become ALL 1 DESIGN instead of each letter being a file. You see below the box is around the whole name whereas before, there was a box around each letter so each could be moved and arranged!
If you can see my cursor arrow on the horizontal center line on the right end, if you click on that point, you can then DRAG the design to the left or right.
I'm going to drag the right side of the design to the left so that it will fit in the hoop.
As you can see on the right, I dragged the design to fit in the hoop on the right side. It's still too big on the left side, so I'm going to DRAG on the left side too to push the "w" in to the hoop.
Now you can see "wilson" fits in the hoop and is centered.
You will also notice on the right, my thread chart shows 3 steps for this name! That's because I joined the marking stitches together, tackdown & satin. Again, only do this if you plan to use 1 fabric for your name. BTW I had to save the design, close out SWP and reopen it. Sometimes I can't get back to the thread chart after I use the View Album Icons method.
So this is showing me my marking stitch. It will sew the whole name, then I can place my fabric down and it will tack down the whole name. I will trim all at once, and then it'll do satin all at once!
Finished shirt below!
OF COURSE, if you want to use different fabrics, then DON'T JOIN THE THREADS! In that case you would need to save the design after it's arranged and centered. It would be 18 steps because you didn't join threads, but it would save the design as 1 design (not boxes around each letter). You'd need to close and open the new file and then you can drag the boxes to make it fit!
You can also just adjust the design in SWP with the RESIZE feature, but for things like this and sometimes I use the DRAG method on patches that I need to stretch out just a little, it works fine! I don't know that I would drag a design TOO MUCH - not sure if the density would be correct. For little adjustments it works great for me!
Hopefully this makes sense?? Both of the names above were done in my 5x7 hoop.