Muddlepud asked for a good professional way to make an embroidery pattern
, and so I wrote this up as an example of one way to do it using vector drawing software. This first tutorial is for Adobe Illustrator, which is an expensive program but industry standard for doing vector graphics. I will also download Inkscape and try to figure out how to do the same thing there so I can post those instructions, as well.
The real reason you want a vector graphic (as opposed to a raster graphic, which you can make in Photoshop or Gimp) is so that you can resize it any which way you want without having to worry about loss of quality.You will need:
A nice, black pen
Draw your pattern on white paper using a good black pen that makes a solid line, like a fine tip sharpie, or better yet a nice Micron or other good drawing pen. I have a PITT artist pen in fine point (F) that I really like. The cleaner your original, the easier the transition will be in the graphics program. Don't use a ballpoint pen because there's a lot of variation in that ink that will show up in your scan and mess up the trace.
Scan the graphic in at around 300 dpi, color or black and white, either is fine. JPG if possible, but a bitmap would be okay, also.
Open the graphic in Illustrator and select it with the selection tool (the filled in/black arrow). You'll know it's selected when you see a blue box around it with little "handles" at the corners.
In the menu, go to Object -> Live Trace... -> Make and Expand.
Voila! Your line drawing has now been transformed into vectors!
If you want to get a bit more complicated, or it's not coming out quite like you want it, try Object -> Live Trace... -> Tracing Options and muck around with the settings there. Check the "Preview" box and you will be able to see how this changes the trace as you change the settings around.
If you want to resize it, grab one of the blue corner handles, hold down the shift key on your keyboard and resize. Holding down shift will keep proportions the same... if you don't hold down shift, you will squish your drawing one way or the other. I also turn the rulers & guides on in the program so I can measure and see what size to make a graphic if I'm looking for a particular size to fit on a piece of fabric.
If you were thinking about selling a PDF on Etsy, under File -> Document Size, you can change the Artboard size to letter and then add in your Etsy shop name using the Text tool, maybe copy and paste the pattern and put it on the page in varying sizes for convenience. Then just go to File -> Save as... and under the file type dropdown, choose PDF.