When stitches are applied to fabric some degree of “pull” or “push” may occur. The stitches can either pull the fabric in on the sides or push the fabric out on the ends, adding a small amount of extra stitches in the direction of the angle of the fill or column. Stitch length, stitch type, density, underlay, fabric type and even type and amount of stabilizers used are factors that can account for amount pull or push you might experience.
A very simple description is that pull compensation makes an adjustment to the width of the satin or fill stitch area that in appearance seems to not be wide enough. In other words, a gap may be forming between an outline stitch and a fill stitch area which may result in poor registration of the design. Pull compensation broadens the rows of stitches to adjust for this. You will not always see this problem when digitizing the design and viewing it on your computer screen, but when embroidering the design, gaps will appear between fill areas or fill areas and outlines.
Often, compensation can be made when the design is digitized, taking into consideration the fact that there will need to be some pull compensation added to design sections, making adjustments by varying the stitch direction, amount of underlay and the stitch density. If you are not the digitizer, you may be able to make your own adjustments by using editing software such as Embird Editor, adjusting the pull compensation slightly. You may not find the correct amount of pull compensation to add the first time, so it is critical that test sew-outs of the embroidery design be made after every change.