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Embroidery is one of the most popular, tried-and-true decoration methods. The embroidery process uses a machine to stitch designs into fabric or other materials. The stitches are placed closely together to create a cohesive design image. Pricing for embroidery is usually based on stitch count. Embroidery decoration produces a long-lasting design. However, it lacks the ability to execute highly detailed imprints with clarity due to stitching limitations.
Why do you want to choose embroidery? Embroidery’s craft origin gives it an air of refinement, elegance, and respectability. For this reason, companies utilize embroidery for custom embellishment in many applications from functional uniforms to high fashion.
Technology advances in the embroidery industry have made high quality custom garments an affordable option for even the more casual affairs like golf tournaments and trendy retail items. These days, we add versatility to list of words that describe embroidery.
Not All Embroidery is the Same
Like many other products and services, not all embroidery or embroiders is the same. There is good embroidery, bad embroidery, and excellent embroidery. At StitchMine we strive to deliver excellent embroidery every time.
There are numerous factors that can affect the look and longevity of an embroidery project. Differing fabric, texture and logo complexity can make your beautiful; logo look ragged, off color or puckered without proper care and attention.
- Always have your logo stitched out when you begin working with an embroider.
- Be sure the embroiderer compensates for the “pull” of the fabric with proper backing and pull compensation.
- Make sure your logo is stitched out on a medium similar to the one you will be using
- When in doubt, stitch it out again.
It all starts with digitizing.
Digitizing is the process where you design is converted to a file that runs the computerized embroidery machine. There are numerous variables in developing an embroidered image including the type of stitch, density of the stitch, direction of the stitch and how the stitch reacts to the material it is stitched on commonly call pull compensation. This really follows the old adage “Garbage in Garbage out”. A poorly digitized logo will never look good no matter what machine it is stitched on.
At StitchMine we take pride the quality and detail of our digitizing. We digitize every logo to meet the characteristics of the item it is being stitched on. We will make adjustments in the logo digitizing for different items. As an example, a performance fabric polo shirt will require more pull compensation because of the stretch and flexibility of the fabric where a heavy fabric jacket will require a bit more density in the stitches to look perfect. Caps also pose a different challenge, and we will modify the logo so it will look perfect every time.
Thread & Backing
Thread and backing are two more major factors in embroidery quality, especially after a piece has been washed once or twice. The backing used will have a major impact on the quality and longevity of your embroidery, because it is this backing which adds stability to your embroidery work. Lower quality shops will skimp on backing, and use cheap, soft white cotton – and when it is washed, sometimes this cotton backing can shrink, and it will take your logo with it making the logo looked puckered.
At StitchMine we will match the backing to the material being stitched. Additionally we will use black backing on dark colored items and white backing on light colored items. We may also use a tearaway backing on some items where the back of the item will show.
In some cases, items being embroidered have a deep texture where the stitching will be buried in the fabric especially small lettering. In these cases we will put a water soluble topping on the top of the item to keep the stitch level raised to the surface of the item. This is the case with fleece, towels , sweaters and other knit and woven items.
Thread choice, as well, has differing levels of quality and durability, and as the backing, you won’t know the thread quality for sure until your item has been through the wash a few times. A good shop will carefully choose a thread which is appropriate for the logo, or for the component of the design it is used for (for instance, a finer thread for delicate lettering, and coarser for wide fills.) Lower quality shops will take a one-size-fits-all approach to the thread, and your logo could end up not looking as sharp as it could.
The two types of thread are rayon and polyester.
Rayon embroidery thread is softer to the feel and displays more vibrant colors. It produces a higher quality look because of high sheen and stays soft with larger designs. The vibrant colors produce luscious looking embroidery designs, designs that are soft to wear and can be laundered in water up to 203 degrees. Rayon has a high luster and is eye catching.
Polyester thread is harder and a bit more durable in extreme situations like prolonged exposure to bright sunlight and washing with bleach.
At StitchMine we predominantly use rayon thread because of its look and appeal. When the situation arises where we need to we will use polyester thread such as designs intended for outdoor use or harsh environments.
In either case it is not a one size fits all.
Your embroiderer should be matching the digitizing, backing, and thread to meet your specific needs and the characteristics of the item being embroidered.