Embroidery is the process of turning a graphic or text into a needle-and-thread work of art for
application to a garment or other fabric item. Using state-of-the-art software and multi-head
industrial sewing machines, embroidered designs can be simple, one-colour designs or multicoloured
works of intricate detail. Of all the methods of fabric embellishment, embroidery is
considered to add the most sophistication and a higher perceived value to a garment.
Today’s custom embroidery is a primarily automated process that translates a
digital image into data that guides the operation of industrial sewing machines
capable of up to 1,500 stitches per minute.
DESIGN AND DIGITIZE IMAGE:
Create or adapt a design for embroidery, bearing in mind that simpler designs
with open areas translate best into stitches. Designs with open areas will allow
fabric to drape more naturally. Once complete, the design must be digitised to
translate it into stitch data for the sewing machine. This may be done in-house
using software compatible with your embroidery machine, or outsourced to a
reputable digitising firm. Send the digitised image to your embroidery machine.
STABILIZE AND HOOP:
Select the appropriate stabiliser for your item’s fabric, apply temporary spray
adhesive, and smooth the stabiliser onto the item. Next, place all layers firmly in
your embroidery machine’s hoop, which holds the fabric securely and moves as
the item is sewn. The fabric should be smooth and flat, but not stretched out of
its original shape. Insert the hoop into your embroidery machine.
STITCH THE DESIGN:
Once you insert the hooped item and send your digitised file, the embroidery
machine does most of the work. It will stop when it’s time to change thread or if
other action is needed. When the machine finishes sewing, remove the hoop,
unhoop the fabric, and trim any excess thread from the stabiliser. Some items
may need a light steam pressing to smooth any creases caused by the hoop.
EMBROIDERY EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
: A computer with specialised software that translates digital imagery, e.g.,
a GIF or JPEG, into stitch data to guide the embroidery machine, or the services
of a digitising company that will translate the image into stitch data for a fee.
EMBROIDERY MACHINE OR SEWING MACHINE:
A wide range of machines are capable
of doing embroidery, ranging from low-cost, consumer-grade sewing machines
to automated, multi-need industrial machines capable of producing complex,
highly detailed stitched graphics.
Many fabric items are suitable for embroidery, from T-shirts and fleece to totes
and hats. Very lightweight or highly elastic fabrics can be challenging to
embroider, with a greater tendency to pucker or wrinkle. Plush fabric such as
fleece require densely stitched embroidery to prevent the fabric from showing
Even low-end home embroidery machines can make several hundred
stitches per minute, putting tremendous strain on most fabrics.
A stabiliser supports the fabric during stitching to prevent shifting,
stretching or distortion.
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