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Posts Tagged ‘emb’

Back to the Basics

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

“Wow” Your Customers With Consistent Quality!

You know the drill. You have a new client who just placed a large order for some company polo shirts and your deadline is approaching way too quickly. Their logo is simple enough and you expect production to run smoothly. However, when you run your first sample, something isn’t right. Stitches are piling up, registration is off and the shirt is puckering. What to do?

Well, you probably know what to do, but since it never hurts to get back to the basics, we thought we would post some simple suggestions for troubleshooting embroidery problems. And, we would love for you to add your suggestions by commenting on this post! Even if you outsource your embroidery, knowing these basics can help you better communicate with your embroiderer.

Here are some basics to pay close attention to:

1. Base Fabric

The characteristics of different fabrics have a direct impact on the quality of embroidery that you can produce. Every design will not sew well on every fabric. A design with high stitch density and lots of underlay might stitch well on heavyweight fabric, but pucker or tear on lightweight fabric, even if you use extra backing. Also, embroidery that sews great on woven fabrics may not look as good on a t-shirt or fleece fabric. Fleece fabric has a naturally fluffy surface and any thin lines or small letters will not show as clearly as they would on a woven fabric without compensating during the digitizing. Of course, some fabrics are just bad for embroidery always. The best way to determine whether a fabric is good for embroidery is to test it on your embroidery machine.

  • Here’s what to do: Always specify carefully which fabric type you are using when getting your file digitized and always test your design on your target fabric before asking for revisions or starting production.

2. Backing

Backing or stabilizer is basically a non-woven material used underneath the fabric being embroidered to provide support and stability for the needle penetration. Proper usage of backing is the foundation of good embroidery. Backings are available in two basic types: cutaway and tearaway. A backing should always be used to prevent puckering. The more stitches the design has, the more backing you will need to use. Of course, there is such a thing as over-stabilizing. Using too much backing creates bulk and eliminates the drape of the fabric. It will also cost you more.

  • Here’s what to do: Typically, use 2 layers of good quality cutaway backing for knits and 1 layer of good quality tearaway backing for woven fabrics.

3. Threads

Thread choice plays the major role for making quality sewouts. Rayon and Polyester are the two most popular types of thread, but there are other threads like metallic and cotton. In general, Rayon has more shine than polyester. However, polyester thread is stronger and more color-fast, meaning it resists bleach and stands up well. Using poor quality thread will result in repeated thread breakage and poor quality sewouts.

Cotton thread has a lovely soft sheen. The softer qualities of cotton thread are perfect for cross stitch designs. Also, cotton thread will give you a hand embroidered appearance.

Metallic thread is a fantastic choice for adding sparkling accents to embroidery designs. They are available in a wide range of colors. Sometimes they tend to break with high-speed sewing, so you may need to adjust the thread tension and use specialty needles for these types of thread.

Silk thread is strong, shiny and stable. It’s the best choice when embroidering on silk and other luxurious fabrics.

Choosing the right thread colors will also help give you the highest quality sewouts. For example, using dark thread for small letters on light color fabric will help the letters show up more clearly because of the contrast. Also, less contrast between the colors of the fabric and the design can hide small flaws.

  • Here’s what to do: Choose threads according to the needs of your job and if possible, use colors in ways that will accentuate important aspects of the design. Check out this article in Thread’s Magazine for more great information on thread selection.

4. Thread Tension:

The most important setting in an embroidery machine is thread tension. Simply put, there is a tug of war going on between the top thread and bottom (bobbin) thread and finding the proper tension for both top and bottom thread will result in great looking embroidery. Excessive tension can lead to thread breaks and distortion in the design. Loose tension can result in the bobbin thread pulling through to the top of the design or loose loops of thread in the fill areas. For fill areas, one of the easiest ways to determine if the thread tension is properly adjusted is look at the back of the finished design. You should notice that the top colored thread is pulled through to the back of the design along the borders of the fill areas. For satin stitches, look at the back of the design again. The correct ratio of bobbin thread to the top thread is 1/3 to 2/3. See the illustration below.

  • Here’s what to do: Adjust the top and bottom tension on sample sewouts until you are satisfied that the tension matches the above 1/3 ratio suggestion above. Every machine is different, so contact your manufacturer to get specific instructions about how to adjust tension on your model.


Tips and Tricks…What You’re Saying
When we asked some of you about the tricks you use to get great embroidery, here’s what we heard:

Make sure your fabric is very tight in the hoop. If you don’t have one already, you might consider looking at a hooping machine such as the one from P & F Equipment. You can speed up your production time and get consistent quality. If you’re sewing on fleece or terry cloth consider the fabric stabilizer Solvy to prevent the stitches from sinking into the fabric.

Jo Ann Junker
In Stitches With Jo Ann
Tulsa, Ok

“The most important thing in embroidery is quality. Remember the basics and don’t skimp on time or money. [Make sure hoops are tight and use] the smallest size possible. Don’t skimp on backing or Solvy and steam all completed garments for a finished look with no hoop marks.”

Scott McManus
Something Greek
West Hempstead, NY

There are plenty more tips to getting great quality embroidery that we’ll share in the future. But for now, remember that it never hurts to focus on the basics!

Free Embroidery Software – Wilcom TrueSizer

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Wilcom TrueSizer

Based on the same core software as Wilcom’s acclaimed professional embroidery design software, .EMBroidery TrueSizer provides the same unique advantages of the ‘all-in-one’ EMB file format – at little or no cost. TrueSizer is a universal file conversion tool offering full compatibility between industrial and domestic embroidery file formats, as well as full design scalability. It allows you to:

* Open native Wilcom EMB files
* Read and convert many popular industrial and home expanded/condensed file formats
* View designs in TrueView and normal stitch view
* Scale designs
* Email EMB files direct
* Print out production worksheets
* Make sales presentations and sales printouts
* Save designs in Wilcom EMB format
* Save designs in many industrial and home expanded machine formats
* Output to embroidery disk

Wilcom TrueSizer

To download your FREE TrueSizer, join today – IT’S FREE!

Minimum System Requirements:

Pentium III (800 MHz) Or Higher
Windows 2000 SP4 / Windows XP 1
I.E. 6.0 or Later
128 MB (More if running multiple Apps)
Support for High Color (16bit) and resolution (1024 X 768)
TrueSizer 2006 is compatible on Windows 2000, Windows XP and Window Vista.

IMPORTANT: Your screen resolution must be 1024 x 768.

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Screen Printers
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