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Making Your Embroidery Better
Because of my position at EnMart, I get asked questions about how to improve an embroidery job or how to embroider a certain type of garment almost every day. While the Internet is a great tool, and a great place to learn, there can be as much misinformation as there can good information. With that in mind, I thought it might be a good idea to talk about a few ways to improve your embroidery, while also, perhaps, debunking a few of the myths that exist out there.
The first thing I want to discuss is digitizing. There are companies out there that sell digitizing programs that purport to make digitizing even the most difficult designs easy. They may make digitizing difficult designs easy, but they may not always allow you to digitize these designs well. Good digitizing takes time and effort to learn, and someone who understands embroidery and creates digitized designs is worth their weight in gold. A poorly digitized design can cost you money, production time and certainly create a lot of stress. If you want to digitize yourself, spend the time to learn how to do it properly, or spend the money to pay someone who has already spent the time needed to become expert. A properly digitized design will more than pay for itself.
The second thing I want to discuss is stabilizers. On Pinterest the other day, I saw, again, the pin about using freezer paper as a stablizer. Now, I haven't tried it, so I can't say it absolutely won't work, but I don't know why anyone would do that when there are reasonably priced stablizers available that are designed specifically to do the job of stabilizing embroidery. Using a quality stabilizer and the correct stabilizer for the material and job at hand can pay out big dividends. Most likely the job will sew out more smoothly. The finished appearance of the job will be better. Specialty stabilizers can help with things like the appearance of backing through semi-sheer fabrics, or the problem of performance-wear puckering. Do your reasearch, learn what stablizers are available and why certain ones are recommended for certain jobs, and then make sure your inventory has the necessary stabilizers in stock.
The third thing to discuss is thread. I've talked before about the fact that cheap thread isn't always the bargain it seems to be, and I stand by that statement. I will, however, say that the cost of the thread may not matter as much as whether or not it works for you. If the thread allows you to run your machine at production speeds, without breaking or fraying or causing issues, then it's the thread you should use, regardless of what it costs. You should also keep in mind specialty threads. Find the right metallic thread, and you'll discover it is as difficult to sew with as you might have heard. Variegated thread can be a great accent, as can glow in the dark thread and solar activated thread. Test designs and test threads and find the ones that work well for you. Buy based on what works, not based on what it costs or the brand name on the label.
Fourth, let's talk about maintaining your machines. It's easy to let that go. Production gets busy, orders are coming in, and the needles need to be moving at all times. In a cycle like that, it's easy to forget that maintenance still needs to happen. Those occasions, however, are when maintainance is most important. Every machine needs to be properly maintained on a regular basis to keep it running a peak efficiency. Forgetting to maintain your machine can leave you with a broken machine, a two day wait for a repair tech, and no way to do the jobs that are piling up. Spending a few minutes a day with the machine down and being maintained can save you days of heartbreak down the road.
Finally, to make your embroidery better, do what interests you. If you like cars, look at embroidering items for car clubs or car manufacturers. If you're into horses, see what equine events could use your expertise. Look at your market and see where your interests and the market possibilities intersect. If you can find those intersections, you can find the place where doing what you enjoy can also be the thing that brings in the money.
*All ideas expressed in this post are the exclusively those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the policies or opinions of Decorated Apparel Magazine. The author represents that he or she is exclusively responsible for the content contained, and that he or she is the owner of any intellectual property used or expressed, and has the right to publish any statements or images contained herein. All content is offered 'as-is' and Decorated Apparel Magazine does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any statements contained in this or any other post. Your use of any advice or statements of fact or opinion offered are completely at your own risk.