Machine Embroidery Process
A process whereby a sewing machine or embroidery machine is used to create patterns on textiles using stitches. There is only one possible stitch when it comes machine embroidery - the interlock stitch.
What is a stitch? A stitch is a movement of a needle and a thread, from back to front to back again forming what is called a stitch in the front. An embroidery stitch means one or more stitches executed similarly forming a pattern and/or a form.
A visual of how a machine stitch is made
What can/cannot be embroidered?
Not all designs are made for embroidery. There are some limitations and thresholds that come with the process.
Big and bold is the way to go with embroidery designs.
Avoid lots of text! Small text does not embroider well and maybe even be unreadable. It’s always best to keep the text bigger. Larger text embroiders well and be readable!!
No photographic images for embroidery as it is not possible to reproduce photographic images using the embroidery process.
Shading and Reflections are also not ideal for this process. Not impossible but quite difficult to recreate things like eyes or sunsets using solid threads.
What is a Stitch Count and why is it important?
Each needle drop is a stitch count and it is very significant because the pricing and timing are dependent on the number of stitches and image has. The more stitches a design the more costly.
What is Digitizing?
It is the process of turning an image into a machine-ready embroidery design.
Most common stitch type seen in machine embroidery
1) Run Stitch - a single line of stitching
2) Satin Stitch - also known as jump stitch.
3) Tatami Stitch - also knows as a fill stitch. Staggered run stitch used to fill big space objects.
The Steps to the Process of Embroidery Production
As with anything, everything begins with a vision, a design, and/or a logo.
The design then needs to be convert into machine stitches. This process is called digitizing. Embroidery companies all use different file types for machines but the most common we use is a .dst file.
Once it is converted, the design then needs to be exported from the computer and into the embroidery machine. On the embroidery machine interface, we check and make sure all specifications and colors are correct.
The design is then tested first and sent over to the customer for approval before sewing it in production.
Prepare the apparel for embroidery by hooping, adding the stabilizer backing, adding the wax paper, marking the center of the hoop for where the center of the design will begin.
After the garment is hooped, we move it over to the embroidery machine and snap it in place.
One last check is done to make sure all specifications and factors are correct on the machine and design.
The big red button is then pressed and the embroidery begins. We make sure to monitor/listen to hear for any issues during the process. Occasionally there will be thread breaks, bobbin thread runs out, birds nest, etc. If that occurs, we follow the processes we have in place to fix the issue.
Once the embroidery is completed, the hoop is then removed from the garment and placed on flat surface
Post-processing is then carried out. Removing of the wax paper, backing, trimming off the threads, and final quality check.
Once all garments are completed, the customer is then contacted for pickup!
While embroidery might not be the right process for your design, there are many other print processes available to help get your design/brand onto apparel and shirts! We hope this blog helped give a little insight into embroidery print process that we have to offer!
We are always trying to inform and help our customers make the best decisions of print choices for their order. We have 40 plus years of experience at our disposal and so if you have a questions please ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you with a answer!