An ancient example of embroidery was among the treasures uncovered in the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun. This hand-stitched masterpiece had survived thousands of years in a dry, dark tomb, proving the durability of the art form.
Embroidery has come a long way since the advent of embroidery machines in the Industrial Revolution. Today, a designer uses a computer to create custom embroidery images. They are then stitched electronically onto clothing, bags, and more.
Are you curious to learn more about how custom embroidery works? Read on for insight into this trending decorative process.
How It’s Stitched
Companies finish embroidered clothing in one of just a few stitches. Satin stitch, tatami fill, and running stitch are most popular with commercial design companies and are built into the machines they use.
Embroiderers use satin stitch in places that require smooth, uniform, or gradient blocks of color. They use running stitch for delicate details. Think small lettering or finely detailed images.
For designs that require a large amount of textured color, a machinist will choose a tatami stitch. This technique is made up of rows of stitch and back-stitch lines.
In most cases, the designer decides the stitch type at the file digitization stage. Knowledgeable customers can also share their stitch preferences with the custom company.
Types of Custom Embroidery Stitch Types
There are two main types of embroidery used on custom clothing and other textiles: flat and puff embroidery. Flat embroidery is practical for everyday items, whereas puff embroidery better suits decorative or statement pieces.
Flat embroidery is the most commonly requested style. It is a technique that any custom embroidery studio with quality embroidery equipment can accommodate.
The maximum line thickness you’re looking at with flat embroidery is 0.5 inches, and because you can get the design down to a minimum thickness of 0.05 inches, the technique is perfect for finer details.
The benefits of flat embroidery include being able to:
- Create more detailed designs
- Fit more images closer together on a single item
- Add legible text to designs
Just note that most companies will advise customers to stay away from serif fonts because those minor points on the end of the letters can be difficult for the machines to create.
In puff embroidery, the manufacturer will insert a layer of foam underneath the stitches to create a three-dimensional effect. In most cases, this technique is only available for hats and caps because it needs a sturdy frame to accommodate the foam.
Puff embroidery is perfect for large, bold graphic designs that need to stand out from the crowd. Think simple logos and mascots and blocky lettering.
Excitingly, machine embroidery allows you to combine puff and flat styles in one design, so don’t be afraid to get creative with your imagery. Consult with the maker to see where they’d use which technique and adjust your designs accordingly.
Embroidery Isn’t the Same As Printing
Remember, custom embroidery is very different from printing–even though both methods start with graphic design. It’s perfect for adorning clothing, bags, or other fabric items with a company logo, mascot, or lettering, but there are limitations regarding how detailed the image can be. And keep in mind that cost is based on the number of stitches your design needs, so extensive or detailed designs will cost more.
For more apparel and interior decorating advice, be sure to look at the other articles on our lifestyle blog.