We find that a lot of people are unclear about what exactly it would mean to have their embroidered logo on hats or polos. What is needed to make this happen? How will my final product look? How do we get from blank garment to embellished piece?
I asked our Embroidery Specialist, Kailey to share her wisdom on the subject. She kindly explains both what to expect as a customer as well as the embroidery production process to get you up to speed.
Let’s jump in!
Kailey here, Skazma’s Embroidery Specialist.
I spend my days in what we call the Embroidery Room, which houses our two embroidery machines, one of which we can use to embroider up to 6 pieces at a time! The other is a smaller, single head machine that we typically use for small jobs or to customize apparel with individual names or numbers.
I think when a lot of people think of embroidery, they picture the hand-stitched garments of their grandmother. What I do is quite a bit different than that! I am still creating appealing designs using thread, but the process has changed drastically.
Instead of having to place each stitch by hand, I can speed up the process considerably with the help of the digital embroidery machines. This ensures that you get your product much more quickly than you would otherwise! It also guarantees a consistent result, so your logo comes out the same way each time.
Beyond that, I am sure a lot of people are curious as to how the whole process even works and that is what I wanted to share with you today. I hope this will give you a better understanding of how embroidery works and maybe it will inspire you to add some embroidered pieces to your next order!
Step 1: Your Concept
As with screen printing and any of our other services, each project begins with you and your vision for the apparel that you order.
Most companies come prepared with their own logo to be embroidered. This is extremely helpful because it means that all we need to do is get the logo digitized for embroidery so the machine can read the design.
If you don’t already have your own logo, let us know and we will work with you to get you what you need.
Once we know the logo you want on your garments, our graphics team will create a digital mockup of what your finished order is going to look like. Your job is to approve all aspects of this approval form to let us know that we are good to go!
You may be wondering what types of things you can even have embroidered. I have experience with a wide range of products from polos to saddle pads for horses!
Here are some of the common things that I embroider:
- Team warmup jackets and pants
If what you are thinking of getting embroidered is not on this list, contact one of our sales people to see if it is something that we can accommodate.
Step 2: Set Up Design File
There is a small computer on each of the embroidery machines that reads the design files. I use USB drives to transfer your design from the main computer to the one on the embroidery machine. Once I have inserted the USB, I can select the thread colors for each part of the design. Each embroidery head has 15 needles, so although I haven’t seen anything close, we could potentially sew a design that has up to 15 different colors! (Most designs are between one and three colors.)
Step 3: Hoop, hoop-a-doop
We have a little jingle that we sing around the office to indicate that it’s time to hoop the garments. (If you come in and ask nicely, I might sing it for you… Be warned that it’s very short and leaves something to be desired in the way of lyrics.)
To get back on track, hooping is when I secure the garment in a hoop, which holds the fabric taut. The hoop snaps into the machine to keep the garment in place. Most garments also require backing to be hooped along with the garment, which will be either cut or torn away after the item finishes sewing. The backing lends structure to the garment, so the machine has something substantial to sew on.
Step 4: Trace it Out
Once the garments are hooped, I place them on the actual machine. This is when I double check that the design will be centered within the hoop and placed correctly on the garment. Luckily, I can check all of this without having to sew out a test design. Instead, the machine allows me to trace the outline of where the design will be placed within the hoop. If the tracing is not to my liking, I can adjust the starting point as much as I need to until it is in the right place.
Step 5: Sew the Design
This is the point we have been working toward: sewing out the design! All that’s necessary to do on this step is to press the green “Start” button and the embroidery machine takes it from there.
Occasionally, the machine will have to stop mid-sew if it runs out of bobbin thread or encounters another problem. In that case, it generally only takes a few seconds to fix the problem and start it up again.
Step 6: Trim Backing & Threads
Once the design is fully sewn out, I take each piece off the machine and remove the hoop from the garment. This is when I put the finishing touches on the piece by cutting away or removing the backing. Many designs will also have some threads that are not part of the design, but they go between the letters or other elements of the design. I use trimming scissors with very pointy ends to carefully cut away these unnecessary threads to make sure the final product looks clean and professional.
Finished embroidery pieces are then neatly folded and packed into boxes or our branded bags with a few extra goodies for you to enjoy!
Hopefully by now you have a greater understanding of what embroidery is and how it works from start to finish. Embroidery, much like screen printing, is a very hands-on process and I take each of our customer’s projects very seriously. At Skazma, we take great care to give our customers the best finished product possible.
I hope that you will consider adding embroidery to your next order!