I would like to share insights into embroidery digitizing techniques. When embarking on such a task, one must consider the varied nature of the garments that these designs will adorn. This means taking into account the behavior of the fabric and the tendencies of the stitches. My experience of 26 years has taught me that instead of trying to correct or compensate for what the machine does, it’s more effective to work in harmony with it. This approach ensures consistent results that can be reliably reproduced on various fabrics without adjustments.
The key to creating beautiful embroidery on any garment lies in understanding the fabric. Every fabric has a grain that impacts the stitches. Stitches that run vertically tend to blend into the grain, while horizontal stitches stand out more prominently. Additionally, fabric has a bias; it stretches significantly at a 45-degree angle, which can cause puckering with fill stitches. Traditionally, we use stabilizing underlay stitching to counteract this.
Buoyancy is another crucial factor. The thicker and fluffier the fabric, the more the stitching will sink in, necessitating additional stitches. However, this can lead to a cardboard-like appearance. To avoid this, we often use a heavy fill underlay, but this requires compensating for the fabric’s pulling tendency.
In the past, digitizers meticulously placed each stitch, but now we rely on software like Wilcom to lay down stitches in groups. This requires adjusting for fabric character and stitch pull. For instance, a stitch’s behavior doesn’t change whether it’s part of a fill pattern or a satin stitch column. On more buoyant fabrics, the pull is more pronounced, necessitating a run stitch underlay for stabilization.
Horizontal or Vertical?
This concept is illustrated in my designs (Figures 4 and 5). The direction of the stitch—horizontal or vertical—significantly impacts the final appearance. For instance, a vertically stitched image appears wider than its horizontally stitched counterpart. Traditional underlay helps but can’t completely eliminate distortion.
Top Secrets Embroidery Digitizing Techniques
The secret to successful embroidery digitizing lies in not just reducing density but in the strategic layering of stitches. By running the fill-in layers and adjusting density accordingly, we achieve optimal coverage without distortion.
Through these techniques, we at NW Custom Apparel have mastered the art of value-driven embroidery in a commodity market, ensuring our designs stand out in both quality and aesthetics.