Understanding Embroidery Digitizing

The Beginning of Digitizing: 1977

My name is Erik Mickelson and I am a 2nd generation embroider at Northwest Custom Apparel. My dad, Jim Mickelson, started in commercial embroidery back in 1977. Jim started punching designs on the old jacquard tapes in our garage. I can remember as a kid watching my dad punch designs for 8-10 hours per day. In a good day, he could punch 20,000 stitches, which is about 2 designs per day. Being a kid, I really didn’t grasp what he was doing. I just loved it when he tossed out the old

Artwork would be hand drawn and enlarged six times before you can place it on the big board for digitizing. Circa 1977

Artwork would be hand drawn and enlarged six times before you can place it on the big board for digitizing. Circa 1977

tapes and I would dive through the garbage and play with them. My friends and I would light the tapes on fire and roll them down our driveway. That is where the embroidery industry picked up the term “hot designs”.

Before computers, embroidery was "punched" on jacquard paper tapes.

Before computers, embroidery was “punched” on jacquard paper tapes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is an old Baraudan embroidery machine from 1977 at NW Embroidery

This is an old Baraudan embroidery machine from 1977 at NW Embroidery

 

Customer Service

The way my dad, got new digitizing customers was through caring about the customer and their needs. He would always get designs out on time and be in contact with the customer. If he had any questions on a design he would pick up the telephone and call the customer. He always guaranteed the designs he put out.

 

 

 

Modern Day Digitizing

Jim Mickelson is digitizing using Wilcom Software.

Jim Mickelson is digitizing using Wilcom Software.

Digitizing today is so much faster with computers and advanced digitizing programs. We can digitize 10 times more designs than Jim could in 1977. We are a lot faster today, but we still give the “customer service” like Jim did 30 years ago.

 

Stick with the Northwest Custom Apparel and you will experience 30 years worth of customer service excellence.