Process & Service Information
Most attire, such as shirts, caps, jackets (including nylon
and leather), ties, sweaters, and sweatshirts can be embroidered. Items that can be
embroidered include bath towels, linens and patches.
If something isn’t listed above, that doesn’t mean we can’t do it ~ but
more likely that we just didn’t list it. If you have questions about having something
embroidered, please ask. We are always happy to answer your questions.
How detailed can the personalization be?
Just as you will have font limitations on your personal computer, we have found it
necessary to maintain limited font libraries. This means that we may not be able to match
your font perfectly. However, we will make every effort to maintain the integrity of your
design with a close font match.
As part of the digitizing process, letters sometimes must be digitized individually. Any
alterations to letters, including a high number of color changes, trims, and arched or
bridge lettering require more preparation and completion time and are therefore priced
What is the embroidery process?
Embroidery machines, like plotters, have various commands including needle up, needle
down, color change, and pattern definition (x and y motion) of the embroidery surface.
Some machines, properly equipped with multiple needles and automatic thread trimmers, can
also automatically change the thread color. While stitching speeds vary, we have found our
best results are usually in the range of 400-800 stitches per minute. We will also apply
those extra touches to the back and sides of caps upon request. Because curved surface
embroidery has more limitations on the size of the embroidery, we have cap panel out
programs, allowing a larger embroidery field. After the embroidery is applied, the caps
are then assembled. The hoops used to stabilize the fabric are very similar in nature to
cross stitch hoops.
For most materials, backing, key to quality embroidery, is used. This helps keep the
material from drawing up both during and after the embroidery process. With some fabrics,
such as lighter weight T-shirts, we may use multiple layers of backing. This layering
provides stabilization during the embroidery process, and pays off after multiple washings
or dry cleaning.
What is Digitizing?
Digitizing is also known as punching. Today’s digitizing process defines the types of
stitches used by the embroidery machine. To digitize, artwork is placed on a digitizing
board or scanned into the computer and points are plotted which define the stitch type.
Some stitch types available are running stitches, satins and fills. These stitch types can
be effectively combined to create a variety of looks and 3D textures. While technology
advances have brought many changes to the embroidery process, direct conversions from a
scanned image to embroidery with reasonable running times are still not possible. Scanning
typically allows one to display the image on the screen and 'air punch' without a
digitizing board. Depending on the intricacy of the design the digitizing process varies.
Once the digitizing is complete, the customer is given a 'stitch out' to approve.
With this many embroidery heads, we have a great deal of flexibility. They
allow us to embroider nine garments with the same design, which keeps us from shying away
from large volume orders; or with the four separate machines, we can work on four
different orders, making it possible to reduce the turn around time for those smaller
How It All Works --Using Stock Designs
The machines can sew at a rate of 1000-1200 stitches per minute, however,
they commonly run around 500-800 stitches per minute. This is only part of the technique,
there are many steps to complete the procedure.
First, a garment is ordered or brought in, to be embellished. A stock
design is often selected — we have thousands of stock designs to choose from. We
often add some text to the stock design to advertise the customer’s business. There
are many stock fonts to choose from as well. Sometimes we try to closely match a business
card or letterhead — sometimes we work off of a sketch on a napkin!
Next comes setting up the design on the computer — making sure the
spacing is just right, and the size will fit for the location on the garment. The design
is perfected at this point, and either sent to the Melco machine which is directly
connected to the computer, or saved onto a floppy disk for the Brother machines to
Selecting the colors of thread, changing the needles to meet the needs
of the fabric, all must precede the actual sewing of the garment. The machine must also be
programmed to sew the design in the correct color sequence, changing thread colors at the
appropriate points. There are other settings, as well, which need to be programmed.
Before the garment can be sewn, a location must be marked to center with
the machine needle, which always begins from the center of the design and travels to the
first sewing location. Therefore, by finding the center of the design on the garment, and
knowing the machine travels from the center, you are guaranteed that the design will be
where you expect it to be.
The next step is hooping the garment, with the center mark we just
located, in the center of the hoop. Once this is done with the appropriate stabilizer
included, the hooped garment is attached to the machine with special fasteners, and the
design is traced within the hoop, to make sure it will not exceed the parameters of the
At last, we are able to begin sewing the garment! The machine sews the
design in sections of colors usually, however, sometimes the design will repeat a color
later on within the process. Occasionally, during the embroidery process, a thread or two
break. The operator of the machine must always be available to remedy this situation.
Ahhh, but we aren’t done yet! Once the design is finished sewing,
the stabilizer on the back must be trimmed, and some of the connecting threads must be
trimmed. Lines that were used to mark the center must be removed, and the garment folded
and prepared for deliver to the customer.
Well, it is faster than it used to be when all of this was done by hand,
but be assured that we don’t just scan in a design, and say "go" to the
machines. To complete an order of a single garment, from the time the customer comes in,
till it is folded and ready for delivery, an average design takes an operator about one
and a half to two hours. The best part is, however, that it is a lot of FUN!
Volume orders welcome.
No order too small.