Back To The Basics To Create High Quality Embroidery Designs!

Back To The Basics To Create High Quality Embroidery Designs!

There are some basic issues that can have a huge effect on the quality of your designs. We need to go back to the basics to create high-quality embroidery designs.

Machine Speed

Machine speed has a huge effect on the quality of your design.  I cringe when I see a machine going faster than 850 stitches per minutes.  I run mine on an average of 750 stitches per minutes but if I am working on caps, it is down to 600 or 650 spi at max.

The machines today are being sold on the fact that they go a lot faster and there you can get more production done in a day.  Yes this is true, but it can also cause many issues that slow down production. The faster your machine is sewing, the more pull you have on your thread.  This can cause distortion in your small lettering and in satin stitches that border fill areas.  The faster the machine speed, the tighter the thread pulls, and the narrower the stitch sews out.  If the machine is going too fast, it can skip stitches or force the needle to penetrate in a bad spot and form a stitch that is uneven such as on heavy pique or fabric that has wide ribs such as twill.  This really shows up on a twill cap.

The machine speed can also cause the thread to come out of the needle at the beginning of sewing and can leave a long thread or a loop at the beginning of the first part of your stitching.

Bad Tension

Your machine needs to be using either rayon or polyester thread.  You should not be switching back and forth if you can help it.  This is something that we have to do at times and I am very unhappy when we have to do this, but we have customers that insist on a certain shade and if it matches in the rayon rather than the polyester, then that is what we use.  I do not want to use any rayon thread on a garment that is going to be washed in the strong laundry detergents because it can fade.  We do not have any many issues with our thread bleeding.

If you stick to polyester, you eliminate a lot of issues.  In today’s world this is the thread that you should be using.  We have been gradually switching over and we are using more and more polyester.  It is much stronger and of course, it will not fade out when bleached. Your polyester thread has to run with a tighter tension than the rayon thread.   When you are switching back and forth, it is very tough to keep your thread tension correct.  It needs to be adjusted for the different type of thread.

Worn or Wrong Needles

Worn or Wrong Needles can create holes in the fabric.  On knits it can create runs.  You really need to be careful with this.  Sometimes you can get away with a sharp needle on a knit such as a pique if you are using the 70/10 needles and they are new needles.  It is strongly recommended that you change your needles to ballpoint needles if you are working with knits, especially the performance wear knits.  You can almost count on holes in your fabric if you do not switch to the ballpoints on those types of fabrics.  This can have a huge effect on your design.

They recommend that you change your needles every 2,000,000 stitches or after every 8 hours of constant stitching on that same needle bar.  That is hard to keep track of and something that we really do not do, but I always had operators that were very much detail oriented and knew exactly when the needles needed to be changed. You can hear the difference in the sound when the needle goes down into the fabric. This comes from lots of experience and a lot of trial and error.

Wrong Backing

Using the correct backings or stabilizers is extremely important in the stabilizing of your design on your garment.  If you are using the wrong backing or a cheap backing your design can rip right through the backing and it just does not sew out very good.  It becomes very distorted, especially after it has been laundered.

This is something that you have to be very careful of.  For all of your wovens, you need to use a tearaway backing.  Do not ever use a cutaway on the woven fabrics, not even the no show.  Many times the backing shrinks and it will cause the design to pull up and pucker.  I have had several complaints about the no show backing shrinking.  I have had several students tell me that they have discontinued using it because it was shrinking and their designs were distorted after they had been washed.I have some items here that have been washed and you can plainly see that this no show has not shrank at all!  You need to always use quality backings.

Cheap Supplies

Do not use cheap bobbins either.  This is huge!  Not only do they slow down your production, but they run very erratic and it is almost impossible to keep an even flow of tension.  I highly recommend the Filtec bobbins.  The can run all the way to the end without the tension changing and rarely do we have a bad one.  Yes, they are more expensive, but the difference is the look and the production more than pays for the difference in the cost.

No Topping On Your Knits

This is a tough concept to get across to a lot of people.  The difference in your designs is night and day when you use it.  Every knit that went out of my shop was done with topping on it.  It keeps the thread on top of the fabric instead of letting it sink into the garment and is very easy to remove.  Yes it is another step, but at the same time that we are steaming it off, we are also removing the hoop mark from our item.  I do not ever want to see a garment go out of here with a hoop mark on it.  There is no excuse for that one at all.

Garments Not Hooped Correctly

When you are hooping your garments you want to make sure that they are tight enough. If it is, there will not no movement of the fabric inside of the hoop and you can hear a drum noise when you tap on it.

Size of Hoop

The size hoop that you use is critical.  Many embroiderers will use the same 15 cm hoop for all of their designs.  This is fine if the design was created for that 15 cm hoop, but if the design is smaller than that, you will not get the same effect.

Many times, we just need to go back to the basics to create high-quality embroidery designs. We sometimes forget the basics and how important they really are.

“Preventing Issues In Embroidery Production Runs!”

“Preventing Issues In Embroidery Production Runs!”

Preventing issues in embroidery production runs is huge in the planning out of your production. Trying to get the best production possible out of every single day is a must if you want a profitable embroidery business!

In today’s economy where so many embroidery business owners are doing all that they can to keep expenses down with less employees, this is extremely important.

You always sew out all of your embroidery designs before you start any new jobs. Right!! Paying close attention to every detail is very important in preventing errors or finding any type of issue within your embroidery design before you start your long production run! You want to thoroughly examine your design as you are sewing it out to see if there are any type of issues as it is running.

You must watch the machine as it is sewing out your design in order to be able to pinpoint any of the small issues! You cannot start the machine and walk away and expect that you are going to be able to find the issues, it just does not work. YOU MUST watch it as it sews out! As it is sewing out ask yourself these questions:

  • Is there something that you can do to shorten your run time?

  • Are there any thread breaks? If so, find out why. Maybe your density is too heavy-change your needle, bad thread, tension too tight.

  • Is it locking as it starts and stops? If it does not lock at the beginning the thread can come out of the needle. This can cause a real production nightmare! No lock at the end, it can unravel.

  • Is it trimming where it is supposed to?

  • Do I see any threads between my letters? If you do, they are not close enough.

  • If I change my running order of my text will it run faster? First line left to right, second line right to left, third line left to right.

  • Are all of the colors correct and are my colors running in the correct order?

  • Does it look to thick or too thin? Your letters may be pushing because your density is too heavy or your pull comp is too heavy. If too thin, your pull comp needs to be increased.

Check your sew out and have it verified before the job is started. Make sure that you watch each stitch as you sew out the design to see if there are any mistakes or problems that can be prevented. You can slow down the machine and watch it stitch by stitch to pinpoint some issues.

  • Do you have any jump stitches that are too long? This can cause the thread to get caught and your needle to break.
  • Are all of your starts and stops in the correct location? If not, your machine has to move too far to start the next sequence causing wasted production time.
  • Is your sew sequence in the right order? You do not want any travel stitches showing. A wrong sew sequence can create too many trims that could have been prevented if the sew sequence was changed.
  • Can any of your color changes be combined? This will depend on how your design was created and what it is going to be sewn on. Sometimes they can be combined if your design is going to be sewn onto a flat garment but not onto a cap. This can cause registration problems. Before you take this step make sure that you can combine the colors and not have any registration issues.

It does not matter if you digitized your embroidery design or had the best digitizer out there doing your work, make sure that you sew out every design before you start the job and watch it sew out stitch by stitch. Not only will you prevent issues, you can learn from watching your designs sew out. This is also true if you have set up a design or lettering in your software. Every design is a new design digitized or not and needs to have the same close attention to detail.

Create a checklist of all of the items to look out for as you are doing your sew outs and go right down that checklist to make sure that you have covered every item. This is going to help you save a lot of time and frustration as you are going through your long production runs.

There is nothing any more frustrating than having constant thread breaks or knowing that something could have been changed in your design to make the entire job get done in a lot less time! Time is precious and time is money! You cannot get it back once you have lost it!

It seems like a waste of your time watching it sew out but it never is. I have been digitizing for many years and planning out production for many more years and I will never send out a design to be run unless I have sewn it out 3 times to make sure that it has no issues, and yes, I watch it! Preventing issues in embroidery production is part of the planning of all of your embroidery production runs. This is going to help you create more profit in your bottom line!  You can pick up this checklist by filling our this form.  We will sent it to you to help you as your are sewing out each design.

System For Embroidering Team Names On Jackets!

System For Embroidering Team Names On Jackets!

I want to share with you how to create a system for embroidering team names on jackets or shirts. This time-saving system that I came up with for embroidering team names on jackets or shirts is very simple and as indicated, it is a huge time saver!  I take my list of names that I received from my customer and arrange my items in the same order as the names on the sheet.

I take the list of names and put it on my copier and increase them in size by 200%. After that, I will cut all the names apart on my sheet and then tape them to each item according to the size.

After that, I hoop all the items and then stack them in order according to how they’ll be embroidered and how the names are on my sheet because I don’t want any mistakes.  That is in the exact same order that the customer gave them to me and that’s how I will be sending them back.

When I set up the names in my Pulse software, I set them up in a Name Stack.  By that I mean I set up each name, put a color change between each one and then literally stack one name on top of another name in the software.  This way they all start in the center and in the exact same place.

With the color change command between each name, I set the machine so that it automatically stops when it sees a color change command.  When I put the first item into the machine and get it all set in place for the first name, it will embroider the first name and then stop.

This allows me the time to take out that first item and put in the next item on the list.  I continue this until I am finished with the entire list of names.  As the next one is embroidering, I remove the hoop, trim and stack the last one.  I can embroider about 40 items in an hour on a single head machine using this method.

If you have a multi-head machine, you load the entire machine, again in the right order that the names will be embroidered, turn all of the heads off except head no. 1.  Start the process with head no. 1 and when the first name is completed, turn off head no. 1 and turn on head no. 2 and continue this process until each one is completed.

You can create this system for embroidering names on jackets in any embroidery design software.  It will work, trust me on that!  No matter what I am charging, wholesale or retail this is a huge moneymaker!  Try it, you will like it, I promise.

You can see how to go through the embroidery process inside of the Embroidery Business Academy in Skill Set No. 1. You will find it in Embroidery Production, inside of Embroidery Basics.

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Set Boundaries And Create Your Own Space When Working From Home

Set Boundaries And Create Your Own Space When Working From Home

As a new embroidery business owner, do your family and friends have the opinion that you should be available for their every need 24/7 because you are working from home? Set boundaries and create your own space when you are working from home. This is very important for new embroidery business owners.

This was a huge problem for me when I first started my business from home. I still had one teenage daughter at home and I had always kept up with running the kids everyplace they needed to go and kept up with all of the regular home duties that a housewife is expected to do. No one in the family expected any part of their life was going to change when Mom started her own business.

For a while, I was driving myself crazy trying to be all things to everyone in the household and run my business at the same time. It just was not working and I could not accomplish anything in my business.

New Embroidery Business Owners Must Set Boundaries

This is a problem that so many new embroidery business owners are faced with when they are first getting their business started from home and they do not know how to say NO or to set boundaries and create your own space for those around them!

I learned very quickly that I had to set regular business hours and regular family hours. I have to admit, this was not easy at first, but it was a must if I was going to succeed with my business and keep my sanity.

Setting boundaries is absolutely a must for the health of your family life and your business life. Without certain “rules” and even physical divides in your home, your children assume that you are available for their every need, and even partners and friends can impose on your working day, causing frustration and tension for everyone involved. This is very hard on relationships.

Set Aside One Room To Create Your Own Space

Set aside one room to create your own space if at all possible; one that you can close the door to the rest of the world. This is very important. If you cannot separate yourself from the family you cannot do your business justice, you will not be able to concentrate with all of the interruptions and you will not be able to grow your business.

When my door is closed in my office, my family knows that they are not to disturb me for any reason unless it is an emergency. I established this rule several years ago and it has worked very well. Now my husband is retired, another big adjustment, and he knows DO NOT ENTER!

I now have 2 rooms, one is my office and the other one is my workroom that has my embroidery machines and all of my other equipment in it. The door to my workroom is always open but the embroidery machines are not going to stop unless there is an emergency. They can come in and talk to me but they are not to disturb the workflow.

Running your business from home is entirely possible for the new embroidery business owner if you do set boundaries and create your own space, but you must stick to your rules. Your family will soon learn what the rules are and both you and your family will be happier at the end of the day!

If this has been a problem for you, let me know what you have done to eliminate the issues and how you enforced your rules.


“Do You Have High-Quality Standards Set In Your Embroidery Business?”

Do you have high-quality standards set in your embroidery business or are you focused on just getting the job done?  Quality is extremely important if you want to build a business that is going to last no matter what state the economy is in. 

Many customers are unaware of what good quality is in embroidery but when you educate them and show them the difference, they get it and are happy that you are willing to provide them with the best! 

I have certain standards that we have always gone by and if they are not met, the person responsible has to either be retrained so that they can produce the quality that I want or they will no longer have a job.  If there has been a mistake on a job or if the job does not meet my standards of quality, I will not charge the customer for the job. 

Case in point!  We finished a set of 49 football jerseys that I was not happy with. An operator embroidered the school name on the back of half of the jerseys instead of the front below the V where it belongs.  I was out training a new student and I truly do not know how he ever made such a mistake, but it happened!  They were $70.00 jerseys, that the customer supplied before the numbers and embroidery were applied.  This was a very expensive job but I could not charge the customer for this.   The mistake was rectified with the customer’s help but I could not in my own conscious charge him for this job.   

When I called him and told him about the problem, he was very grateful and happy that I was so honest about it.  When I told him that I would not be charging him for the job, he was thrilled, said that they would live with the issue and that he would be sending me a lot more work!  

If a mistake is made, do not try to pass it off onto the customer without the customer being totally aware of it.  Mistakes do happen to all of us, but you must own up to it, keep the customer informed, correct it and in most cases let him make the decision on how to handle the job.  It does not matter how large or how small the job is.  

If you do not have high-quality standards set in your embroidery business, you will not stay in business for the long haul.  This is very important.