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 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.
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.
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.
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.