Always give your customer a completed embroidery design sew out sample to get their OK and have them sign off on their design. Creating embroidery design sew out samples is a very important step in your embroidery production process. You need to be able to show your customer a completed sample of how his embroidery will look before you actually embroider the design onto the customers finished garments.
I have discovered that most embroiderers create the embroidery design sew out samples on squares of backing fabric and give this to the customer for their approval. You really do not know what the actual design will look like on the finished products. The settings for the various types of fabrics need to be adjustment correctly for the best results on that fabric.
Having the exact same fabric is not always possible but there are fabrics that work as great substitutes. A t-shirt fabric works for a jersey knit placket shirt, the backside of a sweatshirt is a good substitute for a light weight fleece fabric, and an old worn out sheet is good replacement for a dress shirt or a handkerchief. If you use your imagination you can come up with a lot of close matches that will definitely work when you are creating your embroidery design sew out samples.
A great source for these type of fabrics are old garments that your family has discarded. I cut up various sized squares from old or unwanted garments and store them in plastic boxed that I have labeled: T-shirt fabric, Sweatshirt fabric, Wind shirt fabric, Terry cloth, Dress shirt fabric, and Heavy woven fabrics. When it is time for a new sew out sample these fabric squares come in very handy.
Another good source I found for inexpensive garments was at Goodwill or The Salvation Army stores. I needed some leather for a sew out sample and did not have any on hand. I found a jacket at the Goodwill store that had the lining ripped out of it. It was not selling so I was able to pick it up for $5.00. I have created a lot of sew outs from the one jacket.
You also want to choose a color of fabric that is closest to what the customer will be using. If this is not possible use a light color or neutral fabric for garments that will be a light color and a dark colored fabric for garments that will be a dark color. Create your embroidery design sew out sample in the correct colors that your customer will be using.
Giving your customer a completed embroidery design sew out sample on the correct type of cloth and in the correct colors shows him or her exactly how the embroidery will appear on the finished garments and it instills within them a level of confidence that you as a professional know exactly what you are doing.
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The Embroidery Coach