Making The Right Choice: Embroidery

What Is "The Right Choice" Anyway?

I find shopping somewhat of a hassle. Whether it's shopping for business, or a birthday present, it just doesn't come easily for me. But when I come across a company or supplier that does what they do, right, and consistently, my shopping experience is so much more enjoyable.

In addition, I find myself shopping at that business frequently, and when they prove they can deliver consistently, I'm a customer for life.

That, is what "The Right Choice" is all about!

Making The Right Choice: Embroidery

The truth is, there are many telltale signs to look for when seeking consistently quality embroidery. 

To the average observer, embroidery can look "good" even when it is poorly engineered or the machines are improperly set-up by the operator. This can be rather troublesome for our industry. The truth a consumer believes about their embroidery provider is usually based on an advertisement or referral, and not on the tested proof of their quality.

So let's load your guns with a few tricks to help you sniff out the embroidery impostors.

What to look for with embroidery:

SAMPLES: When you begin your search for an embroidery provider, ask them to provide you with physical sew-out samples. The more complicated the embroidery design is, the better. These samples should feature several stitch types such as fill stitches, satin stitches and even running stitches.

TOP THREAD: The side of the embroidery that features the design is the top of the design, thus, the thread is known as the 'top thread'. No matter which type of stitch it is, it should look tight to the material the embroidery was sewn on to.

REGISTRATION: When two objects are designed to align, this is known as registration. Objects that either align to each other, of have uniform spacing between them should look consistent. A dead giveaway for bad registration is if there are gaps between an object and it's outline.

PUCKERING: A properly engineered and hooped embroidery will place none or very little tension on the garment it is being applied. Embroidery is a tensioned "tug-o-war" between the top thread and the bobbin with the poor fabric holding on for dear life to it's highly uniform weave in the middle. Puckering at it's worst should be barely recognizable.

ONE-THIRD RULE: Now comes the true test of quality . . . turn that sample over. On the under side you will see thin white zigzag stitches in the middle of all your top thread. This white thread is the "bobbin" thread. The bobbin is the one constant standard by which the top thread depends for it's proper tensioning. The 'One-third Rule' dictates that properly tensioned machines should reveal a one-third reveal of top thread on either side of a one-third reveal of bobbin in the middle of the stitch type. 

When observing these top stitches, they should all run tightly next to each other

Randy Larson

Owner, 3909 NE Burtonwood Court, Vancouver, Washington 98682, USA