Impressions - September/October 2010 - (Page 42)

EMBROIDERY >> HANDS ON Technique EMBROIDERY HANDS ON DIGITAL DECORATING HANDS ON ITAL DECORATING >> HANDS ON CREEN PRINTING >> HANDS ON TECH TIPS HANDS ON Use Proper Techniques to Easily Embroider Fleece >> SCREEN PRINTING HANDS ON TECH TIPS HANDS ON From the right needles and stabilizers to correct hooping, here’s what you should know when tackling a job involving fleece. Fleece fabric is conventionally used for making comfort clothing. While basic fleece construction hasn’t fundamentally changed, today’s fleece is better than ever and has evolved into an elite casual mainstay. Sold in fine gift shops and upscale resorts, fleece casual wear carries a high perceived value and is sold for prices that usually are in line with traditional jackets and vests. Premium blank garments manufactured using fleece usually are highly marketable. However, when it comes to decorating, the quality of embroidery on fleece can make or break the sale. This high-end blank must sport high-quality embroidery, or it may not sell at any price. Fleece doesn’t have to be difficult to embroider as long as you consider its characteristics and use appropriate methods to handle them. When working with fleece fabric, water-soluble topping can be applied to the top of a design by hooping or with a basting stitch. This helps create a smooth embroidery surface. FLEECE CHARACTERISTICS Fleece is a knitted fabric, usually constructed of polyester or a polyester blend containing other fibers. It is very warm, comfortable, soft and wicks moisture away from the body. This makes it a popular choice for lightweight vests and jackets. Years ago, fleece garments looked old prematurely because they had a tendency to pill excessively. All fabrics pill (bunch up into little balls) when fibers are subjected to friction or abrasion, but strong fibers like polyester hold on to the pills after they have formed. The introduction of microfibers into newer versions of fleece fabrics has reduced pilling while improving other characteristics, such as softness and water repellency. Fleece is made by brushing the fabric with wire brushes and shearing the surface. Most fleece that is used in blanks for sports and activewear is plush fleece, which is sheared to a uniform height. The depth and density of fleece can vary 42 Impressions >> September/October 2010 Because of its thickness, fleece is ideal for designs using negative space to create an embossed effect. widely, making it impossible to use a single method of embroidery to handle all fleece. Note that material used in inexpensive fleece blankets may be lower quality than fleece used in garments. NEEDLES AND STABILIZERS Because fleece is a knitted material, you can use light or medium ball-point needles, which probably are already in your embroidery machine. The blade should be size 75/11 or 80/12. The choice of stabilizer for fleece fabrics depends on three factors: the quality of the fleece, the height of the pile, and the size and detail of the design. Lowerquality fleece, such as an inexpensive blanket, will likely need more stabilization. While it may be tempting to use a wash-away stabilizer, remember that the fabric must support the embroidery even after the stabilizer is gone. If in doubt, use a Polymesh no-show type of stabilizer beneath the hoop.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Impressions - September/October 2010

Impressions - September/October 2010
First Impressions
Product Gallery
2010 Top-Volume Decorators
Back to Basics
Inside Outerwear
Technique: Use Proper Techniques to Easily Embroider Fleece
Technique: Water-Based Ink and the Environment
For Screen Printers Only
Online Directory
Tech Tips
Using Layer Styles for Digital Printing
On Design
Business to Business
Ad Index

Impressions - September/October 2010