Impressions - April 2012 - (Page 58)

talking SHOP Embroidery Technique Cap Embroidery Made Easy Understanding intricacies such as construction, hooping basics, sewing field limitations and backing choices can minimize the challenges of sewing on caps. By Jolyn Schaefer, Contributing Writer Pushing the outer limits of your system’s embroidery dimensions may cause design distortion. Remember to stay within your system’s sewing field. For example, if your maximum sewing field is 21⁄4 inches, it may be best to keep your designs under 21⁄8 inches in order to minimize sewing problems. i t may sound elementary, but when you’re embroidering caps, you must remember to treat the process differently than when you sew on any other product. Once you and your sales staff realize caps can’t be treated or sold like jackets or shirts, then production nightmares can be drastically reduced. I cringe when I hear, “Sure, we can put that 14,000-stitch design with tiny lettering on a cap — no problem!” Help your sales staff understand there are limitations to sewing on caps. They may not need all the technical details, but giving them simple dimensions and guidelines will suffice. First of all, you are requiring an embroidery machine — which works in two dimensions — to now create something round, or 3-D. The cap frames and drivers for today’s embroidery machines allow Impressions | April/May 2012 embroiderers to create beautiful designs on finished caps. But there still are limitations. Let’s take a good look at what you’re sewing on in order to make the best choices for design and supplies to produce a high-quality, finished product. CAP CONSTRUCTION Most caps that are embroidered today are constructed of six panels, which means there is a seam down the middle. Depending on the cap’s construction (How thick is the fabric? Does it have stiff backing? Is there additional top stitching?), this seam can be rather bulky and dense. Keep this in mind when assisting customers with a design that will sew well on caps. When looking at a customer’s logo and realizing its tiny text and multiple outlines probably won’t sew well, you, as the expert, must help him understand what will and won’t work on a cap. Sometimes, you can recommend that the main logo be sewn on the front of the cap and the tagline on the back or side. If logo compliance will not allow the text to be separated, you can suggest a filled background behind the small text or enlarging the lettering to a size that will sew well. Some caps have a more solid construction with either fused buckram (rough plastic backing) or an extra layer of freestanding buckram behind the front panel. We call these structured caps because they have their own shape. There also are unstructured caps, which conform to the shape of the wearer’s head. Typically, structured caps are easier to embroider. They still require backing, proper hooping and digitizing, but they usually require less “babysitting” than unstructured caps. The fabric of unstructured caps tends to shift more during the sewing process. Special care in hooping is required. If you use pieces of backing that are long enough to line 2⁄3 of the cap, then you will have more stability when sewing, especially if the backing also is clamped down with clips. In extremely difficult cases, the backing can be glued into the cap with spray adhesive prior to hooping. Adding silicone spray to the backing will reduce any thread breaks brought on by the adhesive. HOOPING CORRECTLY Each cap system has a maximum sewing field. Most systems will only sew between 2 inches and 21⁄2 inches tall. As you push the outer limits, you may experience design distortion. So if your maximum sewing field is 21⁄4 inches, it may be best to keep your designs under 21⁄8 inches in order to minimize sewing problems. 58

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Impressions - April 2012

Impressions - April 2012
Making Economic Sense of Sustainability
From the Show Director
ISS Conferences
Product Gallery
Spotlight on Caps
Outfitting the Active Customer
Future Leaders
Primed for Print/Cut Media
Financing Your Start-Up Decorated Apparel Business
Making Economic Sense of Sustainability
Shop Spotlight
Embroidery Technique
Screen Printing Graphics & Design
Screen Printing Technique
Online Directory
Digital Decorating
Business to Business
Ad Index

Impressions - April 2012