Embroidery is stitching a pattern or design into fabric. While this use to be done entirely and painstakingly by hand, sewing machines have industrialized the process and turned it into a great promotional tool for businesses. Embroidery machines can now produce embroidered images on a mass scale, which can be used on shirts, hats and other items that feature a business’s name, logo or other design. Embroidery machines are also available for personal use, and anyone who has access to one can create these designs in five simple steps.
- Make or Choose a Design File: For commercial purposes, a graphic designer will create a computer file featuring the desired logo or other design. They are created in a special format that is meant to work with embroidery machines. The person who creates these designs is called an embroidery digitizer or a puncher. For those wishing to do embroidery on their personal machine at home, these designs can be purchased on discs or downloaded from the internet. There are even free ones available, and the machine you buy will usually come with several already loaded onto it.
- Edit Your Design: If you’ve chosen to work with a pre-designed image, you may need to do some alterations to make it suit your purposes. Many sites or programs where these images can be found come with simple editing software so you can customize your design.
- Load the Design: Once your design is ready to go, it needs to be loaded into the machine. Most machines come with cables that hook easily to a computer so designs can be loaded. Designs can also be put on a memory card and transferred to the embroidery machine that way.
- Stabilize the Fabric: The fabric that the embroidery is going onto must remain flat in order to avoid wrinkles during the embroidery process. For large designs, the fabric will be faced on either the front or the back with a stiffer material such as vinyl or mesh. Often times the interfacing fabric will wash away or be able to be peeled off once the embroidery is done. For smaller designs, the fabric can be place in a frame or hoop to hold it taut.
- Load and Go: Once the fabric is stabilized, it is ready to be placed in the embroidery machine, which will do all of the work on its own from here on out. The operator should stay nearby to watch for any problems while they wait for the finished product.