May '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 M A Y P R I N T W E A R 2 5 thread color are readily perceived as differ- ent colors due to variation in how much light each angle reflects. Satin stitches are often used to create feathers, leaves, cylin- drical objects on machinery, facial features, fingers, and any narrow item with dimen- sion in the provided art. FILL, TATAMI, OR CEEDING STITCH One usually uses fills to cover large areas in a design, particularly those wider than 10– 12mm. Fill is composed of rows of stitches, most often placed very closely to each other to completely cover the garment's surface. Stitch penetrations are usually offset line to line in such a way that they appear much like a woven material, hence the name 'tata- mi' after the woven Japanese mats. Standard fills look flatter and have less sheen than sat- ins but can easily cover large areas uniform- ly. The look of a fill is altered by changing the spacing between its lines (density), the alignment of its stitch penetrations, and the length of its stitches to create various levels of coverage and textures. Modern digitizing software can also use curved lines of stitch- ing in fills, allowing a digitizer to easily sug- gest a dimensional contour across a surface. Some digitizers lean heavily on fills due to fill-stitch tools' ability to quickly cover awkwardly-shaped areas, making for flat-looking embroideries. That said, the most deli- cate color blends and gradients are almost always rendered entirely in carefully-placed layers of unidirectional fill, as it facilitates the layering of low-density, interleaved fills in different colors. Though traditionally used for broad surfaces, fills can be used in smaller areas to create a flat, regular finish or to add durability against the snagging seen in wide satin stitches. Flat, smooth elements like body panels in machinery, walls in buildings, and any flat ex- panse are natural places to use fill, but it can be used for almost anything wider than a few millimeters when art calls for flat or patterned textures, or even when rendering an object requires the curved lines present in curved fills to insinuate a convex or concave surface. SPECIALTY STITCH TYPES Feature-complete digitizing software suites offer every manner of method to fill areas, from contour stitches that mimic the edges of the digitized shape to spirals to repeated program- mable motif patterns, and even simulations of counted cross-stitch. The same can be said for outlines, motifs, blanket stitching, back stitching, and much more to follow any path you can draw. As interesting as these elements are, the likelihood is that most of your com- mercial work will not require most of these stitch types. While they can be useful, most of these decorative styles are more suited to home decor or fashion embroidery, rarely finding their way into the logo and branding work that makes up the largest part of commercial digitizing. Even so, it's worthwhile to familiarize yourself with the wide range of treatments your software offers. In the end, there are many more stitch types and treatments than we can't cover in a single article, but just as each of these types are built from a humble single stitch, these few tools were used to create nearly every embroidered masterpiece you've seen. PW Erich Campbell has more than 18 years experience as an award-winning digitizer, e-commerce manager, and industry educator. He empowers decorators to do their best work and achieve a greater success. A current educator and long-time columnist, Erich takes every opportunity to provide value to the industry. Despite being a single color of thread, the apparent color of the fills seems very different, enhancing dimension. The angle shifts in the satins that make up the leading edge of the key cre- ate light effects that make the key appear to stand up off of the surface.

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