June '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 J U N E P R I N T W E A R 2 3 the addition of structural edge run, or edge run and zig-zag underlays, combined with slightly increased density can make up for some of the lack of coverage, so long as you remember not to overburden the garment and ruin its hand with excess stitching. MATERIAL MATTERS A second approach is to employ thicker thread. It's likely your favorite supplier car- ries any number of embroidery-friendly thick threads, including those made from cotton or wool blends which add a fuzzy finish many customers associate with craft or vintage embroidery. Though this added thickness means you will need to employ large-eye needles and adjust your tensions and the settings on your digitized elements, manufacturers provide guidelines and recommendations to help you compensate for your choice of specialty thread. For instance, one of my favorite 12-weight wool-blend threads specifies a recommended density for full coverage that drops to 9 points or .9mm, making it less than half of the standard .4mm density indicated for 40-weight polyester. It's easy to see how running an existing design made for 40-weight with this thread would likely be disastrous. MAKE IT MATTE For customers looking for a style more akin to early machine embroidery without the extra thickness or change in physical texture that the thick thread brings, matte finish threads are often enough to change the character of even a standard design. The shine of rayon or poly threads is a major feature of modern machine embroidery, making a dull luster often enough to create a vintage finish. Though it can be tempting to run a rough poly-blend or cotton thread used for sewing, I've had mixed results with such in produc- tion. Lately, however, the rise of 40-weight, embroidery-specific matte-finish polyester In this large and ornate piece depicting a fal- con silhouette filled with a colorful traditional paisley pattern, I used all colored metallics to create a very folk/bohemian look with a twist. On close inspection, one can see how I created motif versions of stitched edges from stemstitch lines to achieve extra thick- ness without losing the sparkle of smaller, un- aligned stitches, to patterns of blanket stitch, thorns, and other repeated shapes that track the contours of the paisley patterns within.

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