July '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 2 P R I N T W E A R J U L Y 2 0 1 9 2 2 P R I N T W E A R J U L Y 2 0 1 9 Design Analysis DISSECTING STITCHES EMBROIDERY Erich's Embellishments E r i c h C a m p b e l l THE OBVIOUS Viewing embroidery alone imparts vol- umes about its construction. First is stitch type. We see areas spanned either by unbro- ken satin stitches or patterned lines of fill. Thin outlines with penetration points that aren't aligned are multiple runs of straight stitches. Thicker stitches sharing start and end points are bean stitches. We also see basic stitch angles and detect specialty vari- ants like the bowed rows of curved fill or the repeated, open patterns of motifs. We can even observe the regularity of penetra- tion point placement in fill to determine if roughness or random stitch-lengths are cre- ating the organic look of its surface. O ur stitches speak for themselves." It sounds like a slogan, but it's true that a digitizer's work speaks to their methods. Though I value the clear direction instruction provides, it's exposure to embroidery that makes us natively proficient. Digitizers should take time to mindfully watch designs in production as to actively observe how the process unfolds. It's critical that digitizers develop an understanding of how choices made in a design's creation determine whether it runs without error as well as how they shape the character of the finished embroidery. To that end, digitizers must build a palette of settings with known results. Instruction, test- ing, and casual observation of other digitizers' work can help, but it's in combining observa- tion with deep design analysis that we learn how to recreate the embroidery we see. While it's easy to read settings in working files with native software, even expanded stitch files hide little when subjected to scrutiny. Between observation and measurement of both files and stitched samples, almost any effect can be replicated. In our first steps as a digitizer, analyzing the work of others rapidly increases our understanding of how designs are constructed. As we replicate other digitizer's settings in our own work, we build foundation on their known results that enables us to refine and develop our own style of execution. " Top left: In this detail, the satin stitch letters overlap the satin shadow elements below them. We can tell immediately that the shadows were digitized as discrete elements and are not copies of the overlying lettering. (All images courtesy the author) Bottom left: Viewing this, we can see the anatomy of the heart was rendered in multiple sections, meaning that the digitizer decided to break up the red area to add texture and dimension. We can see conven- tional satin stitches and that on wider elements, a random split was employed. In both cases the underlay consists of an edge run or contour combined with a doubled zigzag. We can also see that the large planes are made of a set of curved fills with different angles. Right: In this detail, the satin stitches that make up the fletching of the arrow stop short of reaching the straight stitch border to account for push compensation. Having seen that the border aligns correctly on the stitched sample, we can measure this gap to determine the amount of push compensation needed to achieve registration.

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