GRAPHICS PRO

February '21

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1 6 G R A P H I C S P R O F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M visible bobbin thread rather than the full color "wrap" of the traditional overlock edge, and they require either precise cutting or the use of specialty stabilizers to achieve their custom shapes. EMBROIDERED-EDGE PATCH MAKING METHODS Heat Cutting: With small-run heat-cut patches, the patch and edg- ing run are stitched directly through a hooped span of polyester patch material. Once the design is completed, the full material sheet is unhooped, placed on a sheet of glass, and manually cut with a tool reminiscent of a woodburning pen, often referred to as a hot knife. This melts the polyester at the edge of the patch, as the person cut- ting carefully runs the point along the outer embroidered border. After it is cut, the patch is often rubbed against the hot barrel of the knife tool to smooth the edge and hide any stabilizer or material still extending beyond the edge of the patch. This method doesn't require special stabilizers, and the digitizing is less specialized than other methods. It does require a fairly time-consuming and poten- tially error-prone manual process. Soluble Stabilizer: The soluble stabilizer method creates a clean edge with no excess material and is somewhat less difficult to achieve. In this method, we hoop a layer of water or heat-soluble stabilizer, run a placement line for the patch material to allow pre- cise placement either of pre-cut pieces or a span for the hand-cut appliqué version of the method. After this material is tacked down, T hough many decorators elect to leave larger scale patch and emblem production to com- panies that specialize in the field, more and more are looking to bring small run sampling and patch production in-house. Though you can invest in specialty equipment to create the traditional overlock-stitched edge that we've seen in classic patches, you can start creating small-run patches with little more than your embroidery ma- chine and the addition of some specialty support materials, scal- ing up to equipment that increases throughput or automates processes as you produce more patches. In this article, I cover some simple methods for making patches and a couple of the simplest methods with a brief, step-by-step guide on page 18. EMBROIDERED-EDGE PATCHES We'll refer to any patches we edge without the use of the traditional Merrow overstock machine as embroidered-edge patches. These can be either made with a base fabric or use thread and a special non- fabric substrate to create the body of the patch, but all are edged in- hoop. These patches require relatively little manual labor depending on the method used to create them, and can be made in virtually any shape, bucking the limitations of sharp points, thin structures, or through-holes that traditional overlock patches can't address. Their weaknesses are that embroidery's "interlock" stitch leaves A P P A R E L D E C O R A T I N G Methods for Making HOW TO CREATE EMBROIDERED-EDGE PATCHES B Y E R I C H C A M P B E L L Extremely detailed custom shapes like the one seen here are difficult or even im- possible to edge with a standard Merrow machine; for these shapes, an embroi- dered edge, whether commercially exe- cuted or done in-shop, is the best option. (Image courtesy Erich Campbell) visible bobbin thread rather than the full color "wrap" of the traditional overlock edge, and they require either precise cutting or the use of specialty stabilizers to achieve their custom shapes. more are looking to bring small run sampling and patch production in-house. Though you can invest in B Y E R I C H C A M P B E L L

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