February '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 F E B R U A R Y G R A P H I C S P R O 1 7 stitched on a span of material without a finished edge, often with several badges in a single span of material, cut from the span either manually or with a laser and stitched on the soluble material just for the edging process in a second embroidery run. Plastic Substrate: The plastic substrate method requires either a commercially developed plastic frame system or hooped 20-gauge clear vinyl. In either case, a hooped plastic substrate is used, on which stitchers either place a pre-cut fabric base as in the previ- ous method or render the "base" of the patch's coverage entirely in thread. Thread-only patches require digitizers to create a particular type of underlay and fill that provides sufficient body to make up the base of the emblem. After emblems are stitched on plastic substrates, they simply rip away from the span, often requiring little finishing. Due to the substrate being clear, even the small amount of mate- rial that can show is usually unobtrusive. That said, this method has the most tendency for the emblem to separate or tear away from the hooped substrate before the design is complete, resulting in complete failure of the emblem. MINDING YOUR MATERIALS Soluble Stabilizer: For this method I prefer a fibrous-type water- soluble stabilizer as it is more able to stand up to the stresses of stitching than film-type soluble stabilizers and some plastics. Fabric: Though you can use almost any sufficiently stable fab- ric for patch-making, the classic choice is a polyester twill. Many early patch-makers think that the stiffness of commercially pro- duced emblems requires thick, hard fabrics, thus they use heavy, coarsely woven fabrics. This results in distorted fine detail and poor satin stitch edge quality due to needle deflection and texture. the design material and edge are embroidered, leaving a miniscule margin between the patch material and the finished edge. After embroidery, the stabilizer is dissolved, leaving a clean-edged patch that approximates the wrap of overlocking. This method re- quires additional work in digitizing to account for the placement and tacking of cut materials, special stabilizers, and exposure to ei- ther water or heat to dissolve said stabilizer, making for a less manu- al, but still somewhat involved process. For the pre-cut version of this method, nonedged blank material bases can be created with traditional plotter-cutters and pressure- sensitive sheet or roll mounted twill, or pre-cut with a laser for later placement. For the appliqué method, the central design area can be These patches were created using the appliqué-style method, stitched without edg- ing and manually cut from a span. (Image Courtesy RJ Silva, Eyekandy Designs) text continued on page 19 Both of these patches made for Vietnam veterans were cre- ated from embroidery files I created but stitched by large emblem compa- nies. In both cases, the patches were cut after stitching. In the Run for the Wall patch, the tex- tured background took some explaining and test- ing to get the company on the same page as we were for execution. Though that slowed the order somewhat, for the large number of patches we needed to produce, outsourcing made more sense. (Photo Courtesy Celeste Schwartz)

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