Start Here November '21

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Page 31 of 102 27 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 1 hot knife. This melts the poly- ester at the edge of the patch, as the person cutting 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-con- suming and potentially error-prone manual process. Soluble Stabilizer: The soluble stabilizer method creates a clean edge with no excess mate- rial 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 mate- rial to allow precise placement either of pre-cut pieces or a span for the hand-cut applique version of the method. After this material is tacked down, 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 requires additional work in digitizing to account for the placement and tacking of cut materials, special stabilizers, and exposure to either water or heat to dissolve said stabilizer, making for a less manual, 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 applique method, the central design area can be 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 This commercially stitched patch was made from an embroidery file I provided the patch company. This piece uses an embroidered edge and was cut post- edging. (Image courtesy Erich Campbell) Though you can use almost any sufficiently stable fabric for patch-making, the classic choice is a polyester twill. (Image courtesy Erich Campbell)

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