Start Here November '21

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28 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 1 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 previous 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. These patches were created using the applique-style method, stitched without edging and manually cut from a span. (Image courtesy RJ Silva, Eyekandy Designs) 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 fabric for patch-making, the classic choice is a polyester twill. Many early patch-makers think that the stiffness of commercially produced 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 stiffness of a classic commercial patch is usually the result of support materials like crinoline or the addition of an adhe- sive layer. Commercial patches are usually made of finely woven polyester material that resists fraying somewhat, takes fine detail, and can be cut with a hot knife/laser. Thread: Some patch producers use 60-weight thread for fine detail and tiny text on emblems; with fine, stable woven material "No matter which method of production you choose, small-run patches can be a fantastic answer to decorating the occasional hard-to-hoop or hard-to-stitch item."

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