Embroidery Decoration Guide

Posted August 7, 2012

Embroidery Decoration Guide


What is Embroidery?

Embroidery is the process of creating and producing ornamental needlework consisting of designs worked on fabric with high-luster threads either by hand or machine. For many forms of apparel, machine embroidery is the preferred form of imprinting as it gives these items an elegant look that enhances their perceived value.

When to Use Embroidery

As mentioned, the elegance of embroidery will enhance the perceived value of the garment, making the decoration method ideal for several situations, such as:

  • Corporate and Executive Uniforming: The high quality of embroidery will ensure that your corporate uniforms look pristine for years.
  • Headwear Decoration: Hats are generally decorated via embroidery because of its durability.
  • Employee Gifts: If you are looking to reward your top performers, an embroidered golf shirt or pullover is sure to inspire the rest of your employees to work harder.
  • Customer Appreciation: Show your customers your gratitude with embroidered apparel. They will recognize the quality and show their appreciation with their continued patronage of your company.
  • Decorating Ribbed or Pique Fabrics: Textured fabrics, such as pique polo shirts, do not take screen-printed imprints particularly well, so you should opt for embroidery when ordering apparel made out of these fabrics.

Costs Associated with Embroidery

Embroidery is priced by the number of stitches required to complete the decoration, normally in increments of 1,000. All prices on InkHead for embroidered goods include up to 8,000 stitches for decoration. We find that this satisfies the decoration needs of the majority of our customers. If we determine your logo requires more stitches than that, we will let you know and work with our decorators to quote you the most competitive price possible.

Because pricing is determined by stitch count, intricate designs or large logos are discouraged. Moreover, you may find that embroidery for extremely large orders is cost-prohibitive, but we will work with our decorators to give you as low a price as we can.

Additionally, embroidery shops charge a one-time fee for digitizing your artwork. Digitization is the process by which your artwork is uploaded to the embroidery machine and converted into a suitable format for sewing onto garments. Note that plain text does not generally incur a digitizing fee since it can be generated easily by typing at the machine keyboard. Because the digital file can be easily stored, digitization is is generally a one-time fee. As long as the logo or the dimensions of the imprint haven’t changed, you will not be charged another digitization fee whenever you order a reprint.

Unlike screen-printing, there is no cost for additional colors in your logo. In screen-printing, multiple colors require multiple screens and multiple runs through the printer; multiple colors in embroidery is just a matter of multiple threads. When a garment is embroidered, all threads are sewn into the fabric at once, so multiple runs through the machine are not necessary (assuming you are only imprinting in one area, of course).

The Benefits of Embroidery

Every imprint method has advantages and disadvantages. Embroidery offers several benefits, such as:

  • Quality: Although there have been considerable advancements in screen-printing, embroidery is still widely considered to be the most beautiful form of apparel decoration.
  • Durability: When screen-prints and heat transfers may eventually wear off the garment, embroidery will last much longer.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: While embroidery can be too expensive for large runs, it can be the preferred option for smaller orders. The one-time digitization fee also makes embroidery an appealing option for businesses that plan on placing repeat orders regularly.
  • Versatility: Embroidery works on fabrics of any color and almost any material. Only extremely stiff fabrics cannot be embroidered because they cannot be run through the embroidery machine.

Situations to Avoid with Embroidery

While embroidery offers several notable benefits, there a few situations where it is not advisable to use it, including:

  • Very Small Lettering: Characters smaller than a quarter-inch tall are difficult to sew correctly.
  • Large Logos: Obviously large is a relative term, but the larger the logo, the more stitches required to complete the logo.
  • Extremely Detailed Logos: As with large logos, the finer the detail, the higher the stitch count.
  • Stiff Fabrics: Some fabrics may be so thick that they cannot be sewn through using the computerized embroidery machine.
  • Layered Items: In the case of shirt pockets, for instance, you run the risk of sewing the pocket shut.

Things to Remember with Embroidery

If you decide to use embroidery to decorate your apparel, there a few things you should bear in mind:

  • Stitch Count: All prices on InkHead include embroidery up to 8,000 stitches. We will let you know if you need more. More stitches equate to higher prices.
  • Logo Size and Detail: Embroidery can be expensive if you have a large or extremely detailed logo.
  • Sew Outs: A sew out is where the decorator will create a sample showing how your logo will appear when sewn onto your apparel. While these are generally virtual sew outs, our decorators can produce a actual sew out if you so desire.
  • Order Size: The larger the order, the more expensive it will be to fulfill.
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