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We spend a ton of time mastering digitizing skills – developing good habits, learning the different stitches and how to optimize final designs, etc. But quite a few people forget that they have to first master embroidery skills. What do I mean by that?
I mean exactly how it sounds- learn all you can about embroidery skills, not just digitizing. When I first started digitizing and working with embroidery more than 15 years ago, I learned the hard way that “you are only as good as your hooping skills” and I never forgot that! You can have the most beautiful hat design that looks great when it is test stitched out on a flat hoop, but if you don’t know how to perfectly hoop a hat with the correct backing if needed, your design will be crooked and possibly not stitch out very well if the stitches are not supported well enough. Also the design in general will look off if you don’t hoop it down to the brim properly – baseball hats with the logos and designs way up near the top of the hat, or even above the middle are a complete wreck in my point of view. I would never buy or sell one of those, thats for sure. And if you look around Pinterest or the internet in general, I guarantee you will find many many designs that were not hooped properly.
So what does it take to be a master of embroidery skills? practice, time, trial and error to name a few. For example, if you can’t hoop something straight on a shirt, the whole shirt will be ruined. So do some research or get some tools that will help you to hoop perfectly straight on any shirt.
Another thing to work on and do some research on is properly stabilizing your material – whatever material you are hooping. Here is a good example: Stitching a design on a bath towel:
Hooping towels: to stitch embroidery properly on bath towels, you need to do a few things – you can’t just hoop and go and expect it to look great – it simply won’t. Depending on the towel (they are all different, but we are talking in general about bath towels) take into consideration how the towel is made – is it thick? thin? does it have a big nap – or small? Generally the more expensive the towel, the thicker and higher quality it will be. You have to make sure that you have the proper stabilizer for the towel. The stabilizer also depends on the design – is the design light and airy? thick with lots of fill stitches? The design has to be right for the towel that you are working on. Depending on the design of course, you will need good quality stabilizer – and if its a small design you can use cut away – I use cut away because I am assuming that the towels will be washed many times and used many times, and so the stitches need to stay in place and look good for years to come. If you don’t use the right stabilizer, you may find that objects go out of registration and the whole design will not look good. So we have the stabilizer in place, now for the second part. There has to be a topper when you are stitching on towels – the topper will prevent the stitches from getting lost in the nap of the towel fabric. If you forget this part, there is a good chance that some of your design will disappear! The topper that i use is a water soluble type topper – its a film type stabilizer that can easily be removed with water! It is also a life saver! Stabilizer on the bottom, topper on the top and you are ready to stitch your towel!
If you hoop your towel properly, use the right backing and add the topper, your design will look great. If you skip any of these steps, you will not have the results that you want!
Knowledge is power, it pays to have information on the product that you are working on. So while you are improving your digitizing skills – remember that your digitizing will not look good on any garment or fabric that isn’t stabilized properly – you are only as good as your hooping skills. Make sure your hooping skills are up to date, with lots of practice and a little bit of research even the smallest design that you digitize will look even better when you stitch it out.
Happy Monday, and Happy Digitizing (and hooping, too)