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Embroidering Specialty Materials: Performance Wear

23rd June 2010

Embroidering Specialty Materials: Performance Wear

Because our parent company does embroidery and has for a number of years,  we often get questions about how to embroider a certain material.  Over the years,  we’ve probably embroidered almost every material you can imagine,  and we like to share our knowledge.  That’s why we’re starting a new series,   “Embroidering Specialty Materials” on this blog.  Today marks the first installment in this series,  during which we will discuss embroidering performance wear.

As some of you may already know,  EnMart has added Vapor Apparel to our product offerings.   I’m sure many people think of these garments as perfect for sublimation,  and they are,  but they also can be used to create some awesome embroidered performance wear.

Some embroiderers avoid creating embroidered performance wear because the fabric is a little trickier to handle.  Like any specialty fabric,  it requires some trial and error and a bit of know how to successful embroider a garment made from a performance fabric.   Today I wanted to share a few tips that can help you create the best embroidered performance wear possible.

Tip 1:  More stabilization is better than less. Stretchy fabrics,  a description that characterizes a lot of the performance fabrics,  require more stabilization.   Using multiple layers of a thin, sheer  cutaway will help stabilize the garment without adding a ton of bulk.

Tip 2:  Combat fabric movement with adhesive – Performance fabrics may be either slippery or stretchy,  so they’re more likely to move when being embroidered.  To combat this problem,  use an adhesive stabilizer or an adhesive spray.  This will hold the fabric in place and minimize slippage and stretching.

Tip 3:  Sew from the center out – Sewing toward an area that has already been embroidered may cause the fabric to bunch or wrinkle.  Designs for performance materials should be created to be sewed from the center out.  This method will push any wrinkles away from the design.

Tip 4:  Smooth is good – When you hoop your performance wear,  make sure the fabric is smooth and taut.  The fabric needs to be hooped tightly enough to prevent movement,  but not so tight that it distorts the fabric.

Tip 5:   Plan to experiment – Every machine sews differently, and every fabric reacts a bit differently so make sure you build in extra time when sewing performance materials.   Plan to sew out a shirt or two before you start running the actual job.  This will help ensure your settings and tensions are correct and let you get a feel for how the fabric sews before you begin the actual garments you will sell.

posted in Machine Embroidery Tips | 3 Comments

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