The craft of creating stitches with the help of a stitching needle and colorful threads is known as needlework or needlecraft. Embroidery is a type of needlecraft that is used to create stitched decorations on a variety of fabrics including satin, tissue, leather, paper, etc. Its smallest component is a stitch. A single type of stitch or more than one type of stitches can be used to make a pattern. A pattern is recreated by following a counting chart, or ironed on the fabric, or even by drawing freehand. The more elaborate it is, more the number of stitches. Recording of stitches and patterns using samplers was first done in the 17th century.
Though the handcraft was practiced much before, the term embroidery came into usage, for the first time, in the medieval era. All the designs were painstakingly created by artisans and craftsmen who made sure that each piece was an example of perfection. Over the years, countries developed their styles and these styles were exported. For example, blackwork (needlepoint using backstitch or outline stitch and double stitch) was first brought to England by Catherine of Aragon, the Spanish wife of Henry VIII. Gradually, the list of this monochromatic style expanded to include whitework, bluework, scarlet work, and goldwork. Nowadays, metal and other colors are added to lend depth to a single pattern.
In the 19th century, new designs came to the picture. Transition from folk to custom embroidery was seen. With the fabrication of the embroidery machine, mass production of embroideries gained momentum. Berlin work added new vigor to the business. Biblical or historical themes, pictures of flowers, and even exotic Oriental paintings were now sought after. As the illustrations were painted or printed in Berlin and bought by needlework artisans all over Europe and United States, the style came to be known as Berlin work.
Custom Embroidery Patterns
Nowadays, not all designs are high-end, handmade ornate patterns, employed by fashion designers to decorate garments. Monograms and motif designs are the popular ones. Embroidery can create different effects. For instance, some appear flat, some resemble reliefs, some produce simple lines, while some have fancy stitches. Mostly, a pattern is known by the stitch it uses. The stitch could be a chain stitch or smock stitch (smocking).
Custom styles are made as per the customer’s requirements. It can be either handmade or machine-made. Jewelry, footwear, linen, curtains, patches, emblems, and sequined apparel can be personalized to your choice of style and colors. The latter can be all over embroidery designs, laser cut, or 3D.
Non-decorative or functional styles have made way for a wide range of objects that are imaginatively sown onto different apparels. You can choose any style as per your preference of colors, fonts, and even stitches. Logos and clip arts use tackle twill. This type of work is a mixture of letters, numbers, or patterns taken from a portion of fabric sewn with a zigzag, double running, or satin stitch. The fonts are used to embroider text. Logo is generally done on left side or on the front section of the apparels. Appliqué is another form which is used for sports team apparel that has name and number of players, along with logos. This work has less stitch count.
Many apparel manufacturers offer services, right from logo creation to logo stitching, on a wide range of garments like caps, hats, polo shirts, t-shirts, shirts, etc. Other products include one-color and multi-color photo stitch. Personalized gifts like golf and sports towels, pet dog accessories, aprons, bandanas, tablecloth, gift ribbons, etc., are also on the catalogs of most commercial services. Along with a mind-boggling catalog, competitive pricing has made it a worthwhile option not only for the manufacturer, but also for the consumer.
The Use of Software for Custom Embroidery Designs
Even the most intricate and exquisite designs can be mass-produced with the help of digital machines and software. The development of smaller and cheaper versions of digital machines has been instrumental in creating new avenues of home business.
The Internet has widened the growth prospects in both the local and the overseas markets. A rise in the demand for these products, as well as quality workmanship has transformed the apparel industry into a dynamic hub.
The use of advanced techniques like automatic digitizing, multiple sequencing, three-dimensional effects, etc., along with digitizing software ensure fine finishes, thereby making the products a highly salable proposition.
You can select a drawing or clip art to digitize into a format that your machine can understand and convert into stitches. In order for your machine to be able to do that, it is essential that you use high quality prints. For example, you could use a vector file or a .jpeg. You can even buy a program that can either read more than one formats or convert from one format to another. Most machines come with preset images and shapes and software that help transform these images to create new patterns.
Many websites offer free downloads, so getting hold of good art is not a difficult task. You can even buy one. Either way, once you scan it, or even personalize it to your needs. The only thing at this point, is to be sure that it is in the right format. The editing software will convert it into a series of stitches. With the help of a data cable, you can transfer the image from a computer to the machine. Stabilize the fabric with iron-on tearaway or cutaway backing. Thread the machine and start it. You will be able to thread all the colors at one time or you will need to thread each color one by one, depending on the type of machine you’re using. This will also determine how much time you take to complete one design; it could take anything from a few minutes to a few hours.
With a little understanding of computers and machine embroidery, and a bit of creativity, you can astonish people with your creativity.