What is embroidery digitizing ?
Digitizing is the process of converting a graphic or text into an embroidery program (.dst file) which will run on a industrial sewing machine. Most decorators charge a set fee per thousand stitches for creating a custom embroidery logo. For example, if your design is estimated to be 8,000 stitches, you would be charged anywhere from $80 to $160 depending on their cost per thousand. Off The Wall is in the business of making things far less complicated, digitizing up to 10,000 stitches is FREE for any custom order over 48 pieces and only $10 per thousand stitches over 10,000 or if your order is under 48. There is no minimum order size for embroidery and we do offer "multiple pricing"
The type of fabric your design is sewing on makes a huge impact on both how we digitize your logo and how that logo will end up looking on the garment. This is why it is critically important when you are getting a quote or placing an order to list the fabric content of the item(s) we will be sewing on.
The stronger the fabric, the better the sewing looks. For example, caps, twill, canvas, poly denier nylon (like bags and duffels), most outerwear materials and other very sturdy fabrics sew extremely well. Small lettering looks fantastic and logos don't need as many underlay fill stitches to maintain the integrity of the design. On the flip side, very soft or flimsy fabrics, like rayon, silk, soft pima cotton, dry fit fabrics and other very delicate garments, require a very different digitizing approach and more underlay stitches to stabilize the design. High pile fabrics like fleece, sweatshirts, hoodies, polar fleece, terry cloth (beach and bath towels) and other thick fabrics hide the small detail of a custom embroidery design and therefore have to be modified to work well on those substrates. In summary, let us worry about all of this - just make sure we know what material we will be sewing on and we will make sure your design sews perfectly everytime!
Embroidery backings and toppings:
Most people own an embroidered garment and have seen the white stiff material that is on the inside of the shirt behind the embroidered design, this is called "backing". What most people don't know is that it is one of the most important tools we use to insure the custom embroidery looks great and stays on the shirt without falling apart after a few washings. There are hundreds of backing materials and weights which we use to stabile thinner fabrics and create a strong foundation to sew on. Along with the recent trend of utilizing extremely delicate fabrics and dry release materials, we have also started using new woven fabric backings made of what feels like supper strong silk. These pricey yet effective innovations in backing have helped us prevent the see-through issue some thin garments have with traditional stiff white backing. If you're interested in learning more, you may contact your sales rep for details.
Embroidery topping is far less known outside of the decoration industry but it is a very common tool used on top of the fabric to make designs sew even better. When embroidering sweatshirts, fleece blankets, towels and other high pile or deep waffle pique materials we use this plastic inner layer between the surface of the garment and the thread to smooth out an uneven surface and improve overall quality. Typically there is an up-charge for this service as it is very labor intensive to remove the topping once the sewing is done. However, the decision is ultimately yours; we will contact you if we feel your design would benefit from this service and you can make the decision.
Basic types of embroidery stitches:
The satin stitch is the most recognizable sewing technique to most people. This is the type of stitch used in the majority of lettering and design outlines. Only when a line weight is too thin or a fill area too big do we need to employ a different stitch type. Satin stitching create a beautiful raised, rounded and finished edge to the embroidery and is the corner stone of monograming and lettering.
The walking stitch or running stitch is also very common but typically used to accent very small details, too small to accomplish with a satin stitch. Many people think the walk or run stitch looks more like hand embroidery because of the "dotted or dashed" style of this line. Outlines around fine detail and other fine art designs employ the walk / run stitch to to create effects satin stitches are too rounded and wide for.
The fill stitch is the workhorse in custom embroidery designs. Fill stitches are used just as the name implies to "fill in" large areas of color that are too wide or not suited best for satin stitches. Digitizing artists also use fill stitches to create "underlay" foundations to layer multi-colored or more complicated designs. This stitching accounts for the most number of stitches in a design so if your trying to estimate stitch count for a logo knowing how much fill stitch area is required is the most important thing to consider.
Threads, Thread Charts and Specialty Threads:
There are 2 basic types of thread used for most embroidered logos, rayon and polyester. Rayon is shinny and smooth with a soft supple finish, polyester is not as shinny and leaves a stiffer hand to the design on the garment. For these reasons rayon is the most popular choice for corporate apparel, golf apparel and other retail-inspired items. Polyester is more frequently used when durability and color fastness are the major concerns. Industrial uniforms that have to be bleached or are laundered in industrial laundries are great candidates for polyester thread.
Choosing the right thread colors can be tricky, but you can leave it to the experts and we will make the best match to a PMS color you provide or you may choose from the hundreds of thread colors yourself.
Metallic thread is the most common type of specialty thread used at Off the Wall. It comes in many colors, including new glitter and gun metal shades, and is a great way to differentiate you company logo. That said, it is not the only specialty thread we use to create interesting effects. Rainbow colored thread, color changing thread (photo-reactive) and neon thread are just some of the less common products we are able to use.
Applique, Tackle Twill, Chenille Embroidery and Patches:
Applique is the process of attaching different fabrics together using custom embroidery. Applique (aka tackle twill) is very popular on sweatshirts in college book stores and on large designs on lettermen jackets. This is a fast-growing trend in the custom embroidery industry because it offers something different and new to a client who has more logo shirts than they know what to do with it also works well with sports team wear.
Monogramming and Embroidering small text:
Monogramming is where the entire custom embroidery industry got it's start. People have always viewed a personalized garment or item to have a much higher value than something generic. The art of monogramming evolved into simple designs that were "punched" on large paper grids which traced the designs and by hand digitizers placed every stitch. As computers and software evolved, so did digitizing and embroidery. Now the terms "tape or punched" are just reminders of how far we have come. Off The Wall offers monogramming services for a flat fee per piece; you provide us the list of initials or names, pick the style of the monogram and get ready to be impressed. Corporations all over the world have realized that an embroidered polo shirt is nice, but a personalized polo with the company logo on the sleeve is viewed as a far more valuable gift and is worn far more frequently.
Mixed Media Screen Printing and Embroidery:
Mixed media designs are truly the most unique and artful specialty decoration produced at Off The Wall. Typically, using a screen printed background image that is too complicated or too large to accomplish with stitching and an embroidery element in the foreground resulting in a mixed media effect that is unlike anything else we offer. The secret to creating a fantastic mixed media design is to engineer the art from the beginning of the process to achieve the greatest impact. Our graphic designers have years of experience in the apparel decoration industry and have a passion for helping people realize the full potential of their ideas