Monday, March 2, 2009

A Convenient Guide to Creating Bespoke Embroidered Clothing

By Tyler J Anson

Before you send away boxes full of clothing to be embroidered, whether it's for band merchandise or school uniform, you'll be curious as to how mass embroidery is carried out. Most people are under the impression that computer software can carry out the whole process, but they are mistaken.

A design must first be digitised before it can be embroidered by a sewing machine. This means that the design needs to be scanned in and changed into a certain format, involving the use of CAD and CAM technology (Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacture, respectively). Often the digitising process produces images that are 'messed up' or that look very different to the original, because the number of pixels in the scanned image and the number on the computer screen are different. Therefore, before the design can be embroidered onto the fabric a human must oversee the computers to check that they are digitising the images correctly. Even though much of the process uses machinery, it is absolutely essential for this monitoring from humans, or there could be so many poorly digitised designs embroidered onto fabric and sent out to very unhappy customers.

The image transfer to the sewing machine comes after the human checks for any errors in the digitisation process and this is the first stage in getting the design embroidered. The worker will need to manually change any images that did get altered in the digitising process, so that they appear the same on the garment once embroidered as they did when sent in by the customer. The pattern which was put together by the computer is then sent along with the design to the sewing machine. Until almost the very last moment the embroidered design often doesn't look anything like the original image, due to the different layers of colour and the way that the thread must be applied. Often there are a few small details added at the end which tie the whole picture or text together to make it look perfect.

Fabric, colours and designs always vary, which means that occasionally a human will need to intervene in the process to change needles and threadsThis does slow down the embroidery process a little, meaning that most designs take between 24 and 48 hours to complete to the stage that they are ready to be sent back to the customer. Once one image has been digitised it doesn't need to go through the process again because it will have been stored onto the computer and the pattern onto the sewing machine so it can be used again. In fact, processing 100 baseball caps with one logo would take less time than processing 20 each with a different one.

So there we have it, the processes involved in embroidering clothing singularly, in batches or for mass production using computer technology. Since this technology has been developed the processing time for embroidered clothing has more than halved and the industry has begun to boom. - 16651

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