Learning Curve - PDF

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					A Spring Jacket
Black on black is a great way of adding detail, be it ever so subtle, but for something more striking a black background allows the embroiderer to use colours that they normally wouldn’t choose. Bright colours work much better than pastels and variegated threads echo their intensity as well. The layout of embroidery is very personal and one person’s idea of what is good is not always another’s. It is important to ensure that the images or designs chosen sit above the garment so that they look alive. One way of doing this is to embroider over a seam or a panel line where possible, as the garment then takes on a three-dimensional appearance and doesn’t look like the embroidery was already on the fabric when purchased. There is nothing worse than going to all the trouble (not to mention time and effort) to get a result that looks flat. There are many methods of setting up embroidery into an embroidery hoop for the machine to stitch out. All brands of embroidery machines have one thing in common; they all have to use a hoop to do this. Bigger hoops seem to be the request from everyone who does this sort of work, but bigger is not always better when it comes to adding design to a garment. If the panels, darts or seam lines are already stitched to get a 3-D effect, then the shaping of the garment is not going to allow the fabric to sit flat in a hoop in readiness for the embroidery application. There are ways around this and by choosing an average size hoop 240mm x 150mm (9 ½in x 6in) it is all possible. There will definitely be more re-hooping but it is very easy once you know how. Before you start you will need the following selection of products – Neschen or Film-O-Plast, a sticky-backed interfacing or stabiliser that will be the only product that is in the hoop. The black tear-away stabiliser will be added for extra support underneath the hoop once it’s in the machine. Cut both of these products 3cm (1 ½ in) larger than the chosen hoop and a printed template of every pattern or design that will be stitched out. See photo 1.

Learning Curve

By Martyn Smith

Adding some detail to a jacket, especially a black jacket, removes the wearer from the ‘sea of black’ that we encounter at social events. Martyn has always been an advocate of ‘standing out’ with detail that shows a garment has been personalised and created for the individual, rather than looking as if it’s ‘off the rack’ like everyone else’s. Sometimes the selection of fabric can do this, but with today’s lack of choice and quality, adding embroidery will ensure the garment has been raised to the next level.

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Learning Curve
The Film-O-Plast is not all that strong and it’s being used purely for the ability to adhere the garment in position without the need for it to be put in the hoop. This product is predominantly used as a backing for knit fabrics to prevent them from being fluid when being embroidered. Without this sort of backing outline stitches (or running stitches as they are also called) that give designs more definition and a ‘lifelike’ quality will not be in the right place due to distortion. This is very annoying as the outlining usually takes place at the very end of an embroidery stitch-out. The one drawback with using a sticky stabiliser is that the resin that sticks everything together has a tendency to ‘gum up’ the needle and cause the upper thread to break. This can be avoided by cleaning the needle frequently with a micro-fibre cloth (similar to the ones that we clean our glasses/spectacles with). There are other similar sticky products on the market; some can be ironed on temporarily (although this would cause a problem if it required being in the hoop already) and some stitchers in the USA use a temporary fabric-basting spray and have great results. Use whatever gives you consistent results and success. Place the Film-O-Plast in the hoop with the paper backing still in place and facing up in the hoop. With a blunt pin (or a tailors awl or upholstery pin as shown in the photo) score around the inner hoop, being careful to only score the paper and not the under layer of stabiliser. Carefully peel the paper back and remove it so the entire hoop surface is exposed with the sticky stabiliser. See photo 2. Mark up the positioning lines on the garment from the printed design template. See photo 3. Generally all designs for embroidery either come with a pre-prepared template or the template can be printed from the embroidery software. It is important that these horizontal and vertical lines (cross hatch marks) are marked accurately as they hold the key to successful embroidery placement. A lot of machines have functions like ‘precise positioning’ that allow the user to jog the needle into position to align a design, but this can be done quite adequately and with accuracy when marking from the template. Lay the garment onto the hoop, making sure the cross hatch marks match precisely. Every embroidery hoop has vertical and horizontal markings on the inner hoop. Draw a line on the sticky stabiliser to show these marks, if necessary. This is where a shaped garment can be smoothed out to the edges of the hoop and the sticky backing allows this to happen. It is sometimes necessary to do this a couple of times to make it all flat. Any pleats or bubbles will be caught by the embroidery and will be there permanently. Place the hoop into the machine and then slide the tear-away backing underneath the hoop. See photo 4. Before starting the embroidery, baste all layers into the hoop. Some machines have a basting or ‘fix’ function built in and will outline the design with long stitches that are easy to remove and also give a very good indication on where the actual stitch-out is going to happen. Other machines have a basting file that can be loaded and stitched out according to the size of the hoop. See photo 5. Basting the cloth onto the stabiliser in a hoop seems to be better than mounting both stabiliser and fabric together. There seems to be a lot less pucker in dense designs and less ‘shift’ in large embroidery patterns. Having the fabric and backing as ‘tight as a drum’ in the hoop is a 20
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Learning Curve
great myth as it causes no end of problems and it can be quite hard on the hands getting these layers in the hoop. Bruising of fabric is another issue as the hoop does tend to leave its mark on some fabrics (especially black, as we all know what an iron can do to black fabric, it’s the same with an embroidery hoop). There are ways around this but this method of basting seems to be much easier. Position the garment for the second embroidery that is going to lie on top of the first stitch-out. See photo 6. All positioning marks can be done at once but it always pays to check before re-hooping. Placing shaped garments in a hoop can be a little frustrating at times and there will always be the need to let one of the alignment lines go slightly astray to allow the fabric to sit flat. If there is a focus point of the overall design then let this dictate what alignment line you can afford to let stray. This is called ‘creative licence’! The designs that have been used in this article are from the Husqvarna Viking Embroidery Collection #25.





#25 – Jubilee By Martha Pullen, Camilla Remme, Lill Nylén, Kerstin Widell, Wendy Griffiths is available from your local authorised Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff dealer. Distributed in Australia by VSM Australia Pty. Ltd. Phone: (02) 4337 3737 Fax: (02) 4322 7231 Website:

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