October '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Using the correct backing is a huge key to stabilizing the fabric for best embroidery results. (Image above courtesy Madeira USA; image at right courtesy Henry Bernstein, S.M. Cristall Company, Inc.) If the fabric is at fault, consider using an appliqué or fill stitch foundation. Try using a different underlay, such as an edge walk. Increase the density of the underlay, stitching the underlay the entire length of the letter using manual stitches. Try a medium density, then raise the density and run the underlay again. Better more underlay than ragged edges. Helen Hart Momsen, Hart Enterprises I'm breaking threads! Should I adjust the tensions? Thread breaks happen. Any commercial embroidery machine in production is going to have a thread break on average between 50,000 and 75,000 stitches. The first thing to do when you start getting many thread breaks in a row is troubleshoot the why of it and eliminate any variables that exist in the embroidery process. Did you hit a hoop? Have you changed designs? Changed thread? Did you get a birds' nest? Different garments? Recent needle break? All of these can cause thread breaks with far greater frequency than tensions. Dramatic changes to tensions can actually cause issues as well. Tension changes might start trimming issues, looping of thread, registration problems, etc. If you treat tension as a machine adjustment like needle depth and hook timing, you will end up adjusting it far less, and your machine will run better as a result. If you get two or three thread breaks right in a row, the first thing to do is change the needle. It is a common misconception that the tips of needles wear out quickly. Not true! The eye of the needle is far thinner and can wear more quickly and cause the thread to get caught in a burr… which causes thread breaks. So changing the needle, especially on a long run, can often eliminate the problem. If the problem persists, the next step is to see if it is a problem on one needle or if it moves to multiple needles on the machine. Move that cone of thread on your embroidery machine a few needles away from the break and run the job. If the job continues sewing well you know the issue is on that needle and you can look at issues just on that needle. If the problem persists on multiple needles, change the cone of thread. Bad thread can happen. If the problem still persist, check the bobbin area of the machine. This is the only part of a commercial embroidery machine that all the needles have in common. It could be hook timing, a burr on the hook from a needle break, lint build up from poor or past-due machine cleaning or other issues you will need to work on with your support department. As you can see, if we assumed the issue was with tension and tried to fix it with adjustments, we may not have solved the core problem that caused the thread is breaking in the first place. And you could have covered underlying issues with a tension adjustment just to see the issue pop up on your next color change. Bill Richards, ColDesi 2013 October Printwear PW_OCT13.indd 93 | 93 9/18/13 11:57 AM

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