March '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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THREAD... ACCORDING TO ED BY ED LEVY | | | | Ed Levy is director of software products at Hirsch International and owner of Digitize4u, an embroidery and digitizing operation. A 23-year industry veteran, Levy has owned screen printing, embroidery, and dig- itizing businesses. In 2001, Levy began consulting and founded EmbFo- rum, a professional Tajima DG/ML by Pulse software users group. E mbroidery provides a beautiful form of em- bellishment to any apparel item. The colors are vibrant, the texture creates depth and di- mension, and the look has a higher perceived value than other types of embellishment. While embroidery has so many distinct advantages, there are two main drawbacks: time and money. Embroidery is not a fast process, making it more expensive to produce. There's no turbo button on an embroidery machine to speed up the process. While embroidery machines are capable of varying speeds, they have limits. Because embroidery is based on stitches, a design's elements play an important role in determining the final stitch count and production time. And unlike other embellishment types, such as direct-to-garment or screen printing that have the luxury of producing items of varying detail without the concern of time, embroidery must be well planned out in advance. DO THE MATH Simple math can estimate the time it takes to create a piece of embroidery: number of stitches/machine speed = production time. For example, a 10,000-stitch design run- Smarter Stitching Reduce stitch count to save production Figure 1: Appliqué can easily reduce stitches as much as 80 percent while also reducing labor and machine time. (All images courtesy the author) 6 0 | PRINTWEAR M A RC H 20 1 5

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