March '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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THREAD... ACCORDING TO ED 6 2 | PRINTWEAR M A RC H 20 1 5 RESIZING THE DESIGN Resizing the design sounds like the most logical approach. A smaller design equals fewer stitches—brilliant. However, before patting yourself on the back, analyze every design to ensure that size reduction is possible. You should carefully do the following. 1. Verify that all elements of the design will sew properly at a smaller size. This is especially important for fine detail. For example, if a design has a thin border stitch that is near minimum stitch widths, you must be certain that reducing the design's size won't cause those stitches to be too narrow to stitch properly. 2. Ensure that a smaller size is still suitable for the application. A perfect example is a jacket back where reducing a design may not fill the area and create a visual imbalance. 3. Most importantly, use embroidery software that's capable of reducing a design as well as stitch properties. If you reduce a 50,000-stitch design by 20 percent and end up with the same number of stitches, it will likely result in sewing and quality problems with no stitch-count savings. An alternative to reducing an entire design is to diminish certain elements. This is a great technique with the right design because noticing any design changes is often difficult. When reducing elements in a design, look for any areas that need adjustments to compensate for the smaller size. See Figures 4A and 4B, for example. Figure 4A is the original design and 4B shows the main part of the design resized. Although there's a significant difference in stitch count between the two images, there's little variance between the two versions. INCREASING STITCH LENGTHS Increasing stitch lengths is one of the most effective methods of reducing stitch counts without altering the overall look of a design. Simply put, the length of a stitch determines how often the needle is inserted into the fabric. If the needle is inserted fewer times into the fabric, there are fewer stitches in the design. A stitch length of 3 mm inserts a stitch into the material every 3 mm; a stitch length of 5 mm inserts a stitch into the material every 5 mm. So if a longer stitch count has such a dramatic effect, the longest possible stitch length should be used on everything, right? Wrong—no two designs or materials are alike, and care should be taken when sewing on each. Stitching on top of stitching also makes a difference. For a design with letter- ing on the fill, a longer stitch length has more chance to split when the lettering is stitched on top. Try creating an object and duplicate it several times, each with different stitch parameters, and then sew the objects on a variety of materials. This helps identify how various settings react to different materials. CHANGE THE STITCH Changing stitch types is also effective in controlling stitch counts because the type used for a particular shape greatly influ- ences the final count. Naturally, choosing the appropriate stitch type for a shape is important. For example, a fill segment measuring 10 mm X 50 mm has a stitch count of 750 stitches. Changing this to a satin stitch reduces the stitch count to 250 stitches, which saves two-thirds of the stitching. Great caution should be ex- ercised when switching a fill to a satin to ensure that the satin doesn't run too wide. Another option is to choose a run-style stitch, such as a bean instead of a satin for a border. While this reduces stitch count, it also changes the look of the design. In some cases, reducing a design requires switching stitch types as a satin border and steil have a minimum stitch width of about 1 mm. (See figures 5A and 5B) Stitch-type selection is especially useful with fonts. As a letter is made larger, the column thickness increases, which neces- sitates changing the satin to a fill once the column exceeds 7 mm to 11 mm. Using a font with a thinner column width allows you to reach larger sizes without switch- ing to fill, thus, keeping the stitch count lower. These various methods are tools and techniques that are available to all deco- rators. The greatest challenge is taking the time to go through a design and look for ways to save on stitches without negatively impacting design quality. | | | | pw Figures 5A (left) and 5B (right): Choosing a run-style stitch, such as a bean instead of a satin for a border, will reduce stitch count while also changing the look of the design. In some cases, reducing a design will mandate the need to switch stitch types as a satin border and steil has roughly a minimum stitch width of about 1 mm. Your

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