March '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 68 of 118

U biquitously found in almost every home, terrycloth is a most useful fabric, if some- what vexing to embroider- ers. In its most usual forms of bath towels, robes, washcloths, and the like—or the somewhat rarer French ter- rycloth used in sweaters and some sports- wear—it's almost certain you've touched the soft, absorbent, warmth of terrycloth, although you may have been avoiding em- broidering it. All of the luxury and utility of terrycloth makes it difficult to decorate. Terrycloth is woven in such a way that it creates pile of elongated loops. In standard toweling, the pile is often on both sides of the fabric while the loops of French terrycloth gener- ally protrude only from one side. No mat- ter what type of terrycloth you stitch, your chief concern is how to handle that thick, unruly forest of loops. Luckily, with a set of texture-tackling techniques and stylistic choices, you can make terrycloth an asset to your business and learn to love those loops. STITCHING ON TERRYCLOTH Not all terrycloth accessories are alike. Even if we take the most familiar terrycloth, you'll find a wide range of pile lengths, tex- tures, and woven patterns. When decorat- ing towels, you may find that the specific piece has a flat, woven band that takes more easily to embroidery than the loopy surface ever could. When possible, there's nothing wrong with constraining decoration to such a well-suited area. Even so, your most likely scenario re- quires stitching directly into the pile of the terrycloth. The difficulties you'll face with that loopy surface are evident. If you make no adjustments to a standard design, loose loops will push through your embroidery, the pile will swallow and fall back over edges or thinner elements of the design, and your satin stitch columns will become thin with ragged edges. Given these outcomes, there are two directions to take: You can fight the pile with embroidery to create a better sur- face for stitching, or work with the pile to create decorations that use the terrycloth's texture and thickness. FIGHTING LOOPS Fighting the loops is probably the simplest method when using existing, standard em- broidery designs. Some embroiderers look to toppings to hold down the pile. Though toppings such as the ever-present water-sol- uble film help keep the loops from poking through the top stitching, the standard sol- uble toppings dissolve after the first custom- er wash. If the embroidery wasn't created to stop it, the loops can still work their way through the design for a shoddy look. Still, other embroiderers use this as an ex- cuse to employ everything from wax paper to cling film and plastic grocery bags as a topping. While it's possible that these may Tackling Terrycloth Tips for embroidering on terrycloth B Y E R I C H C A M P B E L L Erich Campbell is an award-winning commercial embroidery digitizer of 13 years and long-time e-commerce manager, currently digitizing and creating online properties for Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Black Duck. A current industry blogger and once medievalist-in-training turned tech-obsessed embroidery designer, Campbell brings his varied experience and interests to bear on numerous industry publications and projects. Reach him at 6 4 | PRINTWEAR M A RC H 20 1 5

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Printwear - March '15