September '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 5 S E P T E M B E R P R I N T W E A R || 63 HAND-CUT While this method is even more labor-in- tensive than in-hoop appliqué, it allows for materials like upholstery vinyl, heavier leathers, and coarse wovens that can't be easily cut to be used for appliqué. In this method, either a template can be used to mark the required cut piece's shape on whole cloth, or a span of the cloth can be hooped by itself on the embroidery ma- chine to receive a 'pattern' run of straight stitches to mark the edge of the piece to be cut. Thereafter, the material is cut manually by whatever method the mate- rial requires, be it roller cutters for simple, larger shapes, or by using hand-held craft knives and precision blades for those that are more complex. Once these pieces are cut, they are treated like pre-cut pieces; placed and adhered inside a placement line on the finished garment, tacked down, and given an edge-covering satin or zig-zag stitch. Though costly in man-hours, this method has the largest dividend in creative expression as the necessary handiwork can account for differences in applied materi- als where almost no other method can. As with all such methods, the primary limita- tion you'll face is selling the finished goods at a price that justifies your time. PLOTTER-CUTTER If you have a cutter for heat-printing ma- terials or signage vinyl, you are already equipped to create custom-cut appliqués. Multiple vendors offer rolls of standard twill with pressure-sensitive adhesives mounted on carrier materials much like those you've seen with heat-press printing materials. With an aggressive 60 degree blade and the proper settings, a standard cutter can cut these specialty twills from a standard vector file, and allow you to pre- cisely match the measurements and shape of the placement stitch run in the appli- qué design. The edge is admittedly not as clean as professional pre-cut materials or those cut with lasers, but for a piece that will have a covered edge and will be heat pressed in place, the quality is more than sufficient. Moreover, with the use of carrier materials that can be applied to your own fabrics, the plotter-cutter method can be expanded beyond those standard offerings. The only caveat is that all materials are not equally well-suited to the cutter. Stretchy, overly thick, or otherwise difficult to cut materials may distort shapes or flatly refuse to be cut by a conventional plotter cutter. As in all methods, a little judicious experi- mentation is always a good start. All of these simple methods of creat- ing appliqué aren't by any means the only methods, or even the best, for every appli- cation. That said, they will allow you to discover the benefits of applied materials in your decoration. Even if you never produce more than a few select pieces of appliqué, the ability to save stitches and create rich and varied surfaces with applied materials is well worth the work, even if some of it must be done entirely by hand. The contrast between this coarse woven material and the heavy knit sweat- shirt on which it's applied makes for a captivating look on this full-front hand-cut appliqué. (Image courtesy RJ Silva/Eyekandy Designs)

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