October '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 5 O C T O B E R P R I N T W E A R || 53 3. Stay away from the wear. When plan- ning your decoration, avoid areas that are likely to be in contact with the ground when a bag is put down or in ar- eas that will rub against the wearer when the bag is worn. Though not common for most decoration, customers who de- sire new and interesting placements may persuade you to decorate these high- wear areas; you may want to reconsider if you know the bag will take a beating. AVOID IT ALL Many of the aforementioned difficulties arise when customers specify or supply bags that are ill-suited to embroidery. Build a go- to catalog of bags for every occasion that you know to be embroidery-friendly, and you'll avoid these problems at the outset. Whether you choose bags that always allow easy dec- oration—like simple backpacks with their main-pocket access, or messengers with their easily-hooped fold-over flaps, or those made specifically for the industry with zip- off decoration panels or zip-out access pock- ets and linings that provide easier hooping options—having a personal catalog of great bags can save you the effort of coping with difficult construction and materials. Bags can be both the easiest and most challenging pieces you'll ever place under the needle, but even when you can't choose the bag you decorate, with all of the above options in mind, you'll have little to fear from any bag a customer drops at your doorstep. sign on a durable, finely-grained mate- rial from which you will cut an appliqué panel. It helps to create a simple straight stitch guideline around your design as a guide for cutting the panel. Finally, you apply the panel featuring the design to the bag with a border that holds and captures the panel's raw edge. Though the look is comparable to a patch, it benefits from an integrated-looking edge due to the direct embroidery used to attach the panel. For the smoothest finish on larger panels, layer in a heat- seal adhesive material to fuse the ap- pliqué permanently to the bag with a quick press after stitching. SNAG 3: DURABILITY Bags are inevitably going to take more abuse than just about any garment. Thrown in and out of car seats, dragged across floors, scraped against walls and hooked by errant branches, bags are doomed to wear and tear. Any decoration you create for a bag is like- ly to find itself in the same situation, liter- ally snagged on rough surfaces during the course of daily use. This can be somewhat combated by building this knowledge into your design. 1. Digitizing durability. Long, loose stitches are more likely to snag than shorter ones that lay closer to the sur- face of the bag. When designing for an area that's likely to see a lot of abrasion and abuse, consider using split satins or fill stitches rather than long satin stitches. A fill bordered with a narrow satin stitch has a clean edge and raised border, making for an attractive finish. It may not catch the light quite like a satin, but tight fills are much less likely to snag, fray, and unravel. 2. Use polyester thread. Polyester has a higher resistance to abrasion than ray- on, and thus stands up better to being dragged around. It also more UV-resis- tant and can withstand harsh launder- ing; all great for bags that are likely to get get dirty in the great outdoors.

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