November '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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68 || P R I N T W E A R N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 5 Ed Levy is the director of software products at Hirsch In- ternational and owner of Digitize4u, an embroidery and digitizing operation. A 23-year industry veteran, Levy has owned screen printing, embroidery, and digitizing business- es. In 2001, Levy began consulting and founded EmbForum, a professional Tajima DG/ML by Pulse software users group. THREAD ... ACCORDING TO ED B Y E D L E V Y Embroidery Business N othing is more frustrating and costly than damaging a product during the embroidery process. No matter how hard we try, no one is perfect. To complicate matters further, there are so many different variables that can occur to turn a beautiful product into a costly reject. Following are some of the more common issues that can occur. 1. A lack of oil. The key to a well-maintained machine involves oiling the hook and other essential parts regularly. 2. Broken needles. When a needle breaks, there is still a stitch that is inserted in the garment just after the break. It takes the lack of the needle interacting with the bobbin to detect the break. The broken needle enters the garment with a much thicker shaft than when the needle is in perfect con- dition. The end result is usually a hole that will damage the garment. Always use caution after a needle break because the broken tip of the needle is likely somewhere near the gar- ment or in the hook area. 3. Bird's nest. If there is more tension on the bottom bobbin than the top, the thread can be pulled down between the garment and the needle plate. As the machine continues to stitch, the thread continues to accumulate in one spot and the actual garment begins to get pulled into the needle plate. Once this happens, it takes a gentle and patient form of sur- gery to cut the garment free. In some cases, there is no dam- age to the garment and in other cases, the garment ends up with a huge hole in it. 4. Design error. Designs react differently on different materi- als. A design that ran perfectly on one material may at some point create damage to a different material. Density settings, underlay values, and problem areas—such as the inside of a lower case e—all contribute to problems. 5. Hooping error. A design is only as secure as the hoop that is holding it. A bulky garment or a hoop that is not sufficiently tightened can pop off during the embroidery process, leav- ing the garment free to move around rather than being held securely in place. Another common hooping error is failing to move the backside of the garment away from the needle plate which results in stitching the front of the garment to the back of the garment. In this instance, the chance of sav- ing the garment is almost non-existent. 6. Misspellings. No matter how careful someone is, sooner or later there will be a misspelling on a garment. The misspelling could be a single letter or the misspelling can be an entire order. All of these factors and more can quickly destroy any chance of profits on an order. However, just because the order is ruined, it doesn't mean the garment will be ruined as well. Depending on the nature and severity of the problem, a garment can either be saved or repurposed for another order. FIXING A SMALL SECTION Sometimes one or two letters or a small area of a design needs to be corrected after the garment was already removed from the hoop. The most common instance of this is to correct a misspelling. It is always better if the mistake can be caught prior to the garment be- Manage Missteps Above: To fix a spelling mistake, create a new letter and set a start and stop point on an easily identifiable portion of the design. (All images courtesy Hirsch International) Right: The inside of a lowercase "e" can often contribute to design issues. ● Beginner

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