February '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 36 of 118

32 || P R I N T W E A R F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 6 EMBELLISHMENT CORNER in production. We want the number of colors not to exceed the needles on each head of our machines, and are generally quite unwilling to rethread mid-run. Due to these vastly different goals, some home-focused designs just don't make sense for larger scale production. Check both the number of colors utilized in a given design and how many times a color is reused. You may find that even if the number of colors is rea- sonable, poor planning means that a simple stock design has twice or three times the number of color changes than a commercial digitizer would use. Though proper layering and/or registration concerns may make it reasonable to use colors more than once in a commercial design, some stock creators seem bent on doubling or tripling the number of times each color is revisited, making for slow-running stock designs forested with trimming tails. Be aware of stitch counts. If you are roughly aware of the number of stitches a design of a given size and complexity should have, you'll be able to tell if the number of stitches used in a stock design makes sense for the coverage it provides. This will only help you catch the grossest errors of density or layering when you are limited to basic data and a preview image pre-purchase, but it is worth taking note, if only to ferret out designs with overly dense stitching. AFTER PURCHASING, CHECK FOR… Good Pathing/Sequencing. Though your earlier evaluation of color changes tells you a bit about sequencing, the way the needle 'travels' through a design is not as easily seen, although just as important. You want to see a logical progression through a design with the fewest jumps, trims, and color changes possible and reduces dis- tortion. A properly pathed design runs quicker and offers fewer opportunities for thread pull-out—every trim and color change adds to runtime and opens you up to a possible rethread. Note that stock designs are seldom correctly pathed for caps unless specifically indicated. FOUR WAYS TO USE STOCK, BESIDES STANDARD STITCHING APPLIQUÉ CONVERSION: If your de- sign has a large fill area with a satin-cov- ered edge, you can easily convert the area t o an appliqué. Create a tack-down and cut line before the color change with the satin edge, and edit out the fill stitching. It's a great way to save stitches and offers a world of texture and pattern to explore. PATCH MAKING: Several stock pro- viders have standard emblem shapes prepared for in-hoop patch creation, complete with full-instruction guides cov- ering materials and techniques. With the addition of water-soluble stabilizer and stock borders, you can create decorated patches from stock or existing digitized designs with ease. CREATING ART FOR PRINTS: Some embroidery software can use the 3D previewing engine once used only for visualization of stitch files to generate high-res faux-stitched images for print. For smaller prints, standard preview im - ages may suffice, but the high-res gen- erators allow for clean prints at larger sizes. This is perfect for repurposing art for any digital printing process like direct- to-garment or sublimation. LEARNING TO DIGITIZE: High-quality stock designs are some of the best tools for learning techniques and settings for digitizing. If you have a design with features you want to recreate —anything from simple technical elements like prop- er overlaps and density, to fill textures and special e ffects—you can learn to re- produce them by using the measurement tool present in your digitizing software to analyze stitch-length, spacing, and com - pensation. Use the slow replay function to watch for sequencing, pathing, and layer- ing. Analyze, replicate, test, and repeat. continued on page 111 While this stock design wasn't exactly suited to the size and material at which it was used, it did save a great deal of time and make an extremely quick rush job possible. Some puckering and small registration errors were present in the final stitch-out, but that's somewhat to be expected when running on thinner or less stable material than was likely intended by the stock design digitizer. (Image courtesy Erich Campbell)

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