February '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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64 || P R I N T W E A R F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 6 includes factors such as underlay, pull com- pensation, and density, all of which play a large role in determining the appropriate settings for various materials. However, this does not mean that a separate design must be digitized for every type of material that will be embroidered. The key is to under- stand the potential varieties of material and design accordingly. In some cases, more than one file will be required. APPLICATION In order for a design to be acceptable, it must sew well in terms of design quality, but it must also sew well in regard to ma- chine efficiency. The digitizer is the design artist and architect. The digitizer must also create the route that the embroidery ma- chine follows from start to finish. Digitizing works similarly to the way GPS works; the GPS not only calculates a route, but it calculates the most efficient route from point A to point B. The GPS avoids traffic, construction, and inefficient routes. Similarly, the digitizer must examine every design and calculate the most efficient way for the machine to stitch the design. The digitizer will attempt to minimize trims and color changes, as these events cause the machine to slow down and stop for short periods of time, which affects the overall production. The digitizer must also create the proper flow of stitches to help minimize garment distortion and registra- tion issues. Depending upon the material, it is sometimes necessary to sacrifice a little bit of efficiency to ensure design quality. While digitizing is an art, it is certainly something that can be learned through time, trial, error, and practice. However, it might not be in everyone's best interest to tackle the digitizing process. IN-HOUSE VS. OUTSOURCING When you digitize a design in-house, you have full control of the delivery timeline and can be sure the design matches your vision. A good digitizer can create a steady and profitable income stream for any size company as well. That being said, if you are the one selling, running production, doing the accounting, and everything else it takes to run a business, sometimes adding digitiz- ing into the mix of the "many hats" can be too much of an undertaking. When you outsource designs, you don't have any control over quality and delivery times. But, if you have a good and reliable digitizing company, then these concerns are significantly reduced. It is important to note that outsourcing means there is an expense associated with every design, as it is cost-prohibitive to produce spec samples. Because of this, and the learning curve nec- essary to mastering digitizing, it is impor- tant to weigh the pros and cons of in-house versus outsourced digitizing. DIGITIZING 101 The type of underlay being used should be taken into account when digitizing as the added thickness and pull will change the final product.

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