May '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 6 M A Y P R I N T W E A R || 99 thread to not just break, but fray and bunch up on itself. As a rule of thumb, I usually suggest to my clients that after the second thread break, change the needle. And keep in mind that common colors, such as white, black, and red will wear out faster. As a synthetic material, polyester will stretch before it will break. Because of its elasticity, it will need a firmer tension than rayon on almost all machines. However, if you have properly set tensions on your ma- chine, you should not have to adjust, go- ing from one thread to the other. And keep in mind, about 85 percent of all tension issues are the result of a poorly maintained bobbin case. Finally, there is an area where rayon will perform better than polyester ever can: dog collars, horse bridles, and heavy fab- rics. Those weaves are so tight and heavy that the polyester will catch on it at both entry and exit. When most people see the looping they will tighten the tensions on the machine to try and fix it, to counteract the stretch of the thread. My advice? Use rayon. No looping!" While personal preference will come into play with some thread choices, always be sure to let your substrate be the ultimate deci- sion maker. While the appearance won't be drastically different in most cases, the path to getting to your finished result will either be easy or fraught with breaks, headaches, and time spent cursing your thread. Far Left: This Women's World Championship design manages to fit much detail into a minute emblem, done in 75-weight poly- ester thread. (Image courtesy Madeira) Left: The configuration of thread as it passes through the embroidery machine creates a certain amount of stress, which results in thread elongation. As the nee- dle rises before each stitch, this gives the thread a chance to relax before the loop is formed with the bobbin thread. Poly- ester's low elonga- tion is said to help eliminate this loop- ing and puckering. (Image courtesy Madeira) COMPARING GOOD, QUALITY EMBROIDERY THREADS RAYON POLYESTER Brilliant luster Glossy shine Can be washed in very hot water Stands up to bleach and stonewashing Made from eco-friendly material Made from petroleum product Soft, pliable Strong, flexible Soft against skin Can be scratchy

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