June '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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26 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 6 Ed Levy is the director of software products at Hirsch So- lutions Inc. 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 D ensity is a very confusing topic for many embroiderers. It is one of the most important yet most misunderstood aspects of creating quality embroidery. Too much density, and you are left with a garment that puckers or has major production is- sues. Too little density, and you have areas of the garment showing through. In a nutshell, density represents stitch coverage. A high density has more stitches, and a low density has fewer stitches. This month's col- umn will examine the cause and effect of density, as well as provide tips for density control. IMPERIAL VS. METRIC The first part of controlling density is understanding how it is cal- culated. As with anything in this crazy industry, there is more than one way to achieve the same result. The two most popular methods for calculating density are stitches per inch (imperial) or millimeter/points (metric). These two methods have an opposite effect on one another, which makes it very important to have a full understanding of the differences. Let's start with the differences be- tween imperial and metric. Virtu- ally every embroidery machine on the market is set up on a metric system. A .1 mm stitch is usually the smallest in- crement of movement. How does this translate into the imperial world? There are 10 points to every millimeter, so one point is equal to .1 of a millimeter; therefore it is safe to say that one point is also the smallest movement. When dealing with points and millimeters, calculations are normally based upon the space between stitches. When dealing with imperial, calculations are normally based upon the amount of stitches within a given area. Regardless of the type of measurement, every system has a starting or default density. This represents the density value that every new design starts with if nothing is changed. A typical default density would be as follows: Points (PTS): 4.0 Millimeters (MM): .4 Stitches Per Inch (SPI): 63.5 To change density, those default values need to be raised or low- ered based upon the desired effect. Density can be adjusted in one of two ways. The first way is to simply add or subtract to the default density to arrive at the new density value. (Original Density +/- Val- ue = New Density.) The new values would be achieved as follows: Points: 4.0 + 1.0 = a new density of 5.0 PTS. Millimeters: .4 + .1 = a new density of .5 MM. Stitches per inch: 63.5 + 11.5 = a new density of 75 SPI. The other method in calculating density is known as absolute den- sity. With absolute density, whatever you put for the density will become the new density. Points: 4.0. Entering 5.0 results in a new density of 5.0 PTS. Millimeters: Entering .5 results in a new density of .5 MM. Stitches per inch: Entering 75 results in a new density of 75 SPI. The next step in digesting density is to understand the effect the changes to the values will have based upon the measurement type. Stitches per inch (SPI) calculates density based upon the amount of stitches within a given area. Increasing the density value will add stitches to the design or shape that is be- ing adjusted, and reducing the density value will reduce the amount of stitches within a given area. The addition and subtraction values have a di- rect correlation to the number of stitches in a given area. MILLIMETERS/POINTS Metric calculations are based on a completely different method. This is usually where confusion sets in among many new embroi- derers. With the metric calculation, density is based upon the space between rows of stitches. A default density of 4.0 points/.4mm has a space of .4mm between each row of stitches. When adjusting these values, the space between each row of stitches is adjusted, and there is an opposite relationship to the SPI Digesting Density The smallest stitch increment using the metric system is .1 mm and measures the distance between each stitch. If using the imperial system, this stitch would be four points.

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