June '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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28 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 6 Erich Campbell is an award-winning commercial embroidery digitizer with more than 15 years of experience as well as a long-time e-commerce manager, currently digitizing and cre- ating online properties for Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Black Duck. A constant contributor to the industry's content landscape through webinars, podcasts, social media, and more, Erich is an evangelist for the craft, a stitch-obsessed embroidery believer, and firmly holds to constant, lifelong learning and the free ex- change of technique and experience through conversations with his fellow stitch-work- ers. As a current industry and fiber-arts blogger and once medievalist-in-training turned tech-obsessed embroidery designer, Campbell brings his varied experience and interests to bear as an editorial author for numerous industry publications, a member of editorial boards, and a consultant for product support groups. ERICH'S EMBELLISHMENTS B Y E R I C H C A M P B E L L N ot every new technique is an assured commercial success, but when an interesting new decoration method comes along, those who grasp it first have an immense marketing advantage. It's no surprise that novelty drives sales in almost every industry, but the decorated apparel market is especially reactive to a new look. Glitter flake film has recently risen to prominence in the world of embroidery and heat printing. Though we are no strangers to designs that shine using sequins, foils, rhinestones, and metallic threads, glitter flake film has been lending that show-stopping glam- our to everything with far less labor, giving birth to a host of new techniques. Most prominent among those in the embroidery com- munity is tear-away appliqué, a method that allows an embroiderer to apply one of the various hues of glitter flake material and tear the excess away in-hoop to make designs that were once relegated to cut materials. That alone is worthy of mention, but it's the addition of another process that allows us to reach a new height of custom- ization. This versatile and intriguing technique is sublimated glitter flake tear-away appliqué. This may sound excessive, but adding sublimation's ability to re- produce everything from simple patterns to photographic images in an astounding depth of color to the gaze-arresting shine of glitter flake film with the ease of the tear-away appliqué process opens up a world of decorating opportunity. Rarely has a combination of simple, low-effort techniques provided such an increase to perceived value. REQUIRED TOOLS To create sublimated glitter flake tear-away appliqués, you only need an embroidery machine, a heat press, nonstick Teflon sheets, and paper cover sheets. Common sense might dictate that you require a sublimation-capable printer; however, several vendors can create sublimation transfers from your art. This means that embroidery shops already outfitted with a heat press can try the process with a minor investment in transfers and white glitter flake film. Though producing your own transfers is less costly per impression, working with distributors is a great way to get something sellable produced before you decide to purchase your own printer. THE PROCESS AT A GLANCE Once you have sublimation transfers and a digitized outline design, the sublimated glitter flake tear-away appliqué process is straightfor- ward, consisting of seven simple steps: 1. Separate the white glitter flake material from the carrier sheet and quickly tack it to a nonstick Teflon sheet with the glitter exposed. The New Color and Shine Creating Sublimated Glitter Flake, Step by Step After pressing and allowing the ma- terial to cool, you now have vibrant printed glitter flake material, ready for appliqué. (All images courtesy Celeste Schwartz) With the garment hooped and mounted, the first color change runs, giving us the placement line for positioning the glitter flake material. One final look at color combi- nations and the placement, and it's time to embroider. Make sure to set your tempera- ture, time, and pressure to the settings required by your sub- limation system or glitter flake film. Your distributor can help you with the proper settings.

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