March '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 7 M A R C H P R I N T W E A R || 69 backings, but water- or steam-soluble top- pings were developed to prevent embroi- dery thread from sinking into the loft of the fabric. The use of topping became an extra step in production, but the results were well worth it. Today, with performance wear so preva- lent both on the field and off, apparel companies have coined a new fashion cat- egory: athleisure. Comfort, stretch, and ease of movement are all paramount in choosing everyday wear. But, to embellish this stretchy, slippery fabric, backing manufacturers needed to come up with a variety of new backings that work well to stabilize these challenging fabrics, enabling logos and designs to be embroidered clearly without puckering. In working with performance fabrics, embroiderers are always reminded to "think light." Designs should be low in stitch count, stabilizers should be light- weight, and threads should not be heavy. If the chosen backing is too heavy for the fabric, a "badge effect" occurs. New to the market is a low-profile, woven, lightweight backing with low visibility. There are also low-profile, soft, sheer backings that are compatible with performance wear, and good for designs with 8,000 stitches or less. Depending on the stability of the fabric, there are specialty backings in both cut and tear varieties. For embroidering caps, there are precut, heavyweight tearaway backings designed to fit comfortably into cap frames. Two types allow for a single precut to stabilize the front of the cap for a standard front design, or extend along the sides for additional embroidery. Rolls of cap backing are available to customize the exact length you need. Both cut and tear backings are available that wash away after a laundering or two. Suitable for linens, towels, terrycloth, and fleece, these are the solution for applica- tions where the back of an item may be visible. After washing, the backing that has When em- broidering on fabric that has loft, like fleece or terry- cloth, using a water-soluble topping will keep stitches from sinking into the fabric, resulting in clean, crisp designs.

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