April '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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30 || P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 1 7 ERICH'S EMBELLISHMENTS The pros of this method were a clean edge with absolutely no leftover material outside of the satin border, and the ability to sup- port narrow voids, small protuberances, and sharp points around the edge of the patch. The cons were the fact that it must be rinsed and dried to finish as the leftover material can foam when washed and stiffen garments, and it requires either pre-cut or hand-cut support material. THE SIMPLE VINYL SOLUTION The recipe for this solution required no special equipment. Hoop common 20-gauge clear vinyl, stitch a fully-filled design with a fairly wide, full-density satin border that overlaps the background by at least 75 percent, and tear it out of the sheet when finished. No tricks are necessary for the digitizing, provided that the de- sign was properly underlaid, overlapping areas were compensated to avoid gaps, and the border ran last so as not to destabilize the design before it was finished. Though used to cut-patch material in my method, I decided to do just what I was told and stitch a design fitting the description with no supporting material, leaving it to the thread and plastic to make up the final emblem. I've often been asked to make patches from my stock designs. The predominant requests were for Valkyrie patches from a piece based on an Early Medieval Scandinavian archeological find. I was concerned that the fully-dense overlapped satins in some areas would tear through before the design could finish, but I decided to give it a go. I hooped an unsupported piece of 20-gauge vinyl on my tiny home-office test machine and stitched away. Much to my surprise, the design stitched without mishap, punching cleanly out of the substrate after completion with only a small amount of visible vinyl disrupting the finished edge. I proceeded to test the patch's durability by folding, rolling, and pulling on the piece in ways unlikely to happen in conventional use. It held up admirably. I then machine washed and tumble dried the patch with no spe- cial care. After a few courses with my laundry, it wasn't worse for wear. I can't claim a scientific process, but I was surprised to see that the hard washing had no effect on the plastic-based patch. My first test was a success. THE COMMERCIAL FRAME The commercial version of this plastic film method requires hard- ware. The product I used was a scaled-down version of an auto- matic setup, retooled for small-run production. The original used tractor-fed belts of pre-made plastic "frames" to automatically ad- vance a new frame into the work area as each emblem finished stitching for completely hands-off production. The small-run ver- sion I used, however, requires you to mount a plastic pre-made As the first stitches of my home test ran, I could see that the vinyl was holding up better than I'd hoped. Even under the strain of fully-dense overlapped satins, the material didn't cut.

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