April '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 7 A P R I L P R I N T W E A R || 31 frame in a square hoop outfitted with flanges to mount a clamp that would hold the frame sheets. The plastic in the frame sheets is thinner than the 20-gauge vinyl but has more dimensional stability making it somewhat more re- sistant to stretching and tearing. The system comes with digitizing guidelines and application tips to ensure the best outcome, but the process is largely the same as the last. As the plastic in the frame sheets is more durable, it can withstand extra handling without tearing away. There are two useful possibilities the tough plastic and special- ty hardware of the commercial setup makes available. First, the square hoop in which the commercial frame system is mounted in can be used to hoop a garment while the frame is still attached. This allows you to stitch your patch/appliqué, omitting the bor- der, hoop a garment below the frame sheet, and use the border to attach the patch to the garment directly. Thus, you can stitch a relatively heavy design and attach it to a garment that wouldn't re- spond well to the density of thread. Moreover, you can accommo- date customers that don't like the look or feel of the reverse side of embroidery with a less intrusive decoration. The second advantage is that you can remove the frame sheets and store them without punching out your designs. This allows them to be returned to the hoop while maintaining registration; holes in the sheets are keyed to teeth in the frame and offer uniform needle positioning targets. Using these targets, stitched frame sheets can be returned to the system for accurately registered personalization or attachment to garments after the initial decoration. A PROP PATCH TEST I decided to test both setups with an identical file representative of my needs. I created a thread-only version of a patch made for NBC's "The Night Shift." The design was a standard subdued-col- or shoulder patch for the fictionalized San Antonio Police Depart- ment digitized to the specifications set by the commercial system's manufacturer. The moment of doubt I had loading the paper-and-plastic sheet into the commercial hoop/frame combination was erased as the de- sign stitched along. The plastic, despite some distortion, held up to the heavy combination of the lace-like mesh background and full- coverage fill required for the body of the patch and tolerated the additional layer of fill in the center of the design, remaining intact while running the tight satin border. All in all, the test was successful. The vinyl method was similarly successful, though the back- ground fill shrank slightly more on the vinyl than it had on the commercial plastic frames. In the end, it also started to perforate a little more readily, meaning that the patch had started to separate from the background material in some areas before the border was finished. Even so, with slight adjustments to the digitized file to With a little force, the patch tore away from the support material leaving a reasonably clean edge. As the stitching completed, I was nothing short of pleased with how the method was working.

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