April '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 8 A P R I L P R I N T W E A R || 67 creating beautiful, colorful designs that would otherwise be impossible with em- broidery alone. THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT Before you can accomplish this technique, you must have the right equipment. We use direct-to-garment printers, print/cut sys- tems, and embroidery machines to create eye-catching mixed-media designs. Work- flow starts with the print and is finished with embroidery, as will be sampled in this article. As you can imagine, aligning or reg- istering the print with embroidery can be complicated. But, with a laser alignment tool, hooping and registration is easy, and it can be done with precision and consistency. THE PRINT From the printing side, application is simple. Create and optimize your artwork for your printer, just like you would for any normal print job. Analyze the design and consider which elements you want to embroider and which you will print. Then, separate the areas you'd like to digitize for embroidery, and move them to their own layer(s). Create your art at about the same dimensions you expect to print and at a high resolution. It's always better to overestimate size. The image above shows the areas we selected for print. Once the print is laid down, you can hoop the substrate and get to stitching. THE EMBROIDERY Using your digitizing software, open the print design and digitize the embroidery around the print design. When the digi- tizing process is finished, don't forget to add the vector line. Run the line between two points in your art. This step is criti- cal when using laser alignment as the tool uses this line to automatically compensate for small variations that may occur dur- ing printing and hooping, including fabric stretching/shrinkage. The application of print/embroidery mixed media is extremely versatile. The idea starts in the art. Decide which parts of the design you would like to print, and which elements you can accent with embroidery. Stitch a border around printed patches or the inside of tackle twill lettering. Add embroidered highlights on a printed jacket back or hoodie. Create a beautiful monogram and add it to a printed background on tote bags. All these techniques can be done easily with the right tools and a little creativity. Mixed media with print and embroidery opens a unique and creative space, and it of- fers the customer that extra flair they may be looking for on special projects. This is a technique that has endless opportunities for being creative. What new mixed media idea will you come up with to make more money for your business? Decide which areas you want to be printed and which you want to be embroidered when creating your design. Once the print is laid down, the design can be hooped and aligned with the help of a laser to embroider other elements of the piece perfectly. Using laser alignment requires a vector line. This line serves as a guide or reference for the laser on the embroidery machine to cal- culate position, orientation, and size of the design. The print is always laid down first, so background elements as shown here should definitely be considered for this application.

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