Pointers & Suggestions
Madeira Thread Colors
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  • Submit artwork in a vector based file. Either .ai or .eps is preferred. Be sure all text is converted to outlines. This will prevent a font being changed when the file is opened. For embroidery, we can use almost any image file, but the larger and cleaner the image the better the final results.
  • It is important to embed the PMS colors in the file. We can match thread to PMS colors in most cases. CYMK or RGB do not allow for a direct thread conversion.
  • All text should be a minimum of 3/16" tall to look OK and ¼" to look better and 3/8” to look best! You also want the width of the stitch to be a minimum of 1/16" wide. Avoid Serif fonts for small letters.
  • Text with an outline should be a minimum of ½" tall. The larger the outlined text, the better the final product.
  • Shadows and blending are difficult to reproduce with embroidery but there are techniques that can be used in larger areas of fill.
  • Large areas of fill should be avoided on light weight garments.
  • Whenever possible provide thread colors. PMS colors are a good second choice if you cannot provide the actual thread colors.
  • Have as much information on your PO as possible. When a logo is being digitized it is very important we know what type of fabric it will be going on and if it is going on a hat. It is best to have a file digitized for a hat if some time in the future you think you may be embroidering hats. If possible try and send a sample in advance of the order so we can run it on the actual fabric.
  • Flats are any piece that fits in a flat hoop. For example, Shirts, Polos, Jackets, Sweatshirts, Aprons and Towels.
  • For pique and most open knit shirts, ¼" text is recommended. Larger is always better. Avoid Serif fonts if at all possible for small lettering.
  • Always size the logo for the smallest garment to be decorated. For larger size logos the sleeve or back yoke is recommended. Standard size for a left chest design is 2-1/2" – 4" wide x 1" – 2" tall. You can go as large as 3.5" wide x 3" tall on the sleeves on a larger garment but we recommend 3" wide. You always want to take into account the smallest size product in the order when determining embroidery size. Cuff embroidery may work on a large men’s shirt but when you get down to a women’s small it may not work.
  • Striped shirts need to be high quality. Adding embroidery to a shirt that has been manufactured with crooked lines will make the defect even more noticeable. This is also true of pocketed shirts, where the pocket has been sewn on crooked.
  • Text should be a minimum of ¼" tall. Avoid Serif fonts if at all possible for small lettering.
  • Small text may sink in to the seam on the front of a cap.
  • Caps are manufactured in Low, Mid and High profile. Max size for the front of a cap is 4.25"-4.5" wide x 2-1/2" tall. Low or mid profile caps may not allow 2-1/2” tall logo.
  • Max size for the back of a cap is 2-1/2" wide x 1-1/2" tall for a graphic image, and 3" wide x ¾” tall for text wrapped around the arch. Not all images fit all hat backs.
  • Max size for the side of a cap is 2-1/2" x 1-1/2"
  • Low quality caps embroider poorly as they are not made from consistent components
  • We must see a sample to determine where and how large the embroidery can be on a bag. It is very difficult to tell if a bag can be embroidered without actually seeing it and attempting to hoop it. Between zippers, linings, buttons and hidden pockets we can never be sure what size hoop if any can be used, without seeing the bag.
  • To determine if a product can be embroidered we check that we can hoop the product and then ensure that the machine head has enough space to move the length of the logo.

Let us help you understand Embroidery
Many times, we receive files that customers would like to have created for embroidery that will not stand up to the limitations of machine and thread. Unfortunately in this digital age, what looks good on a computer screen or on paper might not translate to quality embroidery.

The first thing to keep in mind is that Embroidery is normally a SPOT COLOR process. Embroidery thread is a solid that cannot be mixed with another thread to create a new color, much as can be done on a computer monitor or for offset printing. So those beautiful halftones and shadows that look so well on paper, may not always work for embroidery. While there are techniques that can be employed to mimic a gradient, these are not always effective depending on the design and the material the design will be sewn on.

The second thing to be aware of is that very small lettering does not reproduce well in Embroidery. Again because the thread is a solid, it takes multiple stitches to create an individual letter. In addition, the machine must move a minimum distance to complete a stitch. Otherwise, the multiple needle perforations in the same area will just create a hole in the garment. Additionally, font styles with serif’s will be even more difficult to reproduce. We recommend a minimum letter size of .25 inch for non serif fonts and a minimum of .375 inch for serif fonts. Keep in mind this is just a guideline. As more and more fonts are used by graphic artists, this recommendation becomes more and more of a generalization and a specific recommendation will depend on the font used.

The third thing to keep in mind is that the same file will sew differently on different material. A file that was created to sew on a woven garment, or on nylon, may not sew well if a knit garment is substituted. This is because the knit fabric will stretch each time the needle perforates the fabric. This stretching may cause colors not to register. It may also cause the logo to pucker on the garment, or it may appear that there are not be enough stitches to properly cover the material.

The final thing to keep in mind is that digitizing for $1.99 per thousand stitches may actually be more expensive than digitizing for $10.00 per thousand stitches. It takes time to create a quality file that will sew well on the type of garment you have selected. So, while you may be charged a minimal amount per stitch, all the digitizer needs to do is add more stitches to your file then would be needed or an even nastier trick is to use shorter stitches then needed. A normal underlay stitch should be in the range of 10mm to 12 mm long. We have seen files with underlay stitches as short as 2mm. We are sure you can do the math, but if a 2mm stitch is used in place of a 10mm stitch, the design now has 5 times the number of stitches needed to be properly run.

Any or all of these issues can be a real problem when a critical deadline has to be met. We as professionals understand the processes that are necessary to complete the project. Therefore, when we develop a project in-house, we know what the final outcome will be. It works every time!

We have a large knowledge base and would be happy to share it with you. Call us now so we can offer our expertise, we are ready to help you. Many contract embroiderers will just take the clients file and sew it and if there is a problem with the result, blame the file. We prefer to empower our clients with the knowledge of how to set-up files correctly. This will only give you the ability to educate your customer so they understand that quality embroidery is better than cheap embroidery.

Over the years we have helped our clients understand the Embroidery process. This knowledge has helped our clients to sell more and to educate their customers on the capabilities and limitations of the embroidery process. This has resulted in a rewarding working experience for our clients, their customers, and us. With our help, our clients have achieved greater outcomes and as a result, we have built long lasting relationships.

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