Don’t Be Cornered by Embroidery!

Creating Sharp Embroidered Corners

When digitizing embroidery, creating
sharp, clean corners can be tricky. Understanding the relationship between the thread, needle and fabric is essential to making corners look right for the design.

There are different types of corners; each has merit. Know the difference, and you are on the way to be a master of the embroidery corner!

The best results in embroidery are all about the relationship between fabric, needle and thread. The image on the LCD screen of your SWF/B-902DF Dual Function Two-Head Embroidery Machine is often not exactly the same as what is sewn.

Cheer Jacket Embroidery

In addition, each backing, substrate and thread is a little different. Rarely two elements will be exactly alike from project to project. Controlling the difference between what you see and what appears on the fabric is the primary purpose of digitization.

The goal of commercial embroidery is to get the best, most beautiful designs to work perfectly on a commercial embroidery machine. That means mastering the art of short stitches and corners.

The main problem in short stitching for corners is spacing. The inside and outer edges of a corner contain the same number of stitches, but are spaced a little differently. The distance of the inside area is much shorter than the outside corner, except they are expected to have the same stitch count.

Cramming stitches in the inside of a corner is brutal on both the stitches and fabric. Short stitches may be the solution.

Short Stitches

Corners are usually made with short stitches, a series of “extra” stitches that compensate for the spread of the regular stitches. It is almost like a type of fill. Alternating short and regular stitches will be kinder to the garment fibers on the inside corner, without risking thread breaks or knotting.

Gray T Embroidery SampleUse your embroidery software to manage short stitches. For example, Sierra’s StitchEra Liberty has programmable stitches and stitch styles to customize short stitches for precise cornering. However, short stitching is a skill, and you have to be careful for it to work well

Another way to manage corner stitches is by modifying the curve itself. Corners have two main issues: one is the lack of clearance to form an inner corner turn, the other is the length of the stitches in the corner are a little longer than stitches just outside the corner. Different turning techniques will address the problem.

Mitered Corners

Mitered corners taper into a corner from each side. Think of a picture frame, where two pieces of wood are cut to match each other. This keeps the stitches parallel, and overlapping is necessary to prevent material from showing where the two edges meet.

Hand-Sewn Corners

Hand–sewn corners are not quite corners. They mimic a corner by sewing up to a point, make a sudden stop, turn 90 degrees and continue on its way. This gives the impression of missed stitches on the tip of the corner of 90-degree angles and puts extra pressure on the fabric by overlapping stitches to hide the intersection completely.

Auto-Turn Corners

Auto-turn corners are the classic approach in many embroidery programs. Stitching begins turning at the end of an angle or line of direction, and then slowly turning until it makes it to the other directional line. Wider angles and directional lines further apart will make the corner smoother and gradual.

Angles and directional lines that are close together will result in a bulky corner with short stitches. The more angle lines used, the more variations there are in the overall angle of the corner.

Capped Corners

Capping a corner can help make a cleaner angle, by avoiding turning the embroidery stitch and preventing a two-column effect of hand-sewn corners. Capped corners are perfect for smaller lettering.

For example, the top of the letter “A” improves with a capped corner, using a small triangle of horizontal stitches at the tip. It would be like the capstone of a pyramid. The only concerns are stitches at the bottom of the capped corner will be longer than embroidery stitches in the columns below it. You will arrive at your maximum stitch quickly with capped corners.

Tiger Embroidery Digitizing

Embroidery is an art form, so there will be more than one way to make corners. There is no hard and fast rule dictating which corner to use in any given design. Like anything else, practice will help you become proficient in knowing which corner will be best for a specific situation.

Remember, the most important thing is to reduce the natural distortion between what is on your LED screen, and what you see on the fabric.

Great results in commercial embroidery will come from the right equipment and supplies, like Madeira Embroidery Thread, expert support and training. Colman and Company has embroidery supplies for precise sewing on all substrates, and ColDesi supports SWF Embroidery Machines:  Support Website.

What tips do you have for making corners in commercial embroidery design? Join the conversation in the comments below.