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How did it all go wrong? You’ve followed the advice of other embroiderers and followed the instructions as closely as possible… but even with all that help available you’ve made a mistake.
Hopefully, this mistake hasn’t cost you much and all that’s ruined is a bit of embroidery material, not equipment. Because a piece of ruined equipment can cost you thousands of dollars.
Don’t worry, from new embroiderers to experts, mistakes happen. This can happen with ANY embroiderer using ANY machine.
The more we do, the more mistakes usually pile up.
That’s why we’ve created a list of the most common mistakes that are made in the embroidery business and how they can be avoided.
We’ll start off with the first most common embroidery mistake, improper hooping.
To demonstrate an example of this, we improperly hooped a shirt.
You can see this in the picture below, the surface of the fabric is uneven and wrinkled.
If you were to touch it, you’d feel that the fabric is too loose.
These are the first signs that it’s hooped incorrectly. You’ll want to keep the wrinkles to a minimum and make sure there’s not too much extra fabric in your hoop.
So, what’s an easy way to prevent that?
If you’re using an Avancé commercial embroidery machine, we offer different sizes of Allied Gridlock Hoops.
You can also use these hoops if you own a different brand of embroidery machines, however you’ll have to make sure they fit your machine.
We love having Allied Gridlock Hoops handy and prefer these premium hoops over any others.
Reason being is because they have grid lines and reference marks. This design gives you the ability to better line up your graphic onto the garment.
Another helpful feature are the tension knobs. The name perhaps gives its function away — the knobs help you easily tighten or loosen the hoop.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that too much tension can introduce a “hoop burn”. It looks like a burned or imprinted circle that’s difficult to remove.
With this tension knob, you can set just the right tension so problems like these happen less frequently.
It’s especially useful for garments that are a little more difficult to work on, like ones that are thin and light, soft or stretchy.
Normally in such cases, we would also recommend using a layer of backing.
This layer helps stabilize the garment a little more.
It also creates a smooth surface against the person’s skin who ends up wearing the garment.
If someone is sensitive to rough or uneven fabric surfaces, this helps prevent potential skin irritation or scratching.
Here at Colman and Company, we offer a variety of backings for any project you are working on, from cutaway to tearaway, and even specialty backings.
So, let’s talk a little bit about what makes them different from each other.
Tearaway backing is used on woven types of fabrics, primarily because woven material does not have very much stretch.
On the other hand, cutaway backings are typically what would be used on knits. It offers better stabilization properties and removes the stretch of the fabric you are embroidering your design on.
Of course, there are other kinds of backings like specialty backings which range from poly mesh, nylon mesh, and water-soluble which all serve different purposes.
Aside from incorrect hooping, not changing your needles often enough is another common embroidery mistake, so let’s talk about that next.
How often should you change your embroidery machine’s needles?
One of our favorite ways to gauge this is if you’re having a lot of thread breaks to try and sew out an easy design that always works well for you.
After this, if you’re still experiencing thread breaks this probably means the needles are the problem and you should change them out.
The lifespan of the needles greatly depends on the fabric you’re sewing on, how large the sewing area is and other factors.
Just be sure to keep an eye on the wear and tear and change the needles when they no longer perform to your satisfaction.
With that being said, you should pay attention to the types of needles you are shopping for. Try to pick some that not only fit for your machine, but also work best for the application.
One of our go-to brands of needles for the Avancé embroidery machines are the Groz-Beckert titanium needles.
But, if you’re unsure about what kind of needles you may need, you can find some helpful information from the videos on this page – https://colmanandcompany.com/Needles.html.
Along with needles, the third most common embroidery mistake is not checking your bobbin tension.
So, let’s get into what that means and why it’s important.
Incorrect bobbin tension is one of the biggest problems that embroiderers have.
If you do not have the proper amount of bobbin tension on your machine, then this can result in low quality sew outs.
It doesn’t matter how good the digitizing is, how nice the fabric is, how good your thread is…you get the point.
Some of the specific types of low-quality sew outs you might see are looping on top of your designs, bobbin showing through the top, or extra thread building up underneath your sewing.
To check if the bobbin on your machine needs any adjusting you can perform what we call a “drop test.”
Here’s how it works:
Take the bobbin out of your embroidery machine and drop it down like a yo-yo.
What you’re looking for is how far it drops down.
If the bobbin falls about 2 to 3 inches down — that’s good!
Any lower than that, then your bobbin tension is too loose. On the flip side, if it’s not falling enough, your bobbin is too tight.
This is a simple trick that we like to use before performing any embroidery job and we recommend you do too!
Last but not least, bad digitizing can ruin embroidery jobs and scare your customers away.
In this next section, we’ll tell you how.
Another one of the most common embroidery mistakes is using bad digitizing. If you take the cheap route, your customers will notice.
You can read — and learn — more about digitizing in one of our previous articles.
In short, any design you use will need to be understood by the embroidery machine.
That’s where digitizing comes in, this “language” tells the machine how to sew out the design from point A to Z.
You can see where I’m going with this… if the digitizing is done poorly, it may cause bird nesting, needle breaks, unnecessary stitches and may even take a lot longer to sew out.
Most importantly, the end result won’t match your expectations.
Just look at the sample picture below to see what I mean.
On the left side, you can see the artwork was digitized poorly and carelessly.
Can you see a difference with the artwork on the right?
It’s crisper! You can see the smallest of details.
The text is clear and easily readable, the stitches don’t overlap or look messy, and the colors look much brighter.
Artwork that’s digitized correctly usually feels significantly different as well and like mentioned before, will take a shorter time to sew out.
This is why having professional and premium digitizing service like ColDesi Graphics is so important.
They never auto digitize and will send a photo to you of the design already sewn out, so there are NO surprises.
Leaving the digitizing step to the professionals allows you to focus on what makes your business money – production.
So, if you’re thinking about getting into embroidery, do not let this scare you away.
In fact, when you purchase an Avancé embroidery machine, you’ll receive all the training and support you’ll need to be successful from professionals who have been in the business for years.
If you’re already embroidering and you’re running into some of these problems, we hope that these tips and tricks we talked about helps.
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