5 Embroidery Techniques Your Customers Will Love
Thanks to equipment innovations and our ability to share ideas across social platforms, decorators are constantly inspired to create extraordinary designs for their customers.
From multimedia and layering effects to highlighting with metallic and iridescent threads, the embroidery industry has no shortage of stand-out techniques and tricks. Check out these five embroidery techniques that you can easily incorporate into your offerings.
1. Multimedia Designs
Savvy embroiderers embrace and offer multimedia designs (think DTG + embroidery, or crystals + stitching) to elevate their clients’ brands—and add an extra dose of creativity to otherwise traditional orders. You can pair embroidery with different materials such as 3-D puffy foam, DTG printing, screen printing specialty inks or heat-applied enhancements like crystals and beads to magnify designs. If properly executed—either in-house or with a printing or decorator partner—multimedia designs can truly “wow” customers with one-of-a-kind artwork and increase your profits.
While appliqué isn’t a new technique, it’s a forever favorite of colleges, schools, sports clubs, sororities, fraternities and resort clients, who all love the appearance of patterned fabric with thick outlined letters. More big brands have also taken up with appliqué for logoed employee, customer and fan wear, especially on T-shirts and hoodies. With reverse, distressed and multilayer appliqué hot at retail, and made even easier for decorators to execute with laser add-ons to single-heads, embroiderers can easily add this style. Plus, it saves on stitches, making for quicker production time, while still resulting in a unique design.
Fuzzy threads give designs a hand-embroidered, rustic feel, perfect for bohemian-themed brands and events.
3. Fringe & Lace
Decorators who slant artistic and want to add a bit of chicness to a cut-and-sew garment or bag at a client’s request, may want to consider fringe or freestanding lace accents. Fringe gives a shirt movement and dignified depth, while lace adds a feminine or retro touch. Freestanding lace, in which an embroidered design is created on its own (sans garment), can be sewn onto items in non-traditional locations.
4. 3-D Embroidery + Layering
For heavier products such as hoodies, hats and jackets, try creating a layered, dimensional design for an eye-catching look. Embroiderers can achieve this 3-D result in several ways: digitizing layers of underlay to elevate the stitching; adding a puffy foam that lifts and adds life to the lettering; or following a newer 3-D technique called the Fuwari method, by applying topping materials that encourage the threads to stand at attention.
5. Specialty Threads
Metallic, iridescent, variegated, matte finish and even glow in the dark—these are all examples of specialty threads that can add value (and glamour) to a garment. Specialty threads imbue artwork and branded designs with variations of color, texture and sheen that everyday threads can’t provide. For example, “fuzzy” threads give designs a hand-embroidered, rustic feel, perfect for bohemian-themed companies or events.
Tip: If you’re using metallic thread, it’s important to control tension, slow your stitch and use a large-eyed needle to ease friction, as these threads are notorious for kinking and twisting during the embroidery process.
Collaborations are on the rise—partner with a printer to create one-of-a-kind multimedia designs that will keep customers coming back.
With an industry as open and creative as decorated apparel, it pays to step outside the norm and experiment with new techniques and combinations. Collaborations are also on the rise, so don’t be afraid to partner with other decorators to create unique imprinted apparel that keeps customers coming back—and sharing your creations on social media.