When a custom embroidery company claims “high-quality” embellishments, it’s best to know what exactly that means.
There are several markers of high-quality embroidery. Many shops manage a couple of points of the best execution, but the highest-quality embroidery will fulfill all of the following categories:
Technical execution: The design has no outwardly visible flaws in its execution. There should be no outlines out of registration, no underlay stitching visible, no closed counters in lettering, no gaps between elements that should meet, and there should not be excessive color from the ground material showing through the filled areas. Edges of elements should be mostly smooth and avoid ‘sawtoothing.’ Small elements or text should not cluster together or be unintelligible. Bobbin thread should not be visible in the top-stitching whatsoever.
Artistic interpretation: The embroidery should be attractive and precise, properly representing the art provided by the customer in the best way possible for the medium. The embroidery makes the best use of the qualities of thread to create interesting surface treatments where applicable.
Proper use of materials/digitizing for the needs of the garment and use: The design should not use excessive stabilizer, particularly to compensate for digitizing or mechanical failings. The garment should not be rippled or puckered around the design, and the design should be flexible and as comfortable to wear as possible, maintaining as much of the natural hand of the garment on which it is stitched. If the design is to be commercially laundered, displayed outside, or safe around fire, the appropriate threads and stabilizers should be used for the situation at hand to prevent damage to the design and garment. There should not be any overly dense areas that stand too proud in the front or back of the design, making it uncomfortable to wear or those that cause excessive ‘cupping’ or waves in the design area. The design should be executed using only the necessary stitching for an efficient and cost-effective run.
Proper placement: The design should be properly placed for each garment and size so as to be in the proper position when worn. The design should not be angled or crooked.
Clean finishing/packaging: Though this is not a decoration issue, I think it is integral to the perceived quality of the finished product. The finished garment is cleanly trimmed of any connecting stitches long enough to need trimming, any marks left by the hoop are steamed or pressed out of the garment, and the garment is neatly packaged in agreement with the customer’s needs. It should be noted that this does not mean that specialty folding/packaging/labeling/tagging should be free, just that it should be carefully done). The garment is clean and does not exhibit any excessive lint or stains from machine lubricants or other chemicals used in the shop.
Though there is more to the overall experience provided by the best decorators, those are some key elements on which you can base your assessment or about which you can ask your potential embroidery contractor.
Find more embroidery tips from Campbell here.