Machine Embroidery on Jackets

Of all the different wearable items that can be embroidered, jackets would appear to be the easiest. When most of think of jackets in terms of embroidery, large areas for full back and left chest designs come to mind. What many of us often forget are the little curveballs apparel manufacturers are adding into their designs such as box pleats and seams down the back. Fashion forward styles may have things like raglan sleeves which can throw off design placement since they lack the guideline of a shoulder seam.

One sure way to begin with a jacket that is fit for embroidery is to focus on working with styles that give the fewest headaches. Therefore, do some research on the newest trends. In addition, start with a machine that is in top notch condition, with fresh needles and bobbins. Below are the other basic elements to consider in your quest for trouble-free jacket embroidery.

Choosing a hoop

The best choice in hoops for jackets is the double-high hoop. This hoop is taller than the average hoop so offers more holding power. You can wrap your hoop with white floral tape, medical gauze, twill tape or bias tape to prevent hoop marks and help give a snug fit. Tissue paper, backing or waxed paper can also be used. Hoop these materials on top of the jacket, then cut a window for the embroidery. A thin layer of foam under the tape can also help. But avoid masking tape as it tends to be sticky and leaves a residue on jacket and hoop. When choosing your hoops, remember that oval hoops hold better all the way around than do square hoops with oval corners. The “square oval” holds better in the corners than on the sides, top and bottom.

Needles

The size and type of needle will depend on the fabric of the jacket. Leather jackets call for an 80/12 sharp. (Wedge shaped “leather” needles tend to do more harm than good.) Use this same sharp needle on poplin and other cotton-type jackets. Use a 70/10 or 80/12 light ballpoint on nylon windbreakers and a 75/11 fine ballpoint on satins and oxford nylons to avoid runs in the fabric. Heavy wool jackets, canvas and denim jackets require a stronger sharp needle. Corduroy stitches well with either ballpoint or sharp. Remember that ballpoint needles nudge the fabric out of the way in order to place the stitch, while sharps cut through the fabric. A good rule of thumb is to use the same size needle to embroider as you would to sew the seams of the jacket in assembly.

As for thread, polyester is a good choice for embroidery on jackets that will be exposed to the weather and coastal climates. Be sure to include washing and dry cleaning instructions with your finished product. Consider choosing a large-eye needle when working with metallic and other heavy specialty threads

Placing the design

Hold a straight-edge across the jacket back from side seam to side seam at the bottom of the sleeves. Mark a horizontal straight line, then double check this with a measurement from the bottom of the jacket to the same line. Jackets are not always sewn together straight. Measure the straight line and divide in half to find the center of the jacket. Place a vertical line through the horizontal line at this point. The intersection of the two lines will be the center. If you are rotating the design to sew upside-down or sideways, take this into consideration when measuring and later when hooping. Use tailor’s chalk, disappearing ink pens or soap to mark your garments. Avoid using pins. Masking tape is available in thin strips at graphic and art stores. It is easy to remove and leaves no marks. Wider masking tape, though, can leave residue.

Centering the design eight inches down from the back of the collar is a good place to start, and should work with most jackets. Small sizes may do better at six inches; very large ones may end up at 10 inches. The top of the design should fall about 2 ½ inches down from the collar of the jacket. But remember that this will change if the jacket has a hood. Then it will be necessary to place the design below the hood.

The best way to determine the center point of the design is to have someone try the jacket on, or invest in a mannequin. Pin an outline of the design or a sew-out to the back, making sure to include lettering and graphics to determine size and placement. Left or right chest designs should be centered three to four inches from the edge of the jacket and six to eight down from where the collar and the jacket body intersect. When embroidering on jackets with snaps or buttons, use the second snap or button as a guide.

Be careful not to place the design too close to the sleeve side of the jacket. Designs are not to be centered on the left chest. The correct placement is closer to the placket than to the sleeve. The center of a sleeve design should fall three to four inches below the shoulder seam of the sleeve. When placing a design on the sleeve of a raglan style jacket, mark the placement using a live model or a mannequin.
Backings

The complexity of a design will often be the major factor when choosing a backing for embroidery. Stitch intensive designs may need the extra stability backing provides. Even jackets made of fabrics such as poplin and satin (that might not otherwise cry out for a backing) can benefit from its use, especially if the design is complex. Consider attaching the backing to the jacket with spray adhesive before hooping to increase stability. Attaching a piece of light cut-away backing-or even rear-away-to a satin jacket can hold the jacket better while stitching, allowing for good registration in your design. And, if you should need to remove stitching, the presence of a backing can make your job easier and safer. Backing can also prevent residue from coated canvas fabrics from raining down into the bobbin housing.

Most jacket materials do not require topping. The exception to this might be the corduroy or fleece jacket where the use of a topping can tame the fluff of the fleece and prevent stitches from falling into the valleys of the corduroy. The use of underlay does a better job than topping for challenging fabrics-and as an added benefit, it does not wash away.

Hooping technique

When hooping, especially large or bulky items, start from the “fixed” side of the thumbscrew and travel around the hoop to the “free end.” Use the heels of your hands to alleviate stress on your fingers and wrists. When hooping flat on a table, make sure that there is nothing between the hoop and the table. If any adjustment is needed, hold as much of the upper hoop in place as you can while adjusting. This prevents the garment from popping out of the hoop.

Always make sure the jacket lining is smooth, and double check to determine that the outer shell and the lining are even. Turning the sleeves inside out can help with hooping a lined jacket.

Hooping too loosely can cause puckering, too tightly can cause fabric burn. It can also stretch the fabric causing it to “spring back” when unhooped, meaning more puckering. Tips to prevent puckering include lightening the tension upper and lower, using tear-away if lettering is fill, using mid-weight cutaway if lettering or design is satin stitch. Adjust the hoops before hooping the garment and do not pull or stretch the fabric after it is hooped. Puckering is a risk when stitching on satin, and the lighter the weight of the satin, the more the danger of puckers. You will have the best results when the hold is firm. If you can move the satin around in the hoop, it will move while stitching.

A light pressing or steaming of the area to be embroidered can improve results and ensure that lining and jacket are lined up correctly. While you are checking to make sure your bobbins are full, it is a good idea to check that no part of the jacket is doubled up under the hoop. And please make sure you are not sewing pockets shut, especially inner ones.

Hooping the jacket upside-down and reversing the design is a good way to keep the bulk of the jacket away from the needles. Make sure the arms of the jacket are out of the way of any stitching before you begin. Use clothespins, bulldog clips, quilting clips or even large hair clips. Make sure that you support the weight of the jacket during embroidery to prevent the fabric from slipping out of the hoop, and to help ensure good registration. Embroidering jackets on the tabletop instead of in the tubular mode can help prevent the weight of the jacket from hampering the job. Check also to make sure the material is flat against the throat plate. If you can push down the fabric, the presser foot will too, and this can cause flagging. Flagging can cause stitching problems and poor registration.

Fitness Activewear – 10 Reasons to Look Great When Going to the Gym!

For the exercise activists and the occasional exercise participant alike, going to the gym, like all female endeavors, requires a great outfit. If fashion were irrelevant in the fitness world, tennis shoes would not come in the variety of colors and styles that they do. When we feel good in the clothes we wear, regardless of the occasion we walk a little taller due to the confidence radiating from within. And who among us doesn’t want that extra push when working out? On this note we reflect on the top 10 reasons to look your best at the gym.

1. Motivation and confidence!

Fitness apparel is no exception to wearing nice clothes and feeling great in them. Feeling good about yourself from head to toe is one of the many perks of a great outfit. When you mix it with exercise and advancing your physical health, imagine the body confidence your going to have! Having so much extra motivation about how your going to look even better in your new pants will keep you going for that extra set of reps! Achieve your goals by rewarding yourself with a fitness activewear outfit!

2. Function

Fashion aside for a moment, today’s activewear brands offer so many new perks. Companies use fabrics that wick away sweat from your body and keep you dry throughout your workout. Activewear fabrics breath wonderfully and move with the body, allowing you to feel cool and your clothing to move effortlessly as you do. Also, the activewear fabrics are often colorfast, so wash after wash the colors stay vibrant!

3. Flattering

We all have areas on our bodies where we wish we had a tad extra “concealing.” Activewear can be quite flattering. Most high end brands are made from a tight stretch material that actually makes you look slimmer. When paired with darker colors it will immediately create longer, leaner, flattering lines.

4. You never know….

You never know when fate is going to play a hand, so always be prepared! You could meet the man of your dreams coming off the elliptical. The gym is a great place to meet someone who shares similar interests.

5. Compliments

The gym or yoga studio is a very social place where chit-chat normally occurs. Looking your best is a sure fire way to draw in those compliments to no end! Who among us doesn’t love getting a compliment?!

6. Motivate fellow gym goers

We all know that guys at the gym work out harder when a girl in cute workout clothes walks past. By looking good you are motivating those boys a little bit harder.

7. Competition

Lets be honest here ladies; we are all competitive in one form or another. Who can run the fastest, who can do that yoga pose a little bit deeper and who can climb the most stairs. No matter the venue, the best dressed is always a top contender. Who is wearing the best activewear?

8. Save time

Looking good at the gym means you look good on your way to the gym and immediately after the gym. Whether you are running an errand before or meeting the girls for a drink after, a well placed gym outfit can save the wardrobe changes without sacrificing the fashion!

9. Consider the alternative!

Now working out is not like going to the Oscars; we do not spend three hours on our hair and makeup prior, but some effort is still needed. How do you get that extra self assured boost when you are wearing a stained sweatshirt and dripping with sweat stains?!

10. You deserve it!

You play hard and you work even harder! Its ok, and even necessary to spoil yourself every once and awhile. It will do you a world of good to allow yourself to indulge in something that not only makes you feel fantastic but helps your health as well!

Looking good at the gym is about achieving you highest self greatness. When we look and feel our best we preform our best. Performance is altered by our emotional and mental state. Amazingly enough, something as simple as an activewear top and matching pants will have huge impacts for the better. Always be the best you can be, inside and out.

(C) 2010 ActivewearUSA.com

Important Points to Consider When Buying Baby Clothes As Gifts

Now I have a child, one of the things I find really challenging is receiving gifts (in particular clothes) for my little girl, which turn out to be useless. This isn’t about Wholesale Baby Clothing, as I want to share my biggest frustrations, especially when others take the time to shop for baby clothing. Even more important is the thought that people spent their hard earned money on things that will never see the light of the day.

Over the past twelve weeks, I have received numerous little dresses, jackets, jumpsuits, bibs and other beautiful clothes that are now all sitting in a bag ready to go onto eBay never being worn by my little girl. Why may you ask?

When it comes to baby clothes, there are four simple criteria’s that I stick to:

1. Is it easy to put on? There’s nothing worse than trying to get a very complicated outfit onto a little squirming infant. Particularly after bathing, it is quite common for the little ones to get a bit restless especially if you take your time trying to dry out well all of the little folds around the neck, underarms and so on. Avoid buying outfits that contain many buttons on the back or long sleeve shirts and jumpsuits that need to be put over the head. Ideally, little jumpsuits that button up all the way down the front are an ideal solution for newborns.

2. What is it made of? This is a big one for me. Many of us don’t like to wear clothes made out of synthetic fibres as they simply don’t breathe inturn causing sweating and general discomfort. If an adult is either hot or uncomfortable, they can simply change. A baby however cannot. Instead, babies either cry, or if still unchanged, put up with the situation in discomfort. Secondly, many studies show that all babies should only ever sleep in clothing made from natural fibres such as cotton, as there is a lower risk of SIDS. Babies sleeping in items made from synthetic fibres such as polyester can over heat during the night without your knowledge, thus increasing the risks.

3. Is it appropriate for the weather? It’s lovely jumping online or going to the shops to find funky baby clothing that dazzles you with the gorgeous range of baby girl dresses, or little shorts and T-shirt sets for boys. You need to however take into consideration whether they these outfits are appropriate for the season. Avoid little sleeveless dresses and short sleeve outfits in wintertime; likewise thick jumpsuits may not be the best solution for summer either. If you are set on buying that little dress, and it is winter time, make sure that you buy it in a larger size.

4. What about the size – Most mothers (especially first time mums) tend to get over excited and buy a whole heap of baby clothes before the little one arrives into our world. Usually, they will be well stocked up for the first 6 – 8 weeks. When buying baby clothes, try to purchase items that the child can wear 3-6 months down the track. Also around that time, the families would have spent a great deal of money on the multitude of items that a baby needs so cash may become a little scarce – especially if the mother is intending on taking long maternity leave. Always remember though, if the baby is born in the middle of the winter, don’t buy winter clothes; rather look at items suitable for spring.

When buying baby clothes as a gift it’s quite easy to get it right. Simply consider the following: Is this outfit going to be useful, is it going to be comfortable, will it be easy to put on, and by the time the bub grows into it, will it be appropriate for the current season.