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.

Summer Shoes Styles For the Summer

What should we be looking for in shoes for the Summer of 2011? Well it would seem that this summer is one for small details in shoe and sandal design. We can feast our eyes on a real shoe carnival. There is a great variety of styles for summer available, so looking fashionable and stylish does not mean wearing the same styles as everyone else.

The big designers are using a lot of strappy shoes, but strappy shoes with a difference. There is a tendency towards small details; straps are more creative than usual, while shoe laces and ropes are being used for a more creative and interesting effect.

If shoes laces and rope are a step too far for you, then there is what I think is an even more attractive alternative – fabric straps. These can create a really feminine look, especially when they are in fun and colorful prints, matching the shoe.

Printed shoes add a splash of color to our outfit, but are not as limiting as one color shoes.

Many designers are using bows this summer; this is another of the easiest ways to add a feminine touch.

Something else new is the combination of wedgies and flatties – the ‘flatforms’. They give you some overall height, but are not as uncomfortable as some wedgies and high heels can be.

For formal shoes, the little black sandal has a lot of added feminine details, for example the bows, in flirty lace or sumptuous silk. The ever popular sequins can give an elegant but feminine touch to an evening outfit.

When we are looking into the fascinating realms of this summer’s shoes, we should always remember of course the basics for our feet and legs. Pampering your feet is essential for that smooth summer look and so should be done quite frequently.

Many women only get a pedicure in the summer months, because that is when the feet are most on show. However pedicures can be expensive and there have been a lot of hygiene warnings about shared facilities lately.

However you do not have to spend a fortune, if you learn how to take some simple steps to care for your feet.

If you have thick, dead skin build-up, on the heel, ball and sides of the feet, use a pumice stone or a foot file. The best way is to soak the feet in warm water for at least five minutes, then rub gently to smooth calluses and eliminate dead skin.

Never use a foot razor, or allow anyone else to use one to remove dead skin. This can result in permanent damage and can cause infection if too much skin is removed.

Trim your nails carefully, using a toenail clipper with a straight edge and cut your toe nail straight across. Using manicure scissors or fingernail clippers increases the risk of ingrown toenails, because they are curved. You can keep your toe nails clean by running a manicure stick under them.

Never forget to keep the moisture balance in skin, by always applying a moisturizer to your feet after thorough drying when you have taken a bath.

No matter how expensive and fashionable the shoes are, they will not look good on unkempt feet.

Now you know how to keep your feet looking and feeling good, check out some of the ideas for great summer shoes and sandals.

Latest Fashion News and Ideas: Bags Invade, and the Clutch Wins!

This season is your turn to try the sassiest bag! From classy bags to funky ones, here are the latest fashion news and ideas and the best handbag designs so far.

Pick the bag that suits your fashion style. You can pick top handles: No matter how you decide to wear them, this year choose your bags with small top handles as they are here to conquer the fashion runaways. You can also go for bucket bags: this trend has been going on for a few seasons now and it is far from disappearing, as it is evolving more and more in different shapes and many embroideries and designs.

A new fashion trend in the bag region: camera bags: It seems the trend of technology in bags is not limited to phones only. This season you will also be seeing a lot of camera bags, which are bags but with a little more volume and size, big enough to fit your bag.

Or you can go for clutches. When you think of clutch handbags, you think weddings, prom night, or dinner parties, but never everyday outings. They’re not very practical, and you can barely fit your phone, wallet, and keys in there.

Nevertheless, they do have their perks; they look pretty, minimalistic, modern, and are a chic change from traditional handbags. So if you’ve been wanting to convert to a clutch but don’t really feel they’re comfortable, here are some tips on how you can pull off the look.

Use a strap: You don’t have to carry the clutch in your hand. And instead of carrying a large, heavy bag on your shoulder, carry a clutch with a strap. It’s light and practical.

Take just what you need: Take a look at your bag right now; what can you find in it? You’ll probably find a bottle of perfume that’s been empty since last spring, along with lots of other stuff you don’t use. When you go out, what do you really need besides your wallet, keys, and maybe a couple of makeup essentials? That way, you’ll not only make it lighter, but you’ll also find what you’re looking for faster.

Pick a clutch that has pockets: Some clutches have pockets on the outside, which can hold some extra items like your phone or mascara. You can also use that space to put your cash and cards instead of taking your wallet, so you’ll free up some space in the main pocket.

Choose the right size for you: Some clutches are actually quite large, which may tempt you to get them. But if you have a petite figure, a large clutch might look awkward, so take a look at yourself in the mirror before you buy it just to make sure it’s not oversized for you.

Choose the pattern/color carefully: If you have a basic style in clothing, go for a patterned clutch to add some flair to your outfit. But if you’re wearing something with lots of stripes and designs, you should carry a clutch with.

What do you think of the latest fashion news and ideas