Opening new markets with sequin embroidery

Embroidery machines are a common fixture that need no real introduction. Yet one of the capabilities of the machines that is rarely considered by most people is the application of sequins. It’s an embellishment that is ever present but very rarely at the forefront of most people’s minds. John-Paul Burton, director, YES Ltd, reports.

Overall, sequin application displays a large, relatively untapped market. This fashion embellishment has gone beyond a throwback of the disco era, reserved for dance groups and festival-goers.

You’ll see these shiny, little circles on a variety of shoes and bags, with party dresses often adorned with them. Let’s not forget about the recent trend of reversible sequins which saw everything from cushions to t-shirts smothered in these little embellishments.

You can find them anywhere and everywhere. However, in proportion to standard embroidery, the amount of companies who actually offer this service is minuscule. A common misconception is that the process of customising sequins is too difficult and time consuming. But times have changed.

A simpler method

A far cry from Da Vinci’s huge, weight-reliant invention, the application of sequins today follows a far simpler method.

In fact, most embroidery machines can be made into sequin machines with the addition of a sequin device and by swapping out the standard presser foot for one that’s compatible with sequins. The sequins, which come on a reel, are fed through the device and will be pushed out when stated by the design software.

The needle fits through the hole in the sequin, attaching it to the fabric using whichever stitch pattern you chose and a small blade cuts it from the rest of the string of sequins. If this seems simple then that’s because all the heavy lifting is done by the design software. As long as your design software enables sequins then you’re set. Within the programme that you’re using, you choose the size and shape of your sequins, the thread pattern and design the completed result. From there, you’re just letting the machine do what you’ve told it to.

The overall process isn’t a difficult one, especially for those who already have experience with embroidery software. If you don’t have the software or the skills to make designs with sequins then there are plenty of digitisers available who will produce the designs for you.

Increase productivity

The process isn’t the only thing about sequins that has improved. While the past production rate of these sequin devices may have left something to be desired, many advancements have taken place to bring them up to par with embroidery machines.

Most devices can now reach a maximum stable operation speed of 1,000rpm so that you can reach the high productivity and quality rates that you would expect. The devices are often compatible with a range of sequin shapes and sizes from 2mm to 9mm allowing you the flexibility to create a variety of interesting designs. You can also purchase a dual sequin device which sits on both the right and the left of the embroidery head to increase your machines productivity.

However, the real game changer in terms of production, for those looking to get into applying sequins, is the dual function embroidery machine. These machines allow you to embroider two different products or designs simultaneously. Dual function embroidery machines are built on the notion of flexibility and giving their users more control in order to increase their production by up to 25 %. This means that you could be creating two completely different sequin designs at the same time. Those looking at sequins as a way to compliment an existing embroidery business will be interested to know that these machines allow you to command half of the machine to apply sequins while the other half goes about the usual process of embroidery. How you split up production is entirely up to you.

Deciding to begin customising sequins doesn’t mean having to set aside a whole new machine just to complete the task. The compatibility of dual function embroidery machines and sequin devices give you the choice to have a machine that can do it all.

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