Enhance your sportswear with embroidery

Natalie Greetham, senior marketing co-ordinator at Madeira UK, details how embroidery can enhance sportswear this autumn.

Over the past few months, while gyms and indoor sports clubs were forced to close their doors many people saw this as an opportunity to start exercising outdoors and turned to walking, cycling and running to keep active.

As a result, the demand for home gym equipment and sports clothing has increased massively with many of us wearing sports apparel for various activities, not just exclusively for exercising.

An embroidered logo that will last the lifetime of the garment can really enhance what might otherwise be a boring item of clothing. But whether you have been asked to embroider items for personalisation, corporate identity or teamwear branding, we know these new moisture wicking, extremely lightweight, stretchy fabrics can throw up some embroidery challenges.

For the best results on these fabrics the main message is to keep things light.

Light and stable

Select a lightweight but stable backing, such as Madeira’s Weblon. A backing specifically designed to offer the high stability required and reduce the chance of puckering, with the added advantage of not showing through lightweight fitted garments.

When digitising, to help prevent distortion and puckering, try where possible, to digitise from the centre outwards and avoid too many stitches within the design. There’s nothing worse than a bulletproof embroidery falling forward from a lightweight garment. Remember to always use the smallest needle the thread will allow and to help reduce stress on the fabric, try loosening the top and bobbin tension, not too much though as this could cause the thread to loop.

Take care not to over stretch the garment when framing, using a magnetic snap frame could help facilitate hooping with the correct tension and avoid unwanted puckering once the item is removed from the hoop.

The right thread

Selecting which thread type to use depends on the end use of the garment and how it may be washed. If there is a chance the garment will come into contact with chlorine or bleach, then polyester thread has the properties to withstand these substances. For any outer wear garments that might be worn in bright sunlight, a light-fast, matt polyester thread is a great option. Matt threads are resistant to ultraviolet rays and can be used either on their own or incorporated with shiny threads. A great choice for lettering, Madeira’s Frosted Matt thread range has recently expanded and is now available in two weights, 40 and new, heavier 30 weight for better coverage and includes fluorescent shades to really help designs stand out.

When it comes to more closely fitted garments, where the embroidered element may have direct contact with the wearer’s skin, a softer rayon thread lends itself better to this application and will be much less likely to cause irritation. Of course, a soft, iron-on, finishing fabric sometimes known as Comfortwear, can also be applied to cover the back of the embroidery.

The performance wear sector is growing rapidly so don’t miss out, running tests and selecting the right products for the job will ensure you get great results.

As always, the team at Madeira are happy to help if you have any questions.

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