Get into gear

Madeira UK’s Maria Potter, business development manager and Natalie Greetham, marketing manager, take a look at embroidery in motorsport in this month’s embroidery column.

Rallycross, hill climb, stock cars, karting, grass tracking, all these motorsports have brightly coloured logos which often include lightning flashes, quirky fonts, and borders all around.

Driver numbers and sponsor logos really lend themselves to being embroidered, but how do you go about getting these often-complex hand-drawn designs to look as good on a hoodie as they do on the aerofoil?

Ensuring the design translates well across a range of items from T shirts, hoodies and caps to car seats and race suits can be a challenge.

Different factors to consider

There are many different factors to consider, which type of thread would be the most suitable, how many pieces of backing should be used, what is the correct size and style of needle, and will the digitising of the design need to be adjusted?

Different threads offer unique properties, Classic rayon viscose is renowned for its brilliant sheen, Frosted Matt for its distinctive light-fast matt finish and Polyneon polyester thread for its robust strength, durability, and bleach resistant properties.

Typical designs in motorsport can be very dense and if not digitised correctly could result in a ‘bulletproof’ embroidery that’s uncomfortable to wear. Ensure that the stitch density is not set too high to give the stitches a bit of breathing room, whilst still ensuring sufficient coverage. Remember not to layer up the stitching too much, don’t just pop the driver number on top, leave space within the fill stitch area.

Select an appropriate needle for the fabric type, and don’t use too much backing. For T shirts and hoodies use either two pieces of tear away or one piece of a substantial cut away backing and select ball point SES needles. For sturdy fabrics and caps a good option are Groz-Beckert special application needles. SAN 1 needles are sharp point, titanium coated and super strong, ideal for embroidering tough materials such as race suits or leather car seats.

Race suits, often heavily adorned with embroidered badges should not prove to be an issue either. If embroidering directly on to the garment before or after construction, always make sure that stitching is permitted as the garment’s properties might be damaged by embroidery. In an environment where there is a risk of garment ignition, it is essential to use the appropriate specialist products. Flame-resistant threads such as Madeira’s Firefighter made from Aramid, are designed to resist ignition preventing the spread of flames and to self-extinguish, remember to also use flame, and heat resistant backing and underthread for ultimate protection.

For a professional finish, whatever the application, always use high-quality products designed to fulfil the needs of the task. Contact your embroidery thread supplier for advice and certification where needed.

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