How to embroider high-tech fabrics

Madeira defines performancewear as garments made of functional fabrics

Sports and performancewear fabrics are the subject of continual progress, posing new challenges to garment manufacturers and embroiderers. Here, Julia Redfern, industrial sales executive, Madeira UK, explains how you can embroider these types of garments.

As a specialist in embroidery threads and their applications, Madeira defines sports and performancewear as garments made of functional fabrics and we understand their versatile properties.

Each fabric, whether lightweight, breathable, water resistant, microfibre or textile membranes such as softshell garments, has a different structure and different characteristics. Designers and embroiderers need to adapt to the fabric being used,

We offer a large range of premium quality threads, backings, toppings and accessories. For successful embroidery onto activewear, it is essential to adapt the digitising to the fabric, select the correct embroidery thread, needles and backing to achieve top-quality results.

Puckering and inflexible embroidery are well-known problems when faced with embroidering onto soft, stretchy sportswear fabrics.

  • Reduce stitch density around corners and small curves, especially for intricate designs and text.
  • Keep underlay stitches light and select the correct style to suitably stabilise the design.
  • Use a stitch direction slightly diagonal to the fabric’s warp and weft to help keep the fabric flat during the embroidery process.
  • Start at the centre of the design, rather than from left to right, to protect the fabric and improve the results.

When embroidering onto high-tech fabrics, it is important to select the correct thread thickness and needle style to protect the material’s structure and achieve soft embroidery. Keep your embroidery light, use a lighter stitch density, lightweight and softer backing and finer ballpoint needles.

Correct hooping is essential. Use a frame slightly larger than the design. Ensure you don’t overstretch the fabric, as it will just bounce back when it is unleashed!

Madeira’s Weblon backing is an excellent all-rounder. Its unique make-up works well with stretchy fabric and it is very light, so this not only helps eliminate puckering but also avoids adding unnecessary bulk to the design.

Madeira’s ComfortWear helps eliminate irritation to the skin which can occur from the tie-offs and trims, which can be sharp at times. If it scratches on day one, it will continue to irritate. Heat press onto the back of the embroidery to create a barrier between the stitches and the skin. The finish is as soft as silk.  So, if you want to eliminate this irritation or ‘joggers nipple’ use ComfortWear.

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