Is your embroidery straight and in the correct position?

This is a very familiar question being asked nowadays. Here Jas Purba, managing director of ETC Supplies, explores the options to ensure your embroidery stays on the straight and narrow.

We have seen a huge increase over the last two years with customers facing problems of returned garments because the embroidery is either not straight or not all in the same position.

It maybe that you have new inexperienced staff or that your customers expectations of your work are higher than you currently offer. Either way, this is a problem that cannot be ignored. At the recent Printwear & Promotion LIVE!, this was the single most talked about subject on our stand.

Several products are available from suppliers to help you frame up your garments correctly. They range in prices and effectiveness of use. Here I will look at some of them.

  • Gridlock Frames from Allied Hoops – These have a grid pattern on the frame that can assist you in finding a straight line for your embroidery using a set reference point.
  • Durkee Embroidery Helper – This is a simple but effective tool that uses the button line on your garment to obtain a straight and constant position for various sizes of garments.
  • Durkee Framing Stations – These are available in three different sizes, for infant, youth and adult size garments. The set up is very simple and everything you need is included in the kit. The principle here is to mark the first garments embroidery centre correctly then place it over the framing station. You then select the size of frame you want to use and align the brass cogs in four positions around the frame ring to hold it in position. You can write down the grid reference for this style and size of garment so that future embroideries are placed in the same position. Using the grooves on the station you position your frame base straight and push it into the ring. The station also comes with a cross laser light that give you a constant straight line and centre to work to.
  • Durkee EZ Framer – This is a metal embroidery ring holder that can be attached to any work table. It is ideal for caps, sleeves, trousers, soft toys and other small items. You place your embroidery ring between the two adjustable clamps and align the laser cross lamp to the centre of your embroidery. This helps you keep your embroidery straight whilst pushing in the frame base.
  • Hoopmaster Framing Station – This is the only framing station that does the complete job without any skill required from the operator. You have two basic parts, the station itself and the fixture for each and every size and shape of frame you use on it. Once you have marked the first garment with the centre of the embroidery position, you then place this over the station. Next you insert the correct fixture into place on the station board using the peg holes. The fixture can be moved left to right as well as up and down. The station has a collar and a straight line down the centre. Using the straight line and the station neck position your garment so as the seams are in the correct place along the shoulder and sides of the garment. On your job sheet take a note of the garment style and size. Use the markings on the station to show the top position of the neck line for example ‘F’ and the position of the fixture on the station for example ‘30’. Now you know this setting, every time the customer orders this garment in this size the embroidery will go in exactly the same place and straight. Next you place your ring inside the fixture and the frame base on the plastic arms of the fixture. The base can only be held in one position which is perfect centre and straight. You simply press the frame base into the ring and your garment is ready for embroidery.

Critical factors

The most important points to remember are:

  • Agree with your customer where they want the embroidery before bulk production.
  • Always keep a job sheet with details of the customer, the logo, the position of the embroidery (e.g. left chest) the style of garment and the size. This way any operator can pick up the job sheet and set up the framing station without any skill.
  • During the framing up process it is important to set aside any garments that do not sit straight on the framing station as these could have been badly stitched. It is a very rare issue, but can occur. Once you have embroidered this garment your supplier will not take it back.

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