Things to consider when selling to a customer:
- Design size - With each cap brand having it's own characteristics, the design will have to be adjusted in some way. Industry Standards: 6 panel low profile, unconstructed typically 52mm H x 110mm W; 5 panel & 6 panel pro (FlexFit style) typically 60mm H x 110mm W.
- Cap frames - Most cap frames and cap drivers are adjustable. Although some people don't bother with this and 'play it safe' by insisting on smaller cap designs. Take the extra time to adjust the frames and drivers, make notes (save them along with the customers order info) and you'll be ahead of the game in the pursuit of quality & customers.
- Hooping - Hopefully you paid attention when the trainer/tech was showing how to do this! It takes some practice, but really is quite easy when the frame is adjusted to fit the style of cap your using. Bend the brim forward, to help flatten the sewing space above the brim & create a flatter sewing surface, less space between the cap & needle plate is optimum.
- Needle Plates & Needles - Newer machines do not require a change of needle plates, whew!- But some do, so make the effort. Needles are ever increasing in durability- Titanium is a great investment.
- SPM (Stitches Per Minute) - No matter who tells you "your machine can run at 1000 spm with no problem," the fact is, the slower the speed (not too slow!), the better registration. Yep, the machines can handle the high speeds, no problem (Tajima, of course), but at 850 or higher, the last couple of heads on multi-head machines don't sew designs so well due to vibration. Slowing the speed will increase production time a bit, but if your design is 'production-friendly,' your time won't be that big of an issue.
- Industry standards seem to favor the medium weight cut way for multipurpose. Of course, when combined or switched with other weights, the results can produce better quality.
- WEBLON or No-Show (light weight mesh backing) is an excellent backing for t-shirt & light fabrics. Combine it with a medium tearaway & solvey (water-soluble topping)for exceptional embroidery.
- Tear away is great for wovens & heavier fabrics and provides stability but no 'give' like the cutaway. Cardboard for caps...don't even think about using it! It's a Bio-degradable product!- when the customer wears (and sweats in)the cap, that cardboard stabilizer weakens and, in time, disintegrates, leaving the embroidery loose and snaggable. (It is the lame way to get a job done with out editing a designs' registration or pull comp problems).
- Artists' Newsprint is actually a good tearaway for doing patches.
3-D Foam applications
- Loosen up the tension (1 -1 1/2 turns,counter clockwise on the top knob of the head) for the needles sewing the foam.
- Run the design at 650 - 850 RPM. Along with registration, this will ensure accurate needle perforations.
- Use a Standard needle, the DBxK5 SAN« 1 GEBEDUR« RG-Point, works wonders. Although Sharps will cut the foam more smoothly, they also tend to produce more debris. Do not use sharps when embroidering foam over an existing fill, this shreds the fill stitches. Ball points separate the foam nicely, but if you do not have the proper density, those 'little fuzzies' will be sticking out of the satin stitches. So, you may need to experiment with what works best in your shop.
- When the needle perforates the foam (as with Buckram), particle flakes/debris are produced. This builds up under the needle plate, so be sure to clean often during your runs.
- The 'little fuzzies' will shrink back under the satins when a heat gun is used. The nose of some snippers works well for pushing the foam back into the satin stitches. Note: The 3-D foam made specifically for embroidery is not flame-retardant, so use caution!
Machine OperatorsYes, they are people too! Speaking from experience, I have to say, it is wonderful to work for a good employer, an employer that knows how to operate a machine, hoop a cap, change frames, & maintain machines.
Remember to check up on your operators once in awhile, if they aren't happy, you will probably see it in the final product's quality (or lack there-of). Give your machine operators a 'thank you' for doing a great job - it means a lot to someone drudging away at the machines eight hours a day without much in return when it comes to cash.
I worked with many operators that, though thankful for having the job, were frustrated in the demands of the production supervisor. It takes time for quality: Needles need to be changed or solvey or special backings may be needed for a job. This all takes more time!
It behooves any shop owner to get to know what their employees' responsibilities are & how they do their job. You may have insight to teach them something new, and they might show you an aspect of the system that never occurred to you.
If you digitize, be sure they know what to look for when sewing a sample & they can convey the proper info back to you if it needs adjustment. I haved often heard the age old blame for poor embroidery: production says, "It's in the digitizing," or digitizing says, "Its' the way they have the machines running."
How would you know? Here are some things you and your operator(s) should be familiar with:
- Know what backings & toppings should be used on each specific fabric from pique to leather to caps to ties.
- Know what needles & thread weight combos should be applied to which digitized designs to produce a quality production piece.
- Know what hoop or hooping technique will best suit the application.
- Know what tensions for specific thread types are needed on the machine.
- Know when the machine needs oil & how to do basic maintenance.
- Understsnd basic troubleshooting techniques for birds nests, registration issues, tensioners, bobbin cases, needle installation, trimmers, and digitizing issues (including density, thread length, color changes, trims, sewing sequences, puff foam, etc.).
- Know how to estimate run times efficiently, including QC, pre-pro set up, finishing for each order/run.
- Know how to trim, repair, steam, fold and pack a garment.
- Know how to document designs & other important information for the next time.
If you're all on the same page, it makes for a better work environment for everyone!
Design PlacementAbove the Pocket
Design baseline should be one fingers' width (about 1 1/4" ) above pocket. be sure to align hoop with the top edge of pocket!
Cap Center front
Design baseline should be 1/2" above the brim seam.
For most text and logos,the base line is a distance of 1/2" above the hem stitching.
The design should be centered between the panel seams and 1" above the bottom edge of the cap side.
Top edge of design should be at least 4" down from the basic mock and crew- neck lines. Some necklines, like scoop- necks, boat or ballet- necks will require a 2" to 3" space from top edge to neck line.This will also depend on the design size an gender of garment wearer.
Horizontally line up the arm pit seams, the center of the design should be about 2" above that 'line'. If the design is very large, be sure there is at least 5" to 6" space between the center neck line and the top edge of your design.
Center the design down from where the shoulder & neck seams meet. You don't want the logo in the armpit, so do a visual and mark the area before you sew.
Women= 6 1/2" to 7" down, over from center of placket 3 1/2" to 4" Most women's garments will require the design placement to be slightly above the normal place ment.
Men= 8" to 9" down, over from center of placket 4" to 5" XXLs and larger will alter the placement by 1/2"
Names and initials are placed on the left front unless otherwise specified.
- Cuff: Fold the left cuff in half, center the monogram 1" from the fold (towards the button hole) and 1/2" up from the hem stitching. The base line of the text would be about 1/4" above the seam stitching.
- Placket: Center between the 2nd & 3rd buttons
- Hand Towel: the baseline should be 1 1/2" above the border
- Bath Towel: the baseline should be 2" above the border
- Wash Cloth: the baseline should be 1" above the border or on a corner.
- Bath Mat: center
- Sheets: the baseline of the monogram should fall 2" above the wide hem and be centered.
- Pillowcases: center the monogram between the edge and seam stitching.
Match the seams up and locate the center fold on the front of the left leg. The design baseline should be at least 1 1/4" above the hem stitching. Center the design between the side seam and the center crease.
Use a soft cut away on silk, center the design 2" to 2 1/2" from the center bottom tip.
Center the design 1 1/2" to 2" down from the center back seam.
Monogram TipsThere seems to be a few universal rules about monograms that you will need to apply when working with your customer to decide how their initials will be embroidered on the shirt:
- The initials should be small and tasteful.
- The initials should be embroidered with a basic color or tone-on-tone thread.Such as navy, charcoal, dark khaki or black thread, so the monogram will go well with a variety of suit ensambles.
- There should only be one set of initials on a shirt.Make the initials either ╝-inch or 3/8-inch high depending on choice of font.Remember: Less Is More.
Cuff monograms are usually placed on the left cuff. This custom came about because people generally wear their watches on their left wrist and would see their monogram when glancing at their watch. To monogram a cuff, fold the cuff in half, with the buttonhole facing right. The center point of the initials should be 1 inch to the right of the fold, with the bottom of the initials 3/8-inch from the bottom edge of the cuff. Two alternate cuff initials are:
- Fold the cuff in half with the buttonhole again facing right. The center point of the initials is 2-1/2 inches to the left of the buttonhole, with the bottom of the initials 3/8-inch from the edge of the cuff.
- The center point of the initials is directly across from the buttonhole, 2-1/2 inches to the left of the button hole.
French Cuff Placement
French cuffs can be tricky because the fold is not always in the center of the cuff. Keep a cuff link by your machine, so you can correctly put the cuff in wearing position. Find the center point the same way you would on a regular cuff. However, the bottom of the initials should be 1/8-inch from the bottom of the cuff fold. You must be clear when you hoop the cuff, that you are embroidering the initials to read correctly when the shirt is worn.
The most common pocket monogram is in the top center of the pocket. Center the initials on the top border. There are two alternate pocket monograms. First, one can center the initials on the pocket itself. To find the center point, square off the bottom of the pocket and make the center point of the initials the center of the square. Second, consider left-justifying the initials directly above the inside edge of the pocket.
If your customer wants initials on a collar, either collar is acceptable to use. The center point of the initials should be 1 inch above the buttonhole of the collar (see Figure 3, initials RSL). If there is no buttonhole, center the initials 1-1/4 inch to 1-3/8 inch above the collar point.
See also Thread Tips
Check back often for more embroidery tips!