Decoration Basics: Unraveling the Decoration Method of Embroidery

If you searched through your closet, you’d likely find a few embroidered items. Whether it’s a baseball cap with your favorite team’s mascot or a shirt with your company’s logo, these products share one similarity — their designs were produced stitch by stitch with needle and thread.

Embroidery is a popular decoration method for textiles due to its classy finish. This decoration method produces a raised, textured look known for adding perceived value to basic items. Each design is made from a combination of stitching types. Run stitches are used for tiny details, while satin stitches are used for text, larger details, and thick borders. As its name suggests, fill stitches are used to fill large areas. The stitch count of your design will depend on the size and complexity of the design such as the inclusion of a drop shadow or outlined letters. In general, one square inch of embroidery

is approximately 2,000 stitches.


While embroidery can be done by hand, it is not as efficient as digital methods. In the promotional product industry, embroidery is automated by high-tech machinery. To begin the embroidery process, a digitized file is loaded onto the machine. The machine’s software uses this file to understand the tread color and sequencing of the design. Next, a frame is added to the fabric’s imprint area and is placed under the machine’s needle. Once the machine is started, the needle will move across the specified field adding individual stitches at a rapid pace. Once the machine stops, any excess thread is removed, and garments are inspected for inconsistencies.


When selecting embroidery as the decoration method, it is important to keep several things in mind:


1) Textile Type

The material you choose to embroider affects the stitch’s appearance. With advanced technologies, many fabrics can be sewn on. However, some products produce a nicer looking stitch such as dry-fit polos and sweatshirts.


2) Design Complexity

Since designs are created stitch by stitch, it is important to simplify artwork and ensure elements are large enough. For example, letters should be at least ¼” while gradients and layered elements should be avoided. Your goal should be a clean and crisp design that will show up clearly on the product you select.


3) File Format

Embroidery machines require a specific type of file format known as a digitized embroidery file. Through digitization, a vector art file is converted into a sequence of instructions that the machine interprets. This file type is essential, as the embroidery machine cannot function without it.


Need help selecting the right product for your custom embroidery project? Email projects@promoassets.com to speak with a member of our team.