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The Ins and Outs of High-Volume Embroidery

(April 2007) posted on Mon Apr 02, 2007

This article discusses the equipment and accessories involved in the process and describes the floor plans that will help you optimize the embroidery workflow.


By Sherry Higgins

click an image below to view slideshow

Aerosol spray adhesives are great for holding die cuts, puffy foam, backing, and fabrics in place. Compressed-air sprays can be used to remove lint and dust and to keep the rotary hook and bobbin cases of your embroidery machines clean.

To minimize operating down-time, keep spare machine parts on hand, such as rotary hooks, bobbin cases, presser feet, needle set screws, hoop screws, any small screws or items that can be dropped during use, and hoop rings. You can find many of the tools you'll need at any hardware store. Keep a few Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers and ball-headed Allen wrenches handy. Most machines use metric fasteners. Stock your shop with a hot knife to seal and cut fabric edges to prevent unraveling. Use tweezers for threading needles and for holding thread while trimming from embroidery work. Also purchase a heat-sealing tool that has a non-stick Teflon coating and variable temperature control to use for heat-activated appliqué, as well as pen oilers for oiling rotary hooks and for hard to reach areas.

Miscellaneous accessories include ink pens to touch up unsightly bobbin thread and small goofs that require filling small areas, soapstone marking pens for temporary marking on fabrics, and invisible marking pens to mark different type of fabrics (marks disappear with water and time).

Additionally, every embroidery shop needs a steamer, which removes ring impressions and hoop marks from garments after they've been embroidered. Steamers also can be useful for removing the small pieces of topping that remain within the small areas of your design.

The art of digitizing

Digitizing or punching designs is the process of converting artwork, such as vector or raster artwork into digital embroidery. This can be done by the use of digitizing software and a skillful digitizing artist to interpret that particular design. Digitizing can only be done correctly and with good results when the digitizer has strong knowledge of and experience with the sewing process and the properties of various fabrics and threads. Just because you can make a design look great on the computer doesn't guarantee that it will look good when sewn.


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