Machine Embroidery on Jackets

Of all the different wearable items that can be embroidered, jackets would appear to be the easiest. When most of think of jackets in terms of embroidery, large areas for full back and left chest designs come to mind. What many of us often forget are the little curveballs apparel manufacturers are adding into their designs such as box pleats and seams down the back. Fashion forward styles may have things like raglan sleeves which can throw off design placement since they lack the guideline of a shoulder seam.

One sure way to begin with a jacket that is fit for embroidery is to focus on working with styles that give the fewest headaches. Therefore, do some research on the newest trends. In addition, start with a machine that is in top notch condition, with fresh needles and bobbins. Below are the other basic elements to consider in your quest for trouble-free jacket embroidery.

Choosing a hoop

The best choice in hoops for jackets is the double-high hoop. This hoop is taller than the average hoop so offers more holding power. You can wrap your hoop with white floral tape, medical gauze, twill tape or bias tape to prevent hoop marks and help give a snug fit. Tissue paper, backing or waxed paper can also be used. Hoop these materials on top of the jacket, then cut a window for the embroidery. A thin layer of foam under the tape can also help. But avoid masking tape as it tends to be sticky and leaves a residue on jacket and hoop. When choosing your hoops, remember that oval hoops hold better all the way around than do square hoops with oval corners. The “square oval” holds better in the corners than on the sides, top and bottom.

Needles

The size and type of needle will depend on the fabric of the jacket. Leather jackets call for an 80/12 sharp. (Wedge shaped “leather” needles tend to do more harm than good.) Use this same sharp needle on poplin and other cotton-type jackets. Use a 70/10 or 80/12 light ballpoint on nylon windbreakers and a 75/11 fine ballpoint on satins and oxford nylons to avoid runs in the fabric. Heavy wool jackets, canvas and denim jackets require a stronger sharp needle. Corduroy stitches well with either ballpoint or sharp. Remember that ballpoint needles nudge the fabric out of the way in order to place the stitch, while sharps cut through the fabric. A good rule of thumb is to use the same size needle to embroider as you would to sew the seams of the jacket in assembly.

As for thread, polyester is a good choice for embroidery on jackets that will be exposed to the weather and coastal climates. Be sure to include washing and dry cleaning instructions with your finished product. Consider choosing a large-eye needle when working with metallic and other heavy specialty threads

Placing the design

Hold a straight-edge across the jacket back from side seam to side seam at the bottom of the sleeves. Mark a horizontal straight line, then double check this with a measurement from the bottom of the jacket to the same line. Jackets are not always sewn together straight. Measure the straight line and divide in half to find the center of the jacket. Place a vertical line through the horizontal line at this point. The intersection of the two lines will be the center. If you are rotating the design to sew upside-down or sideways, take this into consideration when measuring and later when hooping. Use tailor’s chalk, disappearing ink pens or soap to mark your garments. Avoid using pins. Masking tape is available in thin strips at graphic and art stores. It is easy to remove and leaves no marks. Wider masking tape, though, can leave residue.

Centering the design eight inches down from the back of the collar is a good place to start, and should work with most jackets. Small sizes may do better at six inches; very large ones may end up at 10 inches. The top of the design should fall about 2 ½ inches down from the collar of the jacket. But remember that this will change if the jacket has a hood. Then it will be necessary to place the design below the hood.

The best way to determine the center point of the design is to have someone try the jacket on, or invest in a mannequin. Pin an outline of the design or a sew-out to the back, making sure to include lettering and graphics to determine size and placement. Left or right chest designs should be centered three to four inches from the edge of the jacket and six to eight down from where the collar and the jacket body intersect. When embroidering on jackets with snaps or buttons, use the second snap or button as a guide.

Be careful not to place the design too close to the sleeve side of the jacket. Designs are not to be centered on the left chest. The correct placement is closer to the placket than to the sleeve. The center of a sleeve design should fall three to four inches below the shoulder seam of the sleeve. When placing a design on the sleeve of a raglan style jacket, mark the placement using a live model or a mannequin.
Backings

The complexity of a design will often be the major factor when choosing a backing for embroidery. Stitch intensive designs may need the extra stability backing provides. Even jackets made of fabrics such as poplin and satin (that might not otherwise cry out for a backing) can benefit from its use, especially if the design is complex. Consider attaching the backing to the jacket with spray adhesive before hooping to increase stability. Attaching a piece of light cut-away backing-or even rear-away-to a satin jacket can hold the jacket better while stitching, allowing for good registration in your design. And, if you should need to remove stitching, the presence of a backing can make your job easier and safer. Backing can also prevent residue from coated canvas fabrics from raining down into the bobbin housing.

Most jacket materials do not require topping. The exception to this might be the corduroy or fleece jacket where the use of a topping can tame the fluff of the fleece and prevent stitches from falling into the valleys of the corduroy. The use of underlay does a better job than topping for challenging fabrics-and as an added benefit, it does not wash away.

Hooping technique

When hooping, especially large or bulky items, start from the “fixed” side of the thumbscrew and travel around the hoop to the “free end.” Use the heels of your hands to alleviate stress on your fingers and wrists. When hooping flat on a table, make sure that there is nothing between the hoop and the table. If any adjustment is needed, hold as much of the upper hoop in place as you can while adjusting. This prevents the garment from popping out of the hoop.

Always make sure the jacket lining is smooth, and double check to determine that the outer shell and the lining are even. Turning the sleeves inside out can help with hooping a lined jacket.

Hooping too loosely can cause puckering, too tightly can cause fabric burn. It can also stretch the fabric causing it to “spring back” when unhooped, meaning more puckering. Tips to prevent puckering include lightening the tension upper and lower, using tear-away if lettering is fill, using mid-weight cutaway if lettering or design is satin stitch. Adjust the hoops before hooping the garment and do not pull or stretch the fabric after it is hooped. Puckering is a risk when stitching on satin, and the lighter the weight of the satin, the more the danger of puckers. You will have the best results when the hold is firm. If you can move the satin around in the hoop, it will move while stitching.

A light pressing or steaming of the area to be embroidered can improve results and ensure that lining and jacket are lined up correctly. While you are checking to make sure your bobbins are full, it is a good idea to check that no part of the jacket is doubled up under the hoop. And please make sure you are not sewing pockets shut, especially inner ones.

Hooping the jacket upside-down and reversing the design is a good way to keep the bulk of the jacket away from the needles. Make sure the arms of the jacket are out of the way of any stitching before you begin. Use clothespins, bulldog clips, quilting clips or even large hair clips. Make sure that you support the weight of the jacket during embroidery to prevent the fabric from slipping out of the hoop, and to help ensure good registration. Embroidering jackets on the tabletop instead of in the tubular mode can help prevent the weight of the jacket from hampering the job. Check also to make sure the material is flat against the throat plate. If you can push down the fabric, the presser foot will too, and this can cause flagging. Flagging can cause stitching problems and poor registration.

Invest in Tomorrow’s Collectible Jewelry Today

Wouldn’t it be great to have a time machine that would allow you to go back and buy today’s collectible jewelry at yesterday’s prices? You can do the next best thing by buying jewelry today that will become sought after in the future. Here are eight tips to help you in your search for tomorrow’s collectible jewelry.

1. Quality and craftsmanship

Quality pieces command quality prices. Cheap jewelry is a dime a dozen at flea markets and resale shops. But quality pieces with crystal stones that still shimmer and faux pearls that have retained their luster paired with metal that hasn’t had its finish rubbed or flaked off, will always hold appeal for collectors.

2. Pieces hallmarked with the designer’s name

A designer’s name or mark on a piece adds instant value. It gives an item the cachet of the entire breadth of the designer’s work. Look for a hallmark on the back of pins or brooches, near the clasp of necklaces and bracelets, or on a separate hanging tag in the same finish as the metal.

3. Name recognition

Not every designer becomes well-known. Every collector of vintage jewelry probably has at least one piece in their collection with an obscure hallmark they can’t identify, and that’s fine if they like the piece. But when they come across a piece with an instantly recognizable name, they don’t hesitate to scoop it up. They know they’ve found something special — and they know they’ll be able to sell it in the future to someone who will appreciate the name as well as the style.

4. Small production per piece

The fewer pieces of an item there are in existence, the higher the demand and price. Opt for the offbeat or unusual — as long as you like it — over a generic piece with mass appeal. While both will have resale value if they’re made well, the unique piece should prove harder to find, thus driving up its resale price. If a more expensive item captures your heart, remember that fewer people buy a higher priced item which can create increased demand in the future.

5. Limited Edition pieces

A Limited Edition eliminates the guesswork of how many pieces were made. Limited Edition pieces should be stamped with both the total number in the Edition and the number of each particular piece. For example, piece number 12 in an addition of 250 will most likely be stamped on back “Ltd. Ed. 12/250”. If you buy a piece that isn’t stamped with the actual edition, but instead has a Certificate of Authenticity with that information, be sure to keep the Certificate with the item to ensure you get the optimum resale price in the future.

6. Thematic pieces

Look for pieces that will have crossover appeal to at least two groups of collectors. For example, Christmas jewelry is sought after by both jewelry collectors and Christmas collectors. If it’s an angel, you’ll add angel collectors to your list of potential buyers as well. The more people you have vying for an item, the higher your selling price will be.

7. Assurance of authenticity

Buy from a reputable retailer. Designers in all fields are plagued by knock-offs. An Authorized Reseller protects your investment by ensuring that you’re getting the genuine articles you’re paying for.

8. Buy what you like

This is the Cardinal Rule for collectors. You’ll never go wrong buying what you like. Today’s joy won’t be diminished if you aren’t able to sell something at a profit tomorrow. And if you truly love something — you probably won’t want to part with it anyway!

Remember these eight tips and you’ll have a much better chance of being happy today — and tomorrow — with your jewelry purchases!

Click here for information on one of today’s most prominent jewelry designers.

A Few Hints to Help Choose the Right Pair of High Heeled Shoes

High Heeled Shoes Gigi HadidThere are a world of assorted types of high heeled shoes, including pumps, platforms, sandals, wedges and high heeled boots for ladies…there is also the increasing trend for men to now wear heels, this indicates just how many styles today’s shoe fashion embraces. Heels don’t have to be too high to be in fashion and acceptable …so here are a few ideas for choosing the right pair of high heeled shoes:

Choose the right heel and shoe shape for your legs…. If legs are too thick, heels with a pointed toe may seem much smaller and may make feet look out of proportion with the rest of the body. Find a heel that makes the legs look in proportion with the shoes. Many people make their legs appear leaner by choosing a wider design in heeled shoes. Heels that are too sturdy may make your legs look sturdy also.

What shoes are suitable for an outfit?

Color, dress length and style are critical to shoe choice, as an example, if very high heels such as stiletto are worn with a mini skirt there is real danger of the wrong message being given out. A pair of heels will enhance the look of long skirts on a shorter person but take note of the height of the heel as the dress or skirt must not appear too long or too short. A full length dress does not require elaborate shoes because they will not be visible. Mid height heels may be more suitable for knee length outfits.

Be careful of wearing highly decorative shoes with a longer dress particularly as they may conflict with the dress details. Extravagant shoes achieve better results with shorter dresses. Simple classic heels are more suited to longer elaborate dresses. Avoid black shoes with pastel outfits unless bags and belts are coordinated. If wearing jeans, the shape of the bottom of the jean leg can also determine the type of heels that should be worn. Platform heels can be great with jeans and if the jeans are longer the impression is that you are taller which can be a bonus!

Safety…. With high heels and stilettos, beware of strappy shoes. They can look super sexy but ankles can be twisted easily. Take care that straps are firmly attached and the heel chosen is well balanced. Maybe choose a wedge heel. An additional idea would be to roughen the bottoms of new heels which can avert a nasty accident on the dance floor.

Flexibility…. Wedge heeled shoes can provide greater flexibility and can give all the ‘leg slimming’ and ‘extra height’ benefits of a heel that’s not so high. They are great with mid and mini skirts and are great for wearing to the office. heeled boots can also be very flexible and can be worn with almost all outfits. They are great with skirts and suitable for office wear.

Comfort…. High heels don’t have to mean ‘super high heels’ or stilettos which can be very painful if not selected properly, and they are also not geared for walking too far in. If heels do need to go hand in hand with comfort, which is a sensible option..then a lower heel or a kitten heel should be selected. Maybe choose a style with squared-off toes or open toes and shorter, chunkier heels instead of stilettos or maybe, again, the all round wedge heel which slopes the foot gently and supports the whole of the foot area. Wedge heels are good for the office because they can be worn for longer periods of time without too much strain on the foot. maybe shop later in the day as feet swell as the day goes on. Also break them in in advance if one intends to wear them to a special function. Ultimately, the heel height one chooses should be determined by how many aches and pains one can allow oneself.

Sex appeal….Sandals with heels and boots with heels are very, very, sexy, and very versatile as well. In addition to enhancing ones femininity, sandals fastened at the ankle, or higher up the leg, will draw attention to legs as well as feet. Most sandals, including flip flops, some of which do fall under the category of high heeled shoes, have small, delicate heels, called kitten heels, which gives them a look that can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on what one prefers.