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24 Sep

What is Embroidery?

What is Embroidery?

Embroidery is a craft of applying decorative designs onto fabrics or other materials with a needle and a thread. These designs are composed of various patterns created by different kinds of stitches. Traditional hand stitching was the only option until the middle of the 19th century when the first hand machine was invented. Along with the technological evolution, computerized machines and embroidery digitizing made the process easier and faster for industrialization purposes.

It can be used in fashion garments, home décor, and artwork including hats, dresses, denim, table cloths, bedsheets, and much more. It may also incorporate embellishments like beads, pearls, sequins, and quills for an attractive look. Apart from that, the reliability and efficiency ofembroidery digitizing softwareand computerized machines have created good marketing opportunities for businesses through custom embroidery. It is mostly used for custom artworks, logo designs, andlettering on all sorts of clothing and fabrics.

A Brief History of Embroidery

Embroidery has existed in various forms, in every culture across the globefor ages. Among other decorative art forms, it continues to be a timeless choice for crafters and artisans. In 1964, archeologists excavated fossilized remains of a hunter clad in embroidered garments in Russia which dated back to 30,000 BCE.

In ancient times, the production of garments was so expensive that they were rarely disposed ofand were mended instead. Over time, this practice evolved into a form of decorative arts.Since then, different cultures have shaped this art into what it is now.

How to Embroider?

As a beginner, you need to start with the knowledge of the tools required for embroidery. Using these tools, you can learn to perform some simple stitches. You need needles, threads, scissors, marker, frame, and fabric for basic patterns.

Frames (hoops) – Hoops are made up of 2 rings that sit inside each other and a screw to keep the fabric taut. It ensures that stitching does not pucker.

Markers – You will need a water-soluble marker or tailor’s chalk/pencilto transfer your design onto the fabric.

Threads (floss) – Some threads have single-strand and others have multiple strands, so they come in varied thicknesses. You can choose it according to the look you want.

Before you start stitching, there are some steps you should follow for the best results.

Prewash –Wash, dry, and iron the fabric just like you plan to treat it in the future. Without prewashing, fabrics like cotton and linens may shrink in different amounts.

Stabilize – Stabilizing/interfacing gives the fabric an extra body to support heavy needlework. It keeps the fabric from stretching out of the shape.

After the preparations, you can start with an appropriate design. There are different ways to start and end the embroidery. You can use the loop, waste knot, double backstitch, or normal knot to start it. You can close your design by weaving the last threads or with some back stitches.

Conclusion

There are several types of stitches you can use to create your designs. If you have never stitched before, you can start by practicing basic stitches like cross-stitch, chain stitch, back stitch, fern stitch, etc.

However, computerized embroidery is completely different, for which you need to use various digitizing software programs and machines to execute them.

24 Sep

Kinds of Embroidery

Kinds of Embroidery

The history of clothing and textiles suggests that the process of patching, mending and reinforcing the cloth led to the development of embroidery craft. This craft has existed since the Upper Paleolithic Period (Old Stone Age), which has been inherited into various cultures across the globe. This craft worldwide can be distinguished by different sewing techniques and the decorations incorporated into it.

Once upon a time, this art became popular among women in wealthy families. However, around the year 1900, it opened out from the preserves of the upper-class and became a favourite pastime for a lot of females. It was no longer done just on expensive fabrics, but on other fabrics as well. During the Industrial Revolution, machines were invented that enabled its mass production. Machines continued to evolve and now using embroidery digitizing, we can stitch out any simple to complex designs on our clothing material.

Types of Embroidery

Embroidery can be classified on the basis of the level to which the quality of the base fabric is used into the design and by the placement of the stitches onto the fabric. There are three main categories as follows:

  • Free or surface embroidery: The designs are applied using decorative stitches on top of the underlying fabric rather than through the fabric.

Examples:

  • Crewelwork – The designs are made using wool threads.
  • Traditional Japanese and Chinese embroidery
  • Counted-thread embroidery: In this type, the embroiderer stitches over a predetermined number of threads in the foundation fabric. Mostly, the even-weave fabric is used as a base material such as embroidery canvas, Aida cloth or specially woven cotton and linen fabrics.

Examples:

  • Assisi work – The background is filled with cross-stitch and the main motif of the design is left blank with an outline.
  • Hardanger embroidery – Designs are made with white thread on white even-weave cloth. It is also called as whitework.
  • Blackwork
  • Needlepoint or canvas work: Threads are stitched through the canvas to create a dense pattern that completely covers the base material.

Examples:

  • Bargello – The motifs are created by vertical stitches combined with the stepping of colours to form geometrical shapes and patterns such as flame zigzag, diamonds, etc.
  • Berlin wool work – The designs are executed on the canvas using wool yarn. Traditional Berlin wool work contains many hues and colours that produce seemingly three-dimensional patterns.

Apart from these, there are various othertypes of embroidery. They reflect our cultural heritage,and reflectthe techniques and fabrics that were available in different regions at different times. Jacobean embroidery, cutwork, Chikankari, Phulkari, Zardozi, Kashidakari are some more techniques that have inspired generations of designers over the years.

Machine Embroidery Classifications

Machine embroidery can be classified into two categories based on machines and their functionalities:

  • Free-motion machine embroidery: Designs are created using a simple zigzag sewing machine.
  • Computerized machine embroidery: This uses computer-controlled machines that are specifically engineered for embroidery. E.g. applique and 3d puff embroidery.

Presently, most of the commercial embroidery work is done using embroidery digitizing software and computerized machines. One of its popular use is customized embroidery, in which the business logos and monograms are embroidered on all sorts of apparel.

Conclusion

There are countless types of embroidery developed by the human race over time that are currently in practice, and are used by the people in different regions. Also, as the modern computerized embroidery is evolving, we are still exploring new techniques and fabrics to work with.

24 Sep

Manual and computerized embroidery

Manual and computerized embroidery

Introduction

The art of embroidery has always been prevalent in various cultures across the globe. Simply put, art has evolved from just patching, mending, and reinforcing of fabric to the high-level decorative art and folk art in different communities. After a while, the industrial revolution changed how and in what amount it was being produced.

Computer-controlled machines and embroidery digitizing techniques are leading the mass-production of embroidered goods. This modern customized embroidery can be seen everywhere in our daily lifestyle from shirts and dresses to tablecloths and shoes. Although, manual embroidery also exists and prevails over a section of the industry that produces highly unique and collectible designs.

Manual Embroidery

Manual or hand embroidery refers to the needlework done by hand. Supplies needed for this handcraft are limited, so it’s easy to get started without a huge investment. Basic tools required to start embroidering include fabric, thread, needle, scissors, and hoop/frame. The base fabric is tightly stretched over a wooden or plastic hoop. A water-soluble marker is used to draw a personalized design on the fabric. Other materials like fabric stabilizers and canvases can be used depending upon the design.

The crafter has to decide what color of thread and the stitch type are to be employed in the design. Hand stitching will always result in a unique piece of work, even if exact threads and patterns are replicated. The thread (silk, cotton, or wool) used in hand embroidery is stranded, which can be separated for flatter/delicate look or can be combined for a different texture.

Manual handcraft can produce various types of embroidery, of different textures using various stitches like backstitch, chain stitch, blanket stitch, and satin stitch.

Examples – Crewelwork, blackwork, stumpwork, thread painting, and freestyle.

Computerized Embroidery

In computerized embroidery, the concepts of basic stitches, cross-stitching, and freestyle have all remained the same. The main change is the mechanizing of the process. It is done by computer-controlled machines that may have single or multiple needles, each with different threads loaded. This multi-needle machines may have multiple sewing heads so that it can sew the same design onto several pieces of clothing at the same time. Most machine embroidery requires fabric stabilizers to ensure that the underlying fabric doesn’t wrinkle.

The pre-designed patterns are loaded into the machine using embroidery digitizing software. The crafter can choose from plenty of designs or can create a customized embroidery design. You cannot edit the design on the go. The thread used in computerized embroidery is heavier, typically made of polyester, metallic, or rayon.

Each sewing head can produce effects like running stitch, chain stitch and satin stitch. The computerized machines can now majorly imitate the complex handcraft of the past.

Examples – Cutwork, appliqué, Sequin and 3D puff embroidery.

Conclusion

A hand-embroidered work is more personal and requires an investment of time to incorporate minute details and creativity. This type of work often creates unique, royal, and heavily-embroidered pieces.

On the other hand, computerized embroidery produces professional-looking designs in very less time comparatively. There is a broad range of designs available today that can be applied to every possible garment, accessories, and décor products.

24 Sep

Embroidery Machine Evolution

Embroidery Machine Evolution

Embroidery has been around for more decades than we would like to think of. All types of needlework, decorative or otherwise was done by hand only until the mid-19th century when the first hand-embroidery machine was invented in 1828 by JosuéHeilmann.

The machine required an operator to move the fabric with a hand crank and to guide the needles through the pattern. Despite the type of assistance required, the machine was efficient enough to save the labour of four (manual) hand embroiderers.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the first multi-head embroidery machine was introduced, which allowed the users to embroider multiple pieces at the same time. However, it took quite some time to become popular as it posed a serious threat to the hand embroidery industry. The first computerized embroidery machine was introduced in the year 1980. Soon, it was followed by multiple variations with updated technologies such as embroidery digitizing.

Thereafter, Wilcom and Melco were two of the pioneer companies that contributed towards automating the embroidery industry. Wilcom introduced the first embroidery design system for embroidery that could run on a minicomputer. Whereas, Melco created the embroidery sample head that discarded manual sewing of the design sample, which later became the first computer-controlled machine to be marketed to home sewers.

Types of Embroidery Machine

In the past few decades, machines have made the embroidery process really efficient and cost-effective. There are mainly three types of computerized machine – single-head, multi-head and schiffli embroidery machine.

Single-head machines are widely popular for personal use. Whereas, multi-head and schiffli machines are used commercially. Schiffli machine is a fully automated, multi-needle machine that uses a lock stitch to create machine embroidery and certain types of lace.

Machine Embroidery Process

The process of machine embroidery consists of the following steps:

  • Creating an embroidery design: You can either create the design files using industry-specific embroidery digitizing software or can purchase them. Design file formats broadly fall under two categories – source formats are specific to the software used to create the design and machine formats are machine-specific and contain stitch data, machine functions (stitch, trims and jumps).
  • Loading the design:  After editing and finalizing the design, load the file into the machine. Different machines require different file formats according to the manufacturing company, so you may need to convert the files accordingly.
  • Stabilizing the fabric: The base fabric must be stabilized to prevent wrinkles or any other problems. There are several types of stabilizers available such as cut-away, tear-away, water-soluble, etc. The stabilizing method depends on the type of machine, fabric and design stitch density.
  • Embroidering the design: After adjusting the needle over the start point of the design, you can start the machine. Thereafter, the operator has to monitor the embroidery machine and troubleshoot errors when they arise. Multi-head commercial machines are fully automated but the single-head home machines require manual cutting and changing of threads.

Conclusion

Digitizing and automation of the process make machine embroidery commercially adaptable and more profitable than manual work. It also offers a wide range of designs and special effects including appliqués, foam, 3D puff, sequins, etc. However, the quality of the final product depends on the base material, stabilizer choice, design size and type of thread.

24 Sep

Applications and uses of Embroidery: Past vs. Present

Applications and uses of Embroidery: Past vs. Present

The word embroidery originates from the French word broderie, which means embellishment. Recorded history, paintings and sculptures depicting various civilizations show how people wore embroidered clothing with embellishments like precious stones and pearls.

Apart from decorative clothing, this art flourished as the means to demonstrate power and royalty in Europe around the year 1000. Since then, richly-embroidered garments and ornaments started being used for home furnishing in the form of wall hangings and tablecloths.

It also became a folk art in many parts of the world—E.g. Hardanger from Norway and Nakshi Kantha from Bangladesh and West Bengal.

Nowadays, this decorative craft is used almost the same as before in fashion clothing, home décor, artwork and accessories. The craft has evolved in terms of materials, techniques and accessibility. The principal difference being the method of production, most of the contemporary needlework is stitched with computerized machines and embroidery digitizing software. 

Embroidery Software

Today, automation is inevitable for every industry and the machine embroidery is doing great on that front. All the commercial embroidery machines now allow you to sew designs automatically. You only need to digitize your embroidery using embroidery software provided by the manufacturers.

EmbroideryStudio e4 by Wilcom and TAJIMA DG16 by Pulse are two of the latest embroidery software from leading companies in the industry. Embroidery software contains numerous editing, designing tools and a workspace to create custom embroidery designs. Using this software, you can add to your design a lot of predefined shapes, monograms, letters of different languages in various fonts and other elements. The advanced software also offers auto-digitizing features for faster digitizing.

Machine Embroidery

Computer-controlled sewing machines are used commercially for the mass production of embroidered goods. Machine embroidery can be seen on all sorts of apparel items, home furnishing products, accessories and any textile material that can be reinforced.

Usually, it is used to decorate caps, coats, dresses, shirts, denim and golf shirts. Businesses largely use custom embroidery to add monograms and logos on business shirts, jackets, gifts and team apparel.

Computerized machines also mimic the handwork of the past on home décor items such as curtains, pillow covers, quilts, table linens, etc. But that’s not all. Embroidery digitizing technique and specifically engineered machines have made it easy to stitch designs on various materials. So, it is also used to decorate all kinds of fashion accessories, including shoes, purses, earrings, bandana, shawls, laptop sleeves, neckpieces, etc.

Embroidery as an Art

Embroidery artists use their needles in diverse and complex ways to investigate a variety of concerns, exploring themes including cultural history, memory and pop culture.

Examples – Artist Sophia Narrett converts history paintings, meticulously rendering suburban architecture, blooming gardens and the human body in the thread. While another artist Kent Henricksen combines his paintings with layers of embroidery.

Today, these customized and symbolic embroidery artworks are gaining presence in museums and galleries.

Conclusion

One of the main uses of embroidery is to decorate clothing. However, the invention of embroidery machines has created great opportunities for the artisans and designers to conveniently experiment and use it on different materials.

24 Sep

Applications and uses of Embroidery: Past vs. Present

Applications and uses of Embroidery: Past vs. Present

The word embroidery originates from the French word broderie, which means embellishment. Recorded history, paintings and sculptures depicting various civilizations show how people wore embroidered clothing with embellishments like precious stones and pearls.

Apart from decorative clothing, this art flourished as the means to demonstrate power and royalty in Europe around the year 1000. Since then, richly-embroidered garments and ornaments started being used for home furnishing in the form of wall hangings and tablecloths.

It also became a folk art in many parts of the world—E.g. Hardanger from Norway and Nakshi Kantha from Bangladesh and West Bengal.

Nowadays, this decorative craft is used almost the same as before in fashion clothing, home décor, artwork and accessories. The craft has evolved in terms of materials, techniques and accessibility. The principal difference being the method of production, most of the contemporary needlework is stitched with computerized machines and embroidery digitizing software. 

Embroidery Software

Today, automation is inevitable for every industry and the machine embroidery is doing great on that front. All the commercial embroidery machines now allow you to sew designs automatically. You only need to digitize your embroidery using embroidery software provided by the manufacturers.

EmbroideryStudio e4 by Wilcom and TAJIMA DG16 by Pulse are two of the latest embroidery software from leading companies in the industry. Embroidery software contains numerous editing, designing tools and a workspace to create custom embroidery designs. Using this software, you can add to your design a lot of predefined shapes, monograms, letters of different languages in various fonts and other elements. The advanced software also offers auto-digitizing features for faster digitizing.

Machine Embroidery

Computer-controlled sewing machines are used commercially for the mass production of embroidered goods. Machine embroidery can be seen on all sorts of apparel items, home furnishing products, accessories and any textile material that can be reinforced.

Usually, it is used to decorate caps, coats, dresses, shirts, denim and golf shirts. Businesses largely use custom embroidery to add monograms and logos on business shirts, jackets, gifts and team apparel.

Computerized machines also mimic the handwork of the past on home décor items such as curtains, pillow covers, quilts, table linens, etc. But that’s not all. Embroidery digitizing technique and specifically engineered machines have made it easy to stitch designs on various materials. So, it is also used to decorate all kinds of fashion accessories, including shoes, purses, earrings, bandana, shawls, laptop sleeves, neckpieces, etc.

Embroidery as an Art

Embroidery artists use their needles in diverse and complex ways to investigate a variety of concerns, exploring themes including cultural history, memory and pop culture.

Examples – Artist Sophia Narrett converts history paintings, meticulously rendering suburban architecture, blooming gardens and the human body in the thread. While another artist Kent Henricksen combines his paintings with layers of embroidery.

Today, these customized and symbolic embroidery artworks are gaining presence in museums and galleries.

Conclusion

One of the main uses of embroidery is to decorate clothing. However, the invention of embroidery machines has created great opportunities for the artisans and designers to conveniently experiment and use it on different materials.

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