The embroidery of a monogram or logo is performed by a machine that has up to twelve sewing needles, using a computer program that has translated a graphic into a machine executable file. That file is known as an EMB or DST file. The embroidery / sewing machine holds a portion of a garment, bag or fabric in a strong grip using hoops. The green round thing near the bottom of the left photo is the hoop and it is attached to arms that hold the fabric in place. Most commercial embroidery machines are multi-ton monsters that are very stationary and have as many as 16 heads. It is the hoop that moves left to right, forward or backward as various needles penetrate the fabric and delivers thread in a way that eventually completes the programmed design.
When we embroider an order, the price the customer pays takes into consideration that any order, whether it is for one garment or 1,000 garments, occupies the entire machine during the embroidery process. If we are sewing, for example, five shirts, ALL heads are running the one computer program with your logo whether there is fabric under it or not. The term DEPRECIATION is used as is the term TIME. These multi-ton expensive machines are manufactured to operate a certain number of hours if properly maintained during their useful lifetime. That
- machine life,
- its cost of maintenance,
- setup (inserting the EMB or DST file into the machine's memory),
- the time it takes for placement of the garment or bag into a hoop,
- trimming the fabric on the opposite side of the embroidery,
- trimming unwanted thread from the front side of the embroidery,
- steaming the garment to remove wrinkles,
- folding the garment,
- purchase and disposal is totaled and calculated into a cost per stitch, as one stitch takes a determined amount of time to complete.
Other cost factors of embroidery are that
- there is oftentimes a one to three percent of garments that will be damaged by these machines,
- orders have to be sorted,
- customer instructions read and understood.
- garments inventoried and / or replaced
- order reviewed and shipped,
- oversized items such as bags, which may be so bulky / wide as to make it impossible to use a nearby head.
What kind of Logo works?
A logo is a graphic of simple or complex design that a customer desires to be placed on a material for display. Embroidery is somewhat different than other media that uses ink, laser etching or paint, as a lot of detail may be to fine to translate into a bulkier thread.
For best results, a logo should be elegant. Elegance is a synonym for beauty that has come to acquire the additional connotations of unusual effectiveness and simplicity. In computer programming school we learned the phrase KISS, (Keep It Simple Stupid), a phrase that works well for graphic designers hired to provide an effective design to their customer.
What does not work well is too much detail or small text. Thread is fabric and fabric has a color. Fabric is not manufactured to provide a fade or gradient.
You need a logo with solid colors. None of this graphic can be embroidered.
Get the whole Embroidery Buyer's guide, a free download at True to Size Apparel