A guide to selecting the best decorating method for your design.
FIRST know the limitations of embroidery by understanding the level of detail in your design, and SECOND know the type of garment you are decorating. These will determine the best method of decoration for your design: direct embroidery, embroidered patch, or woven patch.
1. How detailed is your design?
As mentioned in our blog Embroidery Basics, “The smallest stitch is about 2 – 3 millimeters across, or roughly the thickness of a penny, and the longest stitch is about 7 millimeters, so, thickness of a pencil.” Consider that embroidery’s highest resolution is your computer’s lowest resolution.
If your design is simple, minimal text with a basic font and icon like the designs below, direct embroidery should work just fine.
If your design has a serif font, small text, or a detailed icon, like the designs below, you must consider what type or types of garments (discussed later in this post) you are decorating. The designs below were best produced as a 2″ wide embroidered patch because it is intricate enough it may not sew out on anything other than a tee or hoodie.
If your design has multiple lines of text, 5+ colors, has intricate artistic detail, or was originally intended for a full t-shirt or poster design, a woven patch is best. No loss of artistic integrity and as a patch it can be applied to almost any garment.
2. What type of garments are you decorating?
This is a very important consideration when deciding between direct embroidery, embroidered patches, or woven patches.
Flats: “Flats” are most easily embroidered and have the least conflicts. Flats are shirts, pants, jackets, towels, blankets, aprons, bandanas, etc. and refers to the shape of hoop used to attach the garment to the machine. See image below. These loosely knit or woven fabrics produce the best results, and a direct embroidery on these can easily be replicated hundreds of times.
Hats: “Hats” specifically refers to baseball type caps with a bill and must be embroidered on a hat hoop. See image below. Some hats are problematic: hats with thick buckram — the plastic-like backing that gives the front of the hat shape and structure; unstructured “Dad” hats; and 6-panel hats with seams in the front.
Everything else: Beanies, backpacks, fanny packs, sweatbands, or anything out of the ordinary must be assessed in person and we often must try a sample to see if it can be done. Beanies pose a specific embroidery problem due to the multiple layers of stretchy and loosely knit material. ALL embroideries WILL lose some detail when done on beanies.
It is good to keep in mind that, even if your logo is simple enough for direct embroidery, patches can be applied to nearly everything and can be sold separately to your customers. Understand your garments and know how to gauge which decoration is best for you: direct embroidery, embroidered patches, or woven patches.
We've worked with The Foundry for two projects. Logo'ed kitchen towels which we sell and custom embroidered custom aprons for a special group of out staff at Café Campagne We were very happy with the results.
Great to work with, very helpful in getting concept to product.
We love The Foundry! We too are a small business and appreciate working with another small local business. The communication was on spot, our bags and patches were perfect and our job was done in a timely manner. You guys rock!!!
These guys were awesome to work with! Not only were they more than helpful with the process of getting my shop custom shirts and hats, but also helped with getting the image I wanted to come to life a reality. Very helpful and easy to work with! highly recommend for your next project.
I chose Foundry out of the many print shops available to us nearby because of their stellar communication and follow-up, plus they made the shirt-making and ordering so easy for me to understand! I have no knowledge of screen printing and shirts whatsoever, but with Clint and Kara's help I was able to pick and design one for my company AND THEY TURNED OUT AMAZING! Seriously, I can't thank you guys enough. The people at the Foundry are kind, helpful, patient and professional, answering my many questions and easing my worries. Project was completed on time and on budget, shipped fast, shirts were comfortable and the designs well printed. I am absolutely going back here in the future.
Working with Foundry was a wonderful experience. Clint was professional and he helped us tremendously. I will most definitely do more business with Foundry. Foundry is A1.
Great experience with The Foundry! They were able to do a project super fast and the end result was awesome! I will be working with them again.
Fantastic customer service with friendly employees and high quality prints. They are great at accommodating for their customers and making sure that everything comes out absolutely perfectly. Definitely recommend for anyone who needs quality screen printing services!
The Foundry ROCKS!! So quick to respond and able to accommodate anything we threw at them! I can't wait to order from the team again!
I got awesome service and some really cool swag for my new business. Forrest talked me through best bang for my buck and with some high-quality items. The logos turned out great in my members at the Cle Elum Back9 love the gear. I’ve already had to re-order some more gear.
I've worked in the apparel business for over 20 years. As a retail buyer, sales representative and as the co-founder of The Foundry Print Shop. I'm passionate about custom apparel and creative problem solving. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog posts.