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TESTIMONIALS Say It In Viola Embroidery and Screenprinting is a professional embroidery operation. You have consistently produced excellent work in accordance with our growing demands...” click for more

The craft of embroidery is ancient. Today, computers and automated machinery add speed, precision, and economy to the process, but the skill of the embroiderer is still the main factor in the success of a design.

Anyone can make a design look great on a computer screen. Working with fabric and thread requires in-depth knowledge of positioning, thread tension, stitch density, and cloth properties. There is simply no substitute for years of experience.

Great embroidery should:

* look beautiful
* be comfortable to wear
* last for years and years


3-D Foam Embroidery San Dieg - Appliqué San Diego - Automatic Color Change Embridery San Diego - Backing Embridery San Diego - Bean (Running) Stitch Embridery San Diego Birdnesting Embridery San Diego - Blending (gradients) - Bobbin Case: - Buckram: - Center Line Input: - Check spring:

Processes performed after embroidery is complete. Includes trimming loose threads, cutting or tearing away excess backing, removing topping, cleaning any stains, pressing or steaming to remove wrinkles or hoop marks and packaging for sale or shipment.

Up-and-down motion of goods under action of the needle. It’s called flagging because of it resembles a waving flag. Often caused by improper hooping of goods, flagging may result in poor registration, unsatisfactory stitch format and birdnesting.

Flat embroidery:
Embroidery that is framed in hoops, usually exclusively on the top of the embroidery machine's hook assembly.

Machine specific readable information.

Holding device for insertion of goods under an embroidery head for the application of embroidery. May employ a number of means for maintaining stability during the embroidery process, including clamps, vacuum devices, magnets or springs. See Hoops.

Threads that are cut and hang loosely from the edge of a design.

The way the fabric feels when it’s touched. Terms like softness, crispness, dryness and silkiness are all used to describe the hand of the fabric.

Hook assembly:
Rotary device designed to pass the needle at a given point in the needle bar rise. The hook point passes into a thread loop formed by the rising needle bar and pulls the thread around the bobbin case to form a lock stitch.

Hook timing:
Proper synchronization of hook's rotary and needle's up/down movement; necessary to form stitches.
Holds the bobbin case in the machine and plays a vital role in stitch formation. Making two complete rotations for each stitch, its point meets a loop of top thread at a precisely timed moment and distance (gap) to form a stitch.

Hooping Board:
Device that aids in hooping garments or items for embroidery. Especially helpful for hooping multilayered items and for uniformly hooping multiple items. Board designed to hold the outer portion of the hoop while the goods to be embroidered are placed over the board to be hooped. One the goods are aligned and placed correctly over the outer hoop, the operator inserts the inner portion of the hoop.

Devices made from wood, plastic or steel with which fabric is gripped tightly between an inner concentric ring and an outer ring. The hoop is attached to the machine’s pantograph. Machine hoops are designed to push the fabric to the bottom of the inner ring and hold it in close contact against the machine bed for embroidering.

Jump Stitch:
Movement of the pantograph and rotation of the sewing head without the needle going down. Used to move from one point in a design to another without creating and cut and trim command with a lock stitch. Improves production efficiency and minimizes chances of knotting. Movement of the frame without stitching but with take-up lever and hook movement.

To add or delete space between pairs of adjacent characters

Embroidery using letters or words. Lettering, commonly called “keyboard lettering,” may be created using an embroidery lettering program on a PC or from circuit boards that allow a variance of letter styles, sizes, heights, densities and other characteristics.

Lock Stitch:
Commonly referred to as a lock-down or tack-down stitch, a lock stitch is formed by three or four consecutive stitches of at least a 10-point movement. It should be used at the end of any element in your design where jump stitches will follow, such as color change or the end of a design. May be stitched in a triangle, star or in a straight line. Also the name of the type of stitch formed by the hook and needle of home sewing machines, as well as computerized embroidery machines.

Name, symbol or trademark of a company or organization.

Loops on the surface of embroidery, generally caused by poor tension or tension problems. Typically occurs when polyester top thread or other threads have tensioning problems.

Machine Language:
The codes and formats used by different machine manufacturers within the embroidery industry. Common formats include Barudan, Brother, Fortran, Happy, Marco, Meistergram, Melco, Pfaff, Stellar, Tajima, Toyota, Ultramatic and ZSK. Most digitizing systems can save designs in these languages so the computer disk can be read by the embroidery machine.
Embroidered design composed of one or more letters, usually the initials of a name.

A fuzzy or downy surface of fabric covering either one side or both, produced by brushing.

Needle plate:
The metal plate located above the hook assembly of an embroidery machine. This plate has a hole in the center through which the needle travels to reach the hook and form a stitch.

Small, slender piece of steel with a hole for thread and a point for stitching fabric. A machine needle differs from a handwork needle; the machine needle’s eye is found at its pointed end. Machine embroidery needles come with sharp points for piercing heavy, tightly woven fabrics; ball points, which glide between the fibers of knits; and a variety of specialty points, such as wedge points, which are used for leather.

The starting point of your design.

A bar, rack, or holder that frames or holding fixtures are attached to. The pantograph moves in X and Y directions to form the embroidery design, controlled electronically or mechanically depending on the machine.

Made from twill fabric, patches have a merrowed edge and an adhesive back. Most embroidery shops don’t own a merrowing machine, so making patches from scratch isn’t an option, nor is it cost effective. One can still, however, supply them for the customer. Companies that specialize in making patches are plentiful, and the prices are much better than the average embroidery shop can manage. For the small odd jobs, though, blank patches are available in many shapes, colors and sizes.

Photo Stitch Designs:
Created from a scanned photo; the photograph is imported into the digitizing software, and with a few keystrokes the design is digitized and ready to sew. The possibilities for uses are endless, ranging from portraits to buildings. A series of run stitches and loose fills are used to replicate a photograph with cloth and thread. Photo stitch designs are popular with individuals and corporations.

A fabric of cotton or spun rayon woven lengthwise with raised cords.

The opening of a shirt or jacket where the garment fastens or at a pocket. A reverse placket is the reversed opening for women’s garments.
Thread tension assemblies that are before the main tension assembly in the thread path. The function of the pre-tensioner is to apply a light amount of tension in order to make the main tensioner work.

Presser foot:
Metal device that touches the goods being embroidered while the needle is in the goods. The main function of the presser foot is to hold the material being embroidered until the hook point catches the thread loop formed by the needle rise.

Result of the fabric being gathered by the stitches due to its tension being less than that of the stitches. Many possible causes include incorrect density, loose hooping, lack of backing, incorrect tension or dull needle.

Puff Embroidery:
A technique popular in the early ’90s, and seems to be gaining popularity again. A special thick backing is placed in the hoop under the substrate, usually a sweatshirt. The design itself consists of light fill and blank spaces. The technique works great for names, with light fill separating letters that are negative. In the embroidery process, the blank spaces puff up and the area between them is flattened by the fill stitches.

Pull Compensation:
A degree of distortion built into a design by the digitizer to compensate for pull on the fabric caused by the embroidery stitches and to adjust for differences in stitch or line width driven by fabric differences.

Conversion of artwork into a series of commands to be read by an embroidery machine’s computer. Derived from an early method of machine embroidery in which a part of the machine, called an automat, reads paper tapes, or Jacquards, punched with holes representing stitches, pantograph movements and other commands. While still capable of producing paper tape, many computer digitizing systems now store this information in disk format.

Correct registration is achieved when all stitches and design elements line up correctly. The ability to line up details and parts of the design correctly with each other.

Reverse Appliqué:
A process in which the fabric is placed on the underside of the garment, and the garment is cut along the tack-down stitch so that the material shows through. Not nearly as easy as regular appliqué, the process, however, shouldn’t be discounted. The dimension that the technique provides is quite different from regular appliqué, and when your customer wants a unique look, this might be something to consider.

Running Stitch:
Consists of one stitch between Point A and Point B. Used for outlining and fine details, outlines, and underlay, especially when details are too small to accommodate a satin stitch. Also known as a walk stitch.

Satin Stitch:
Formed by closely arranged zigzag stitches. Can be laid down at any angle and with varying stitch lengths. Adapted from the blatt stitch, used in schiffli embroidery. A normal satin stitch is anywhere between 2mm. and 12mm. in width.
Ability within one design program to enlarge or reduce a design. In expanded format, most scaling is limited to 10% to 20%, because the stitch count remains constant despite the final design size. In condensed or outline formats, scale changes may be more dramatic, because stitch count and density may be varied.

Scanners convert designs into a computer format, allowing the digitizer to use even the most primitive artwork without recreating the design. Many digitizing systems allow the digitizer to transfer the design directly into the digitizing program without using intermediary software.

Short Stitch:
A digitizing technique that places shorter stitches in curves and corners to avoid an unnecessarily bulky buildup of stitches or stitch density, particularly in corners or curves.

Short-stitch filter:
Digitizing-program feature that eliminates stitches shorter than a predetermined length, to reduce thread breaks.

Specialty Fill:
A fill which features a “relief” or motif design within the selected fill area and that is available with some digitizing software.

The property of a bonded fabric that prevents sagging, slipping or stretching. This is conducive to ease of handling in manufacturing, and helps the fabric to keep its shape in wear, dry cleaning and washing.

Stitch Count:
The total number of stitches in a particular design.

Stitch Lengths:
A variable setting for all stitch types – run, satin and fill.

Stitch processing:
The calculation of stitch information by means of specialized software, allowing scaling of expanded format designs with density compensation.

Stitch Type:
A wide variety of stitches are available, but in actuality, there are two basic stitch types – the run and satin stitch. All other types are a variation of these two.

Stock Designs:
Digitized generic embroidery designs that are readily and commercially available at a cost below that of custom-digitized designs.

A small sample of material used for inspection, comparison, construction, color, finish and sales purposes.

Tackle Twill:
Letters or numbers cut from polyester or rayon twill fabric and sometimes with adhesive backing that are commonly used for athletic teams and organizations. Tackle twill appliqués attached to a garment have an adhesive backing that tacks them in place; the edges of the appliqués are then zigzag stitched.

A group of long stitches, which dangle from a design. Most often used to embellish home décor.

Tatami Stitch:
Series of run stitches, commonly used to cover large areas. Different fill patterns can be created by varying the stitch length, angle or sequence.

Tautness of thread when forming stitches. Top thread tension, as well as bobbin thread tension, needs to be set. Proper thread tension is achieved when about one-third of the thread showing on the underside of the fabric on a column stitch is bobbin thread.

Thread Count:
The actual number of warp ends and filling picks per inch in a woven cloth. In knitted fabric, thread count implies the number of wales or ribs.

Fine cord of natural or synthetic fibers, made of two or more filaments twisted together, and used for stitching. Embroidery threads are available in a variety of types, including rayon, polyester, cotton, acrylic and metallics.

Material hooped or placed on top of fabrics that have definable nap or surface texture, such as corduroy, fleece and terry cloth. This is done prior to embroidery. The topping compacts the wale or nap and holds the stitches above it. Includes a variety of substances, such as plastic wrap, water-soluble plastic (e.g., “solvy”), “foil” and open-weave fabric that has been chemically treated to disintegrate with the application of heat. Also known as facing. The net effect is to create a smoother, more consistent embroidery surface for higher quality embroidery.

A form of 3-D embroidery. An area is stitched to create a pocket between the fabric and backing, which is then stuffed from the back with some type of fluffy filling.
The series of actions in the finishing process that involves trimming the reverse and top sides of the embroidery, including jump stitches and backing.

Two-ply stitch:
A double running stitch. The stitch is formed by the machine sewing a complete running stitch area and then coming back over the same area and stopping where it started. Sews from Point A to Point B and then from Point B to Point A.

Stitches laid down before other design elements to help stabilize stretchy fabrics and to tack down high wales or naps on fabrics, so the design’s details don’t get lost. May also be used to create such effects as crowned, flat or raised areas in the embroidery, depending on how they are laid down. Underlay is normally a series of running stitches or a very light density fill stitch often placed in the opposite direction that the stitching will go.

A strip of material seamed to a pocket opening as a finishing as well as a strengthening device; a covered cord or ornamental strip sewn on a border or along a seam.

Zigzag Stitch:
Stitches that go from one side of an area to be sewn, diagonally to the other side. Diagonals may be placed closely together to effectively form a satin stitch. Typically used for final stitching on appliqué or tackle twill.


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