We know there are lots of veteran wearables distributors who are well versed with the lingo that surrounds our daily lives. ( really, it’s all about stitches over here for us at Modern Embroidery, Inc.   )

Anyway,  for those of you just diving into the realm of stitchery and you veterans who just need a refresher we’ve compiled snippets from the asi embroidery glossary that we deem necessary for any distributors peace of mind! (you must chant and hum in low tone as you read these…visualization is an option)

  1. Embroidery:
    Decorative stitching on fabric. Generally involves non-lettered designs but can also include lettering and/or monograms. Evidence of embroidery exists during the reign of Egyptian pharaohs, in the writings of Homer and from the Crusaders of the 12th century. Evolved from handwork to manual sewing machines and from handlooms and schiffli machines with hundreds of needles to high-speed, computerized multi-head machines.
  2. Digitize:
    Modern term for punching, reflecting the computerized method of converting artwork into a series of commands to be read by an embroidery machine’s computer. See Punching.
  3. Punching:
    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.
  4. Swatch:
    A small sample of material used for inspection, comparison, construction, color, finish and sales purposes.
  5. Frame:
    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
  6. Hoop:
    Device made from wood, plastic or steel with which fabric is gripped tightly between an inner 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 against the machine bed for embroidering.
  7. Backing:
    Woven or nonwoven material used underneath the item or fabric being embroidered to provide support and stability. Can be hooped with the item or placed between the machine and throat plate and the hooped garment. Available in various weights and in two basic types – cutaway and tearaway.
  8. Thread:
    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.
  9. 3-D Foam Embroidery:
    This type of embroidery gets its 3-D appearance from foam that’s placed over the area to be embroidered. As the design is stitched, the needle perforates the foam. Once completed, the unused foam is pulled away. Foam is available in a variety of colors and thicknesses.
  10. Tackle Twill:
    Letters or numbers cut from polyester or rayon twill fabric 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.
  11. Blending:
    A digitizing technique that makes different colors of thread flow together in a more pleasing manner. Relies heavily on variable densities. Gives a design a more realistic, 3-D look.
  12. Appliqué:
    1) Decoration or trim cut from one piece of fabric and stitched to another to add dimension and texture. If appliqué occupies a significant amount of the design, the stitch count is lower.
  13. Underlay:
    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.
  14. Trimming:
    Operation in the finishing process that involves trimming the reverse and top sides of the embroidery, including jump stitches and backing.
  15. Run Stitch:
    Consists of one stitch between two points. Used for outlining and fine detail. Also known as a walk stitch.
  16. 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.
  17. Registration:
    Correct registration is achieved when all stitches and design elements line up correctly.
  18. Puckering:
    Result of the fabric being gathered by the stitches. Many possible causes include incorrect density, loose hooping, lack of backing, incorrect tension or dull needle.
  19. Placket:
    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.