Embroidery Tips for Performance Fabric

Insert crinkle nose.

Was that not the most boringest title ever?!  You don’t even have to say anything, I know that it is… well, until you are faced with a 100% polyester fabric shirt that you need to get embroidered.  Then you will be all like, thank you Jessica!  Because of you, I had this seemingly worthless information in the back of my brain muscles.  Win-win.

Sooooo… some of you may know, but twice a year I do a bunch of embroidery and vinyl work on hats and jerseys for my kid’s baseball league.  It’s become quite a little money maker, and gives me a few months of moolah for the snack bar and cleaning lady.  Two things I’m VERY much about.  This season I’ve already done 20 team jerseys and hats, with 12-13 kids each, I’ll let you do the math.

Well, this season my friend was in charge of the actual uniforms for the whole league and asked me if I could embroider shirts for all the umpires.  Of course!  I’m awesome!  No problemo!!  (Give it a minute) Wait, what fabric are we talking about here?

100% polyester.  Slinky, stretchy, thin AF.  Oooobbbvvviiooouuussslllyyy.

Here’s how I got em done on my little SE400 step by step, with photos of my trial and error.  You can try these changes one at a time or all at once for the best result – Up to you!!

GET A THIN NEEDLE

Like a size 10.  On my first attempt, I switched out needles and used a tear away stabilizer.

Yikes!!  So not good.  Actually, it’s REALLY scary.  It’s puckering all over the place.  That tear away stabilizer was a piece of crap and absolutely worthless.  Begone!

GET A CUT AWAY STABILIZER AND USE A SPRAY ADHESIVE

These two changes were game changers.  Finally, the fabric stayed put, without slipping and sliding all over the place.  The stabilizer I picked up was pretty thick and I just grabbed a temporary adhesive they had at Joann’s for embroidery.  The other change I made the 2nd time around was

BASTE YOUR DESIGN

Yes, I basted the design and I was able to do this easily on Embrilliance.  What this does is sews a little square around your design first, and it’s an extra measure to keep the fabric secure.

You can see that this is a very big improvement.  I still wasn’t thrilled though… do you see the fabric around the stars?  So, then I

REDUCE YOUR TENSION, JUST A LITTLE

You don’t want to go crazy here.  Just move the dial a few clicks.  And when you’re done, put ‘er back.  I hate playing with the tension because I have it right where I like it, but man, I had to fix that puckering some way.  Lastly,

LOWER THE NUMBER OF STITCHES IN YOUR DESIGN

I saved this for last because it’s the most drastic.  Usually, you’re buying a design and it’s not possible to even do this, but I ended up switching out the N.  I went from one that had over 4k stitches to something in the 2,500’s.  The original N was sent to me, but it was just way too thick for the material.

This was the final test before the show and take away my lousy trimming, this shizzzzz looks good, baby!!  Phew, I didn’t have to hang my head down at the field amongst my people.

It’s been a long time since I felt this triumphant.  Dang, I was damn near proud of myself.

Final product!!

THIS GIRL IS ON FIRRRREEEE!  Sorry. I was pretty stoked on this.

And I got to make a teensy bit o’cash.  I’m totally going to blow it on something fun and amazing and I don’t know, but I’ll let you know when I get it.  So. Excited.

Hope this helps one of you out there in the world!

 

 

Jessica

3 comments

  1. i am sorry if you keep getting the same old comments from me! i can’t tell if it is sticking or not. would love to see the little cabinet.
    thanks
    kara lipson

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