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Midwest Stitch Blog

Read about our latest news, interesting stories, frequently asked questions and embroidery-specific information in this blog. Check back often, or subscribe by email using the link above. Thanks for visiting!

7 Things You Never Knew About Your Fleece Jacket [Infographic]

Check out this infographic we created with 7 milestones in the history of your fleece jacket, as well as tips to help you choose the right one for your activity.

Click here to see the infographic

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Seeing is Believing: Why Proofing Is a Vital Step

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Are you thinking of outfitting your staff in embroidered apparel but have some anxiety because you’ve never done it before?  Our 7-step order process, from beginning to end (and beyond), takes the pressure off you and makes it easy. (click here to see the 7-steps)

One of your main concerns most likely is that the garments look good.  If they don’t come out looking good, that will reflect poorly on your company brand.  We want you to look good and that’s why the first two steps of Consultation and Digitizing/Proofing your logo are so important. 

We always test the embroidery of a new logo on a swatch piece of fabric before embroidering any garments.  Although digitizing may have been done flawlessly and everything looks good on the computer screen, there are variables that can’t be wholly determined until the logo is actually sewed out in thread on fabric.  We will chose a fabric color similar to the apparel you ordered so the visual proof is as accurate as possible. (To learn more about the digitizing process, read an interview with our in-house digitizer: Why Digitizing Involves More Than You Think [Interview])

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Fabric Talk: How Is Cotton Made Non-Iron?

Fabric Talk: How Is Cotton Made Non-Iron?

Cotton grows naturally as a soft, white material in curly bales on the seeds of a tall plant.  From it comes a fabric that is soft on the skin and comfortable to wear.  But when it comes to business and dress wear, where a smooth and pressed look is expected, this has presented a textile challenge: how to create a dress shirt that keeps the desired polished look and yet still feels soft against the skin?  

Blended or Pure?

A common solution is to mix cotton fiber with another fiber such as rayon, wool or polyester.  The resulting fabric therefore combines the properties of the various fibers.  For example, polyester, a synthetic fiber with inherent wrinkle-resistant properties, is often combined with cotton to create a fabric consisting of 60% polyester and 40% cotton.  The result is a wrinkle-resistant fabric that still retains some of the softness of cotton.

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5 Reasons Promoting Your Business This Way is Superior

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When it comes to spending money on promotional items, your company no doubt wants to get the most out of their hard earned money.  Although some of the quality promotional items that come to mind first may be t-shirts and caps, those ideas are not all that unique.  More important, they may not be the best use of your marketing money.  Have you thought of logoed bags and towels?  The superiority of these promotional items can be seen in five major areas: their simplicity, usefulness, variety, longevity and cost effectiveness. 

Simplicity

As a busy person, who doesn't like to keep things simple?  One of the headaches associated with promotional t-shirts, especially at events, is sizing.  It's really a guessing game of how many t-shirts you will need of each size and there is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution. (pun intended of course) If the giveaways are for an event, at the end of the day inevitably there are not enough of one size and too many of another.  

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Why Digitizing Involves More Than You Think [Interview]

One of the first steps taken in the embroidery process is the digitization of a logo.  This step creates a digital file that will speak to our embroidery machines and tell them how to proceed with the embroidery.  In this age of technology some assume this process is as easy as the push of a button, although this is far from the case.  

To give you a window in the mind of an embroidery digitizer, we spoke with our own in-house digitizer, Carla.  You may be surprised to learn the skill and knowledge required to perform this task.

What do you need to start digitizing a logo?Carla: First I need high resolution artwork of what needs to be digitized. What type of factors do you consider before starting a new digitizing project?Carla: I consider the size of the overall design, what type of garment it will be sewn on, and the optimal sequence of sew out. Why does the type of garment matter?Carla: It could be embroidery for caps, shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, etc.  I will adjust the sequence of embroidered objects depending on the type of garment to help with registration and to lessen puckering and thread breaks. Are there any other factors that effect the sequence?Carla: I consider the amount of thread colors and objects that are next to each other so the machine doesn't have to move around so much.  This makes for smoother, better looking embroidery. Is the type of fabric being embroidered relevant to the digitizing process?Carla: Oh yes.  It impacts the density of the stitches you need to have.  Too many stitches can make a hole in the garment, cause major puckering, many thread breaks and other undesired outcomes.  So knowing the type of fabric ahead of time is very important.  If the same logo is being embroidered on a variety of fabrics I will make different files for each fabric. Are there other factors in regards to the garment you keep in mind?Carla: The color of the garment versus the color of the embroidery can make a difference in how I digitize a logo.  For example if it's going to be a high contrast embroidery such as white on black fabric, or more of a tone on tone embroidery such as gray on black fabric. Does creativity come in to play when you're digitizing a logo?Carla: Quite often.  Creativity with texture is needed on objects that may not show in flat artwork.  For example if a logo includes elements such as water, fire or trees, to name a few that come to mind.  There are embroidery methods that will make these elements pop out almost in a 3-D manner.  The way the light catches different directional thread also comes into play. How long have you been digitizing artwork for embroidery?Carla: About 14 years.  Great, now I feel old. Thanks to Carla for giving us some insight into the digitizing process.  We are really glad to have her as an important member of Midwest Stitch. 
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Featured

What is Pique' fabric? (And How do you Pronounce It?)

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Whether you realize it or not, you are most likely familiar with pique' fabric.  Put simply, pique' is a knit-construction fabric characterized by a geometric pattern texture which is created by raised cords.  If that's too technical for you, take a look at the pictures showing the variety of pique' patterns.  It's a favorite fabric of polos seen everywhere.  (Special note: Pique' is pronounced (pee-kay) when in reference to fabric. Although spelled the same, the pronunciation is different from "pique" as in the sentence "he made remarks to pique their curiosity.")     Why is this weave so widespread?  Pique' fabrics add subtle interest and texture to a garment and are typically easy to care for.  The waffle-like construction also breathes well.  Since it is simply a form of fabric construction, pique' garments are found in a variety of fiber contents, including polyester, cotton, and blended fabrics.   Are all piques' created equal?  Although pique' knits in general are considered durable, the fibers used and tightness of the construction contribute to the extent of durability.   Tighter knit construction causes fabric holes to be smaller than traditional pique', and may be called baby pique' or micropique'.  This construction can add features such as snag resistance to a garment.  Polyester fibers, being highly resistant to fading and shrinking, are being seen more in pique' polos. If this article has piqued your interest in pique' polos, please swing by our shop and see the variety of samples we have on display.  (sorry, I couldn't resist)  We'd be happy to direct you to the fabric best fitting your garment needs whether you pronounce it correctly or not.
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What You May Not Know About Performance Wear

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Performance wear used to be almost exclusive to the field of athletics, but today it has become popular for everyday wear and can be found from the board room to the tennis court. 

So, you may be asking: What makes a fabric worthy of the word 'performance'?  Whereas the designation 'performance wear' can have a broad application, the features may include many of the following properties:

moisture wickingantimicrobialanti-fadeanti-wrinkleanti-pillanti-shrinkUV protectionSome of these properties can be achieved by fabric treatments, but many synthetic fabrics have these attributes innately.  For example, the synthetic fabric polyester is most popular when it comes to performance garments.  Polyester is inherently wicking, meaning it moves moisture away from the body to the surface of the garment where it can evaporate.  This process makes the wearer drier and feel cooler.  Polyester is also a strong fiber that resists shrinking and wrinkles. Polyester?The mention of polyester may bring to mind images of leisure suits from the 1970s, but innovations in the production of polyester fiber and has come light years since then.  No longer the coarse, stiff fibers of yesteryear, today's fibers allow the making of a much thinner polyester fabric that breathes, and it some cases even feels "cottony". Trademarked brands like Nike Dri-Fit and Under Armour did much to advance the notion of performance wear.  In fact, customers will come in our showroom asking for these by name.  And although we can show them Nike Dri-Fit, or perhaps Adidas ClimaCool in our showroom, much of the time they are looking for the performance fabrics, not necessarily the brand.  Many manufacturers make these fabrics that perform just as well as the well-know brand names.  We keep samples of several in our showroom.  For example, here are two specific garments we'd like to share with you. Two examplesThis first polo has contrast panels along the shoulders and sides for a sporty look.  The benefits though go far beyond looks.  The performance polyester fabric is incredibly lightweight, antimicrobial and resists snags.  It also resists wrinkles and will not shrink or fade.  Most notably is the moisture wicking ability of this fabric.  Our customers have testified to this during hot summer days. The second polo shown here has a pique fabric that at first glance may remind you of a traditional knit polo.  Upon examining it though you will find it's made up of a polyester performance fabric that wicks moisture, fights odors, breathes and resists pilling and snags.  If that were not enough, it also has a soil-release finish gives the fabric a stain resistant quality. The field of performance wear is growing every day.  Whereas there are many garments out there touting performance features, not all perform to the same degree in every area.  Through our own wear and use, our customer's feedback, and years of apparel experience we have become familiar with the attributes of a wide variety of performance garments.  If performance wear is right for your business apparel, let us know what features are most important to you and we'd be happy to guide you in the right direction.

 

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