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

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What is Pique Fabric?

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, notice the pictures in this article. Take a close look at the blue fabric pattern surrounding the Gensler Garden's logo. You'll notice this fabric looks a bit like honeycomb when viewed up close. You'll see polos constructed with this type of fabric everywhere.  Check out the video on this page to learn more.

How Do You Pronounce Pique?

Pique is pronounced (pee-kay) when in reference to fabric. Although spelled the same, the pronunciation is different from "pique" as in this sentence: he made remarks to pique their curiosity.

Why is Pique Fabric so Popular?

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.  

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4 Reasons Non-for-Profits Need Quality Garments

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If you are reading this you are likely involved in a non-for-profit organization where you come into contact with people who truly care about the same cause as you.  Together you are focused on getting the word out about your cause.  The ways to do this are endless, but no doubt you recognize the importance of spending time and money where it does the most good.

Could branded apparel fill a niche in your marketing agenda?  To answer this question, I reached out to some of our non-for-profit customers, particularly in the animal rescue segment.  I’d like to share their responses coupled with some insights gleaned in the past 21 years of business.  Here are four reasons your non-for-profit organization (NFP) needs quality garments.

1. Make Money

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New State-of-the-Art Embroidery Machine at Midwest Stitch

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Why Wearables Should Be Part of Your 2016 Marketing Plan

Opportunities to advertise your business are many and varied, ranging from traditional TV, radio, and newspaper to the Internet, direct mail, social media and more.  In this technological age, and from a marketing standpoint, does it really make sense to spend money on branded apparel for your business?  To answer this question, I ask you to think of your closet.

Your Closet

Just to be clear, I mean your ‘closet’ in the most literal sense of the word: the place where you keep your clothes.  What could someone learn about you by looking in your closet?  Aside from your addiction to hoodies, what could they learn specifically from the apparel that contain graphics or logos (what we call branded apparel)?

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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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Why Do We Wear Polos? [NY Times Article]

Perhaps there is no garment more common in business apparel than the humble polo shirt.  Why is that the case?  Why do we wear polo shirts?

Maybe it is for this reason, eloquently put by Troy Patterson in his article “Unstarched Shirt” published in The New York Times Magazine:

“Risking neither the uncouth of a simple T nor the stiff ceremony of a button-down, it’s just a shirt, which is its defining virtue.”

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Men of Fashion: What's Your Fit?

Men of Fashion: What's Your Fit?

Corporate menswear is not known for frequent swings in fashion.  It does however, evolve over time.  One retail trend in the past decade that now is clearly set in the corporate world is a trimmer fit across men's apparel.  

Button-up shirts, for example, are available in classic, traditional silhouettes as well as more modern, trimmer fits.  Some of the common descriptors of these slightly fitted shirts are words such as fitted, active, modern, or slim. 

I read an article from the Wall Street Journal that explains how exactly (and how slowly) this style moved from the fashion runway to its current ubiquitous state.  The article also explores a possible shift back to looser styles in the years ahead.  It's an interesting read and I've included a link to it here for your enjoyment.

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Behind the Scenes Embroidery: Jacket Back

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Celebrating National Catfish Day? You Need This Shirt

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We’ve been sharing blog posts featuring some of the favorite garments of Midwest Stitch employees since the beginning of the year.  But today, June 25th – National Catfish Day, seems the most appropriate day to share this favorite of Andy, one of our sales reps.

His favorite is a fishing shirt, complete with ventilated polyester mesh under the back yoke, fly box pockets, fishing rod holder, tool holder and utility loop.  The nylon fabric also provides UPF 30 sun protection.

Andy tells us, “It’s great because it breathes like no other shirt, even on the hottest days, it’s like you’re wearing nothing at all.”

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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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Midwest Stitcher's Favorites: Slub Woven Shirt

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The Midwest Stitch employee favorite featured here has a broken-in attitude great for casual business or after hours.  It is a lightweight, 100% ring spun combed cotton slub chambray shirt.  Adding visual appeal are the two-tone fibers and its lived-in look.  The soft, washed fabric makes this a very comfortable woven shirt. This button-down shirt is a favorite of Jesse, who works in our Production department.  "It's comfortable and fits really well, which is not always the case for me."  The men's style has a modern, trim fit with two front pockets.  "It's also very lightweight," he adds.   A ladies version is also available in a flattering cut with back princess seams. Both styles come in the the grey and light blue colors shown here.  If this business casual style is a fit for your image let us know and we'd be happy to show you a sample.

 

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Need Help Getting Organized? Here's A Tested Padfolio

Need Help Getting Organized? Here's A Tested Padfolio
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Looking for a classy and upscale way to stay organized at your next client meeting?  Enter the custom padfolio. It's true, there's a myriad of padfolios available with a variety of forms and functions.  But this is the one we've chosen for our sales reps and here are the main reasons why. Exterior function The exterior is a smooth microfiber fabric that holds up very well to extended use.  You'll immediately notice the sturdy, yet lightweight feel of the fabric.  It has a front pocket for extra storage, and a full zipper to keep all your contents neatly tucked away.  Exterior dimensions are approximately 14" x 10.5". Interior function Inside you'll find multiple organizer pockets, a zipped internal pocket, and a large accordion pocket big enough to fit a tablet, book, etc. (My full sized iPad 3 fits with room to spare, even with a slim case on it.)  There is a full sized notepad (included) and a stretchy pen loop that will accommodate a pen of any width.  It is noteworthy that the interior construction is the same microfiber fabric found on the outside.  All pockets are stitched - there is no welded plastic.  (actually there is no plastic anywhere)   Presentation What really gives the padfolio it's classy look though is an embroidered logo on the front.  Embroidery is more of an upscale look than printing, and it comes across well on this padfolio.  Embroidery can be in any colors and is centered horizontally on the front pocket as shown in the picture.  If you need a quick turn around on a custom padfolio order, this is your solution: we keep them in stock for that very reason.   Let us know if you like our choice and want to enhance your company image with the class and organization of this embroidered padfolio.  
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Midwest Stitcher’s Favorites: Warm Winter Jacket

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In the previous article of this series we admitted we pick favorites.  After testing and trying the garments we sell we find some we like and some we don’t.  This time of year we’re wearing a lot of winter apparel so this pick is a very warm, winter jacket.

This garment is a favorite of mine.  And, in order for you to understand the importance of me picking this favorite, you must know that I LOVE all types of outerwear.  My front closet at home is full of jackets.  Some women love shoes; I love jackets.  So let me tell you what I love about this Brushstroke Print Insulated Jacket.

First and foremost it is WARM.  Warmer than my 3-in-1 jacket by The North Face® brand.  It's even warmer than my Obermeyer ski jacket, but I think part of this is because it’s an appropriate length in the back and doesn't ride up when you move.  It is also highly water resistant.  In addition, the inside back of the jacket and the collar are fleece lined making it warm and cozy as soon as you put it on.

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Why Get to Know Your Customer?

Why Get to Know Your Customer?

In this fast paced world of instant answers and service by means of the internet, is there value in taking time to get to know your customers?  Most definitely.

In any new, potential client situation I think you should be interested in the type of business they have, what exactly brought them to your business, and uncovering what they are looking for, to name just a few.  How does this process benefit the potential client? 

The more you know about them, the better position you’ll be in to make accurate recommendations that fit their specific needs.  You may think you know quickly what their business needs are, but uncovering what is most important to your client should be your goal.

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Midwest Stitcher’s Favorites: Cutter&Buck Performance Garment

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We admit it.  We pick favorites.

As we become familiar with the garments we sell, wearing them ourselves day in and day out, we can’t help but choose our favorites.  In a series of posts we’re going to share our thoughts on what makes these garments stand out.

This first garment is a favorite of our President, Daniel.  In all fairness though, it’s a top choice for many in the office! (including the ladies version)  Designed by Cutter&Buck, it is made from their DryTec performance fabric and will not fade or shrink. 

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