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!

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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Midwest Stitcher's Favorite: No Collar for The Ladies


Some ladies don’t like collars.  This can present a challenge in a business world dominated by the collared polo.  But now and then a manufacturer for corporate apparel will unveil a professional looking piece designed with ladies in mind and, more importantly, with no collar.  Here is such a piece. 

It is the favorite of KD who is one of our Production employees who skillfully runs the embroidery machines.  She says, “I like the look of it, but also that it is very comfortable.”  This may be true because of the light polyester fabric with a touch of stretch so that it flows and moves with you.  The fabric is also wrinkle-resistant.  KD further describes the garment as “comfy, casual and stylish.”

Additional features include ¾ sleeves, three-button Y-neckline, inverted pleats at the shoulder and back yoke, a rounded drop tail, and a contrast epaulette (on all colors except black).

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

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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