For anyone who has chosen to produce custom embroidered apparel, it pays to keep in mind some valuable suggestions. Producing custom, branded clothing can be not only fun and creatively inspiring, but it can also be costly and disappointing if the finished result isn’t what was expected.
According to SpecialtyRetail.com, decorated apparel is an $8 billion dollar per year industry. The publication estimates one-third of that amount are in the form of custom embroidery. That said, there are a few tips and tricks that custom embroidery customers can use to insure they produce the highest quality apparel at the lowest possible cost.
Costs for items such as embroidered shirts are based on factors such as the number of colors in the design, stitch count, size of the area to be embroidered and the number of locations. The key to remember is that all embroiderers and creative agencies will provide a price estimate for your job before beginning any work. It’s wise to obtain competitive bids from two or three companies before choosing one vendor for the job.
The main criterion in determining the cost of an embroidery job is the stitch count. The more stitches the machine must make, the more expensive the production will be. One trick to reduce the stitch count is to eliminate design elements such as backgrounds, shading and anything other than the design’s basic line art.
Regarding a design’s intricate detail, less is more. Embroidery is an imperfect science. Rather than using millions of tiny dots to produce a graphic like traditional printing, stitches are large, cumbersome lines of thread. Creative elements such as trademarks, Copyrights or other small print will not reproduce well and may not even be legible on the finished product. Keep all graphics large and simple.
Embroiderers use rows of sewing machines to customize each garment. While they have no limit to the number of colors that can be used, each additional color requires the use of an additional sewing machine. In response, embroiderers often apply an up-charge for each color used. Limit your creative design to four or less colors. A two-color job can often be more visually impactful than a busy and blurry eight-color piece.
Locations and Samples
One final suggestion is to limit the embroidery to one location or at least anticipate a higher estimate for embroidering a second location. Also, request a pre-production sample. Embroiderers are usually happy to provide an actual sample of the embroidered design. Take advantage of the offer.