Embroidery is the handicraft of decorating fabrics or other materials using thread or yarn and needle. It is a decorative needlework which has been adopted from the ancient times whereby pictures and designs are created by stitching strands of some material on to a layer of another material. However, embroidery uses wool and thread that is stitched onto a woven fabric. The stitches may be completed by use of leather strands or wire. Embroidery has been integrated into the modern textile industry using embroidery machine by textile artists whereby they have embroidered non-traditional materials such as plastic sheeting, clothing and the use of specific embroidery stitches. Embroidery can be used as a form of art for decoration in homes, offices or can be used in professional work like in designing company logos. The décor attributed to embroidery include patchworks, tapestries, cross-stitch and wall hangings. The traditional decoration is still eminent in the modern times where embroidery is used to decorate clothes and household furnishes like tray clothes, towels, linens, beddings. In the modern world, embroidery no longer uses hand stitches but machine embroidery by the use of embroidering machine to digitize texts.
Embroidery has been adopted by many textile companies since it is a booming business. The most important aspect of embroidery digitizing is creating a digital image for small text lettering. It is crucial because customers should be able to read the small details and labels including the small prints. Paper prints are easily readable, but when put in the thread, it becomes hard to distinguish the characters. Digitizing of small texts is a big challenge to the digitizer in that it involves manually producing the exact and clear font on the fabric. However, the secret behind producing excellent fonts of small letters in embroidery is considering the sizes of needles used. A smaller needle used on small texts will produce distinct and clear stitches. For example, a normal thread (number 40) is 25% thicker that the smaller thread number 60. In this regard, number 60 thread can be used to create lettering that is 25% smaller than that from thread number 40. Therefore, professional digitizers have enhanced their specialty in small letters through running a line of lettering severally while tweaking it to produce perfect art. Underpinning the art of embroidery requires understanding the rules for digitizing small texts
Rule No 1: Consideration of Letter Size
On vital aspect of digitizing small text in embroidery is considering the size of the letter that needs to be digitalized. The letters should be clear and large enough to enhance readability. There are general rules that are often applied in the digitizing of small text. When the text to be digitized has both capital and small letters, like a regular sentence, each letter should have a height of at least 5mm while full capital lettered words should have a height of being at least 4mm. To enhance readability, it is always crucial to consider the width of the letter which should be within the range of 0.8 mm to 1 mm.
Rule No 2: Closed Loop letters
Digitizing small texts with closed loop letters has been a great challenge facing many embroidery artists. Closed loop letters include b, o, p and q. The size of the needle and thread are factors to be considered as well as the number of running stitches. The rule to be followed is that running stitches should not go through the letters more than twice. Also, there should be a wider column, and a radius of 0.45mm space should be looped inside the letter. When a wider column is applied, there will be a greater pull which results in filling in more. Furthermore, wider columns will enhance lighter density in the art. The shortening of letter height is the best way which essentially lightens the density as well as widening the columns
Rule no 3: Spacing of the letters
When digitizing small letters in embroidery, the spacing between the “letters” is an important factor that should be taken into consideration. Depending on the type of font, it has been noted that a gap length of 0.5 m to 1mm will provide clearer details of the words in the embroidery. When a spacing smaller than 0.5 mm is applied, the embroidery will have a messed visual impact since some letters will tend to merge. To enhance clarity, the corners of the texts should be extended. When the text consists of capital and small letters, the characters should be opened. This can be done through dropping the cross-bars, and the closed loop letters will drop below the line and be pulled up.
Rule No. 4: Assigning stitch density as per fabric
Assigning stitch density as per fabric is a crucial factor that is always considered by professional embroidery digitizers. This is because the type of fabric used and the stitch density determines the appearance of final work. Therefore, embroidery digitizer should carefully assign stitches to the kind of fabric used accordingly. When the high density of stitches is applied on a lightweight fabric, the texts produced will have a problem of rough edges.
Rule No. 5: Suggest changes to client
A client may be having the idea of how he or she wants the embroidery to look like, but it is the responsibility of professional digitizers to provide suggestions to yield best results on the embroidery. For example, if a client provides work of small text in script font to be digitized, it would be a challenge for the digitizer to embroider because there are higher chances of loss of small details in the final embroidery. In such a case, the digitizer can recommend altering of placement and the use of larger font size. Similarly, when programming small text, it is crucial for the digitizer to start from the right so that running stitch can be minimized. When several stitches are running through small letters, it adds unnecessary density and hence distorting the tiny details.