Original text by: Marina Belova
Why should every new or modified embroidery design be tested? And what's more, tested on the same fabric out of which the item will be made? To avoid mistakes, at least partly, and save yourself a disappointment of embroidering a design that looks splendid on screen and getting a result far from what you have expected on the fabric.
When I was working for my current employer's competitors, they did not have a habit of embroidering a full-blown test design before it went into production. Such were the rules in that place. I think it was done so for costs reasons only. Practically all the designs were large-size ones, so trying to embroider them all would take a lot of time and effort.
That's why we made a clean copy right away, using the fabric the client had brought. Of course, you had to stand there and keep a watch over the embroidery process so that to stop the machine on time in case there was some mistake in the file. And if it did, to run to the computer to make changes and load the modified design into the machine afterward. To rip off the elements you didn't need right in the hoop and then try to land this particular part of the design in the right place.
Imagine how many mistakes, glitches and bugs were there? You could not detect them all when still under development. Besides, some mistakes cannot be corrected after the embroidery is completed. But it's quite an experience!
So. What reasons do we have for testing the designs on the machine?
We should see:
- How the design will be embroidered on that kind of fabric
- How the design will be embroidered with this type of thread and of this particular brand
- How the design will be embroidered with this stabilizer
- How the design will be embroidered with these needles
- How to adjust the thread tension for this design and this type of thread
- Whether the design was digitized correctly:
- Is it dense enough
- Whether the understitching was done correctly
- Whether there is enough compensation
Without this 'integrity test' it is impossible to create a good machine embroidery design.
One more poignant question related to the testing of the designs: Who should conduct the tests: a creator of the design or a user? I have a strong opinion that the tests should be conducted by the creators themselves. And not by anyone else. Because otherwise no one will give the creator a good feedback once the tests are completed.
Therefore, the embroidery design will not be of a high quality. The creator gains experience not so much from using the software and digitizing designs, as from standing in front of an embroidery machine and keeping an eye on the embroidery process. Only in that way can he or she understand the causal connection between what was done on the computer and the resulting embroidery.
Edited by Irina