Glossary of Embroidery Terms
Appliqué: Decoration or trimming cut from one piece of fabric and stitched to another, usually with a satin stitch, to add dimension and texture. If the appliqué occupies a significant amount of the design, the stitch count can be reduced. In Schiffli embroidery, an embroidered motif is usually cut away from the base fabric and then stitched onto the finished product.
Backing: Woven or non-woven material used underneath the fabric being embroidered to provide support and stability.
Blanks: Blank emblem shapes for monogrammers or apparel with no embroidery or printing; also refered to as "blank" goods.
Chenille: Form of embroidery in which a loop (moss) stitch is formed on the topside of the fabric. Uses heavy yarns of wool, cotton or acrylic. Created by a chain stitch machine that has been adjusted to form this stitch type. Also known as loop piling.
Denier: A system of measuring the weight of a continuous filament fiber. In the United States, this measurement is used to number all manufactured fibers (both filament and staple), and silk, but excluding glass fiber. The lower the number, the finer the fiber; the higher the number, the heavier the fiber. Numerically, a denier is the equivalent to the weight in grams of 9,000 meters of continuous filament fiber. 600 vertical threads and 600 horizontal threads that help make a garment more durable and stronger.
Digitizing: The computerized method of converting artwork into a series of commands to be read by an embroidery machine’s computer. Digitizing is extremely important and will determine the quality of the finished embroidery. The digitized program including the movement of the pantograph to form various stitches, thread changes, thread trims, and many other functions controls every action of the embroidery machine. Also see punching.
Emblem: Embroidered design with a finished edge; commonly an insignia of identification; usually worn on outer clothing. Historically, an emblem carried a motto or verse or suggested a moral lesson. Also know as a crest or patch.
Embroidery: An embellishment of a fabric or garment in which colored threads are sewn on to the fabric to create a design. Embroidery may be done either by hand or machine. Embroidery is “thread art” used to embellish a garment, hat or some other product by adding a sewn pattern. Generally, this sewn pattern includes a design and can also include lettering and/or monograms.
Embroidery Machine: Today, embroidery machines can be defined as computer driven machines that move a pantograph with hooped items in various directions to form different stitches. Embroidery machines can be single-head units or come in multiples of heads with multiple needles per head for production embroidery applications.
Finishing: Process done after embroidery is complete, including trimming loose threads, cutting or tearing away excess backing, removing facing, cleaning, pressing and packaging for sale or shipment.
Frame: Holding device for insertion of goods under an embroidery head for the application of embroidery. May employ a number of means for maintaining stability during the embroidery process, including clamps, vacuum devices, magnets or springs. Examples: cap frames, cylinder frames, clamping devices, border frames, etc. Though hoops are used for framing purposes, they are not considered to be frames, though the terms often are used interchangeably.
Grommet: An eyelet of firm material to strengthen or protect an opening. Often Brass.
Hoop: Device made from wood, plastic or steel with which fabric is gripped tightly between an inner ring and an outer ring. It attaches to the machine’s pantograph. Machine hoops are designed to push the fabric to the bottom of the inner ring and hold it against the machine bed for embroidering.
Lettering: Embroidery using letters or words. Often called “keyboard lettering.” Usually computer generated either on the machine or a stand-alone computer.
Logo: Name, symbol or trademark of a company or organizations. Short for logotype. An artistic interpretation of a company’s sign or symbol. These figures can be copyrighted or trademarked. Permission is needed for duplication.
Low Profile Cap: A cap style with a low slope that is more closely fitted to the head. Can be either structured or unstructured.
Monogram: Embroidered design of one or more letters, usually the initials in a name.
Punching or Digitizing: Conversion of artwork into a series of commands to be read by an embroidery machine’s computer.
Tackle Twill: Refers to the sewing of polyester TWILL lettering/logos onto garments using an embroidery or sewing machine. Professional hockey, baseball, basketball, etc. shirts typically feature tackle twill lettering/names/logos on their jerseys. Tackle twill appliqué's attached to a garment have an adhesive backing that tacks in place; the edges of the appliqué's are then zigzag stitched.
Thread:Fine cord of natural or synthetic material made from two or more filaments twisted together and used in stitching. Machine embroidery threads come in rayon, which has a light sheen; cotton, which has a duller sheen than rayon, but is available in very fine deniers; polyester, which is strong and colorfast; and metallics, which have a high luster and are composed of a synthetic core wrapped in metal foil.
Twill: Characterized by a diagonal rib. Twill weaves are used to produce a strong, durable, firm fabric usually cotton or polyester.
Twill Weave or Grain: A basic weave in which the fabrics are constructed by interlacing warp and filling yarns in a progressive alternation which creates a diagonal effect on the face, or right side, of the fabric. In some twill weave fabrics, the diagonal effect may also be seen clearly on the backside of the fabric.