Since what I mostly make is patches I thought I would post a basic rundown of how I make them, how to apply them, and how to care for them.
Commercially-available patches are made with something called a merrowing machine, which uses a special stitch to seal the edges. I have an ordinary embroidery machine, so mine are made differently. Basically I use a fabric that matches the color of the outer edge of the design (unless the design has open areas, in which case of course I use that color). The design is stitched out, then I apply a no-fray liquid to the outer satin stitch, and apply heat, which kind of fuses those threads together. Then I remove the stabilizer and iron a patch backing onto the fabric (unless the customer didn't want that), and cut the patch out. I try not to cut too close (which is where the fabric matching the outer edge comes into play). Sometimes I will use fabric markers to touch up fabric edges that do not match the satin stitches.
I use polyester thread and my patches are machine washable and dryable as well as dry cleanable, unless they are made with specialty threads such as metallic or glow in the dark (the blacklight-reactive threads can be ironed and laundered as normal).
Oh, and I create my designs with Embird software.
To iron my patches on, use a iron at high heat, and apply heat both to the top and backside of the item if possible for 10-20 seconds. If you are at all worried about your iron being dirty, use a presscloth to prevent the patch getting stained. Let the adhesive cool completely. (Please do not apply high heat to specialty threads though.)
A NOTE ABOUT IRON-ON BACKING: If you want my honest opinion, I actually hate iron-on backing. It seals the backs of the patches and makes them look more professional, but I don't trust it to actually hold patches on for long, especially after being laundered. I highly recommend either sewing (when possible) or gluing (when sewing isn't possible) patches on. Use a good fabric cement, E-6000 usually works. Unfortunately there are some fabrics that just won't play nice with any kind of adhesive (canvas and nylon come to mind, so bags/backpacks in general). It seems that the only times I get negative reviews on my products is when the customer is dissatisfied with the iron-on backing. It is always my recommendation to sew or glue patches on. It may be easier to do both of these things with no backing present so be sure to let me know to leave the backing off if you are going to sew or glue.
(Or other garments/bags, etc)
First of all, if you see any faint yellow or blue marks/lines on the fabric, donít worry! That is just chalk that I use for placement. It will brush or wash right out. I donít like to prewash items before sending them to customers.
Secondly, IF there are NO specialty threads in the design (glow in the dark, metallic, or solar-active) then you may launder the item as you would normally launder it if it were not embroidered. The polyester thread I use is bleach safe, so if it is a white garment, yes you may use bleach when washing it. You may machine dry as normal, and you may use heat when ironing. If there ARE specialty threads present, please do NOT use bleach, do NOT place in the dryer, and do NOT iron it. You can wash them in the machine but hand washing is recommended. Flat drying is better than hanging as hanging can cause the fabric to stretch if the embroidered area is heavy. If the only special thread is blacklight reactive, you may launder it normally.
One more thing, embroidered areas like to curl up in the dryer (again this only applies if thereís no specialty threads). If this happens, just iron it on the backside.
(Btw if your item has one of my custom-printed clothing tags, that may be laundered normally, including with bleach, but the maker specified that a hot iron should not be directly applied to it.)
My name is Cynthia (or Cyndie) Read, but I have been called Sparky by virtually everyone since high school, when my favorite cartoon character was Megavolt (his nickname, although he didn't like it, was Sparky). I am in my early 40's. I have been crafting and creating my own dolls, toys, and clothing since I was very small. I remember teaching myself how to cross-stitch when I was 8 or 9 and I did all kinds of needlepoint for about 20 years until my sight started to fail. Since I loved embroidered patches and collected them (but almost never actually put them on anything because then they would be ruined) I'd had my eye on embroidery machines for quite some time. Finally my brother offered to buy me a small one so I could start a home business. By a year later I wasn't able to keep up with orders on the small machine so I traded up to a professional one.
I live in the Sacramento CA area with my brother, a parrot, a kingsnake, and a fluxuating collection of tarantulas.
My machine, a Baby Lock Professional Plus
I created the logo with the Stitch Cursive font and a sketch of a spider given to me by Scythemantis. I colored the spider into a cartoony avicularia versicolor or Antilles Pinktoe tarantula, because I figured if I was going to put a spider in my logo I should make it a pretty one. :) The little tarantula's name is Sewout - a "sewout" is the physical stitched-out sample of embroidery, as opposed to just the computerized design. (Btw last I heard, Scythemantis is free to hire for logos and other artwork. Ask him.)
This page owned and maintained by C. "Sparky" Read.