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Ask Clive – Applique vs Traditional Embroidery

Q: Applique vs traditional embroidery – which is best for you and your customer?

A: Are you aware that you have options when it comes to embroidery? You can choose to go with the standard, more traditional type of embroidery which we use on a daily basis, or you can use a different technique called applique.

Both methods have benefits. However, there are a couple of points to look at when choosing the right process for your customer.

Key to this decision making is the design and the finish that is required. ‘Embroidery’ is what most people think of when they envisage branding a promotional or workwear clothing item. This method is ideal for projects involving a small design or logo, or for very detailed designs. Even though ‘standard embroidery’ sounds unexciting there are many different types and ranges of threads available, such as metallic, fluorescent, and luminous. There are also up to 700 matt and gloss colours, which when used could transform the project into an amazing product.

‘Applique’ is French for application, which is the perfect way to describe applique embroidery techniques. Embroidery using applique techniques involves stitching a piece of fabric on to another piece of fabric to create a design. Utilising applique techniques provides many more creative opportunities than standard embroidery since a wide variety of fabrics can be used to create texture and enhance designs. Applique is also great for large images, as it decreases the amount of thread stitches needed and weight of the embroidery. Applique techniques do require more manual labour, however as to cut and place the pieces of fabric to be stitched along with the counter embroidery, can make turn-around times and pricing longer and more expensive.

Both the above techniques have advantages, and may be the perfect choice for you depending on your needs. Ask your clothing decorator about the options available.

Happy selling, Clive (The Essential Branding Guru)

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