Custom embroidery has become popular in several sporting and business settings. Embroidered goods have become a means of branding, general identification of company property and employee unity. Businesses utilizing embroidery in this way range from construction to banking firms.
Custom creations of this sort have also reached wider audiences becoming popular as novelty gifts. Although some contractors do custom sewing as well, the majority use pre-fabricated articles to which embellishments can be added. This allows for faster productivity and the option of personalized name brand apparel.
Contractors often sell blank items to be embroidered or consumers may provide their own. Today, custom embroidery is found on a number of items including soft luggage, shirts, hats, protective covers, jackets, team apparel as well as decorative household linens.
Traditional embroidery was stitched into wool, linen and silk. Modern technologies still employ these materials, but they have also expanded to the use of many more fabrics such as cotton, rayon and leather. Thread and novelty yarn as well as beads, metal strips, pearls and sequins are often used in combination or alone to create the elaborate designs now possible. As technologies improve so do customization options offered by both large and small embroidery companies.
Computer programs allow the digitization of graphic designs and even photographs, which can then be converted into embroidery patterns. Images are uploaded to software that can recognize colors and patterns, turning them into a guide for creating that same image with the products available. Although many embroidery machines can give the appearance of traditional stitches, most often this is only an appearance and the actual construction of the stitch differs, sometimes using multiple threads at once.
Hand stitched custom embroidery makes use of many stitch techniques. The chain, buttonhole, running, cross and stem stitches are among the most popular styles for embroidery. At times multiple stitches are used with one as an outline and another as the fill to complete the interior of a design.