Twenty years ago i bought my first embroidery machine, just as a hobby. I used it to embroider the odd baby bib for a friend or to make polo shirts for the bike club I was in. All just a bit of fun really, but the process of designing the logos intrigued me! 'How do you make a logo really POP'? 'What makes this stitch stand out better than that one?'
At that time i was a full time Structural & Civil Engineer having worked on site & in various consultancies in the city.
Maybe it was the engineer in me that wanted to know more about the process.
Eventually with the downturn in the building trade (ie crash) of 2012 it was time to find at least a temporary job to make ends meet as the company i was in closed its doors.
Looking at the embroidery machine sitting in a spare bedroom in my parents house i wondered could i make a business out of embroidery, was it worth a try while i searched for something back in Engineering? I decided i would give it a go, give it my best shot for 6 months, just to see how it would work out whilst still hunting for non-existent Engineering jobs.
Six months turned into a year, then two years, then i was in too deep to go back. A second machine arrived & i took a business unit down at Ballymena Business Centre, contract stating a months notice was required which made me feel i could always leave if it didn't work out.
Two machines became three, then four and the endless hours spent trying to generate work & contacting potential customers, nurture relationships with local businesses etc. Thanks to the support of friends & family the business was starting to grow, but I still hadn't a name that pleased me! There were a few ideas floating around but what pleased one person didn't impress another so eventually i went for the one that pleased me.... Sewpro, and that was that!
Over the early years i built up relationships with other Embroiderers around the country, and these guys were Embroiderers with a capital 'E'!! Old school guys who new the industry & everyone in it. They helped me immensely at the start with my endless queries and late night machine problems. There was a great community at that time, these guys have since moved on & the industry has changed greatly since then. Sadly the Embroiderer is more or less a thing of the past now, there are plenty of people who can hit the start button on a machine, but that isn't embroidery. Tell me the stitch spacing you used and why, on what material, what stitch type, what underlay, how much pull compensation etc etc. Not too many would be able to tell you nowadays.
Maybe it is this attention to detail that makes our work stand out from the rest. Maybe this is why I do the 'specials' that no-one else is able to tackle, these are the jobs that make us embroiderers and not machinists. Anyone can send their logos away to get turned into stitch form, but then you have no control over the quality of what you get back.
Over the years I have helped many new start screen printers & embroidery business to get up & running. I have always tried to be as helpful as i can and share information that was freely shared with me back in the day. Not all these companies have made it but a couple have flourished which is great to see, and it is great to see some of what i have passed on being used on a day to day basis in these places.
I have been fortunate enough to work on some incredible one-off projects, jobs which very few would be willing to tackle these days. The commissioned Irish Dance dress for the Ulster Museum springs to mind, along with the LeMans race suit replica, our Round the World pennant and more recently the stole for the incoming President of the Methodist Church. Work which 'is the work of a genius' apparently, but i wouldn't go that far!!
We currently run 7 heads (embroidery machines) and cover a range of sectors from workwear, sportswear and school wear. Embroidery is the biggest percentage of our work but we also offer print as well. We have grown as our workload has increased, the business unit that seemed massive on day one is now pretty much full and we continue to turn out high end garment decoration right across the UK & Ireland.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped along the way, it has been (mostly) a fantastic journey. It has been 10x bigger a job than i ever expected, this is something that only the self employed would be able to relate to. But i wouldn't change it and i hope to be able to carry on turning out high quality embroidery & printing for a long time to come. T
Some of our most frequently asked questions are: Do you think print or embroidery will look best for my logo? OR I’d like to get some T-Shirts embroidered with my logo, can I do that?
1) Consider the products you wish to decorate
There are a few simple things to consider when deciding the best decoration techniques for the garments. It’s important to think about:
Type of Material (Cotton, Polyester, Elastane etc)
For instance a softshell jacket, most softshell materials are treated with a coating, if this material is then printed on then the colour tends to bleed through onto the logo itself. Although there are now Printable Softshell jackets on the market, we would always recommend embroidery to ensure longevity of your logo.
Elastane for example, is a delicate material and needs to be handled with care. The heat press used for the printing of your Logo can damage the fabric by leaving a slight impression of where the press has been used. For Elastane, we will always look to encourage embroidery for a more professional and clean decoration.
Weight/Thickness of Garment
The thickness of the material is a huge factor to take into consideration. For example lightweight T-shirts are not best suited to larger embroidery’s as the stitch count can be found to be too heavy for the material causing it to lean forward, print would work best for this scenario.
2) Complexity of your Logo
What are you using the decorated clothing for? Some quick and easy tips we always give our customers is to always think like the consumer as well as being financially sensible with your decision. Some questions to think about are:
3) The position and size of your Logo makes a difference!
The cost of embroidery and printing for simple chest sized logos up to 120mm are competitive. However, the larger the logo the more costly they become, with embroidery dependant on density and complexity.
Another influential factor for decoration, is the position in which you’d like your logo. We often get requests for large back embroidery on clothing used as their only layer, which we advise highly against due to the irritation that the underside of the embroidery can cause.
Are you looking to decorate sleeves? If you’re looking to have text running down the full length of a sleeve, then printing is your only option for this. However, if you have a small logo you wish to have at the top of a short-sleeved garment, then embroidery or print would be possible depending on factors outlined in Step 1.
4) Complexity of logo
A breakdown of things to consider:
5) What industry are the garments for?
Depending on the industry you work in, you might need to wash your uniforms on a high temperature, which can be damaging to decorated workwear. If the garment will need washing at a high temperature then we suggest embroidery for this particular scenario so we can remain confident in the longevity of the product.
Back by popular demand our personalised school leaver web shops. We realise under the current circumstances things are so uncertain, so let us take a little of the strain by creating your very own 2021 Leavers web shop.
Allowing parents and students to place their order directly with us, just like we have for many schools up and down the country. Making the order process quicker & easier, saving the school or parents the inconvenience of collating orders & collecting money.
We offer a wide range of garments including hoodies, sweatshirts, t-shirts all of which can be personalised to your specification. Simply contact us today if you would like further information on our services or would like to obtain a quote for your school.