Your Guide for Embroidery and Screen Printing

Embroidery is sold in the following way:
1. A computer file, often called a “tape” from the distant past when paper tapes ran the embroidery machine, is created to tell the sewing machine where to put the stitch.  Remember in moving a logo from paper to fabric, we are working in miniature with usually no more than 2.5″ high and 3.5″ wide to work with.  Also text has to be 1/4 to 3/8″ tall to sew properly.  Everything that can be done on paper can’t be done in embroidery.  There is a set-up charge for the set-up, usually about $45-60 but can be more if more than 5,000 stitches.  A best practice is to quote you the price before set-up begins.  There should not be a charge on another order unless a modification is requested.
2. A charge is made for each item that is stitched.  It is based on the total number of stitches and number of positions.  Often it is necessary to do a sleeve imprint to add a tagline that is part of a logo.  Most run charges are in the $4-6.00 range.  I have one that has 14,000 stitches and cost $8.00 each time it is run.  I normally add the run charge to the item charge to give a unit price.
3. Often times people don’t realize that with embroidery you can get 5 colors for the price of one.  Most machines can do 5 thread colors at one time.
4. On small quantities, embroidery is comparable in price to screen printing and look a lot lot better.
5. A best practice is to provide a printout (on paper) or a sewout (actual stitching) before the job is done. Only way to get assurance the logo will be done correctly.
6. Thread colors can match most Pantone colors but if you request a special color, you may need to pay for a special order of thread.  No embroidery shop should be expected to stock every thread color.
7. Often a company or organization will need a collection of items put together like a couple of golf shirts in both mens and ladies styles, caps, jackets, sweatshirts, etc.  We are happy to work with them and create marketing materials.  We can also assist in developing an online store where members can go and purchase goods.  Store set-up has greatly dropped in price and can be done as cheap as $20 a month.  We can process credit cards and forward a rebate check on a regular basis.
8. We fold and bag each item to keep them clean until delivered to the purchaser. Not everyone does.
9. Keep in mind the use of the item in deciding which ones to add to the collection.  See for one good source for apparel.
10. Call today to discuss your needs at 804-241-1152.
Screen Printing
1. Like embroidery there is a set-up and run charge for screen printing.  You should not expect to pay a second set-up unless the art is modified.  There is an added charge for multiple colors.  Lighter color shirts are cheaper than dark colors and also will need a white undercoat to look right. 
2. Color is usually added one at a time but with computers colors can be mixed to create the look of multiple colors.  One job I did was 4 colors but looked like 6–client paid for 4 and liked that idea.
3. Screen printing allows for large size graphics at an economical price. 
4. The test of a screen printer is the technical ability but more important is the art department.  That separates the good from the best.
5. Pantone colors can be matched for exact color but expect to pay extra for an exact match.  I once saw production people dropping ink by the drop into a batch to print to get the exact formula of color.
6. Large size graphics with a heavy concentration of ink can be uncomfortable on a person’s chest.  When exercise happens the ink sticks to the flesh.  We call it “bullet proof”–wouldn’t suggest it but not going to stop anyone from doing that kind of job.  Large graphics are better on the back, small left chest on the front.
7. All ink is cured in a dryer to set the colors.  Some fabrics are harder to cure than others-man made ones like nylon especially–they tend to melt.
8. All apparel comes off the dryer and are usually folded in dozens and dropped in a box.  We like to fold and inspect each item to make sure there are no holes or loose threads.  If included in the order, most shirts are bagged for delivery to ensure they stay clean.
9. We can create a collection that includes screen printing items in with embroidery.  Call today to discuss your needs at 804-241-1152.  One good source is at   Cotton continues to rise but screen printing prices haven’t changed for me since 2005.  Use a competent counselor to help you pick the right apparel items.
10. Only use the best screen printers, ask around. Everyone has horror stories of how art was “butchered” or ink did not cover the apparel completely.  Poor quality is a reflection on you and your company or organization.