Understanding the Embroidery Process

Embroidery has come a long way since the days of our grandmothers embellishing rugs in the old world (to be honest, I’m not even sure what that means). Nowadays, embroidery is a huge industry that employs the latest in technology – including both software and machinery. The embroidery process has evolved greatly in the past century, but understanding the basics doesn’t have to be difficult – and it helps to know a bit about the process when ordering custom embroidered garments.

Artwork Check/Prep

Some design take to embroidery better than others. So the first step in process is always to perform an art check to ensure that the design will translate well to the embroidery process. Things like fine detail, color gradients, and ornate typography can cause problems later, so we always perform an art check as the first step in the process. Unless we’re designing the artwork in house, in which case our graphic designers work with the embroidery specifications in mind.


Modern embroidery is done with an embroidering machine – gone are the days where embroidery required days of hand stitching. This automation has greatly reduced the workload, but all embroidery artwork now must be digitized before the machine takes over. Digitizing the artwork basically makes a stitch map for the machine to follow – converting from standard art formats to a special file that the embroidery machine can read and reproduce.

Sew Out

The sew out is like a test run of the digitized file. While the digitized art gives a good idea of the final product, some designs will require a sew out to ensure that they are properly rendered by the embroidery machine. Sew outs aren’t always necessary – especially with common colors/shapes or files that have been embroidered before – but they provide valuable tool for analyzing new or complex designs.

Hooping and Clamping

Things start getting more technical at this point, and unless you’re looking to start your own embroidery shop you shouldn’t worry about it too much. Once the artwork has been digitized and checked, the garment is fitted with a hoop that will surround the design and that hoop is clamped to the embroidery machine. This controls the movement of the garment and thus the placement and building of the design.


The embroidery process leaves behind a backing material on the underside of the garment. Once the embroidery is complete that backing is removed (or trimmed). Depending on the design, colors, and machines; the backing is either trimmed down to the size of the final embroidery, or a tear-away backer is used and the excess material is just stripped from the garment.

Embroidery Experts

Knowing the basic embroidery process is helpful, but there’s no need to get too involved when you have experts you can rely on. Fusion Group USA has been custom printing apparel from day one; and we have the knowledge, expertise, and equipment to handle any embroidery job – large or small. If your business, sports team, church, or club need custom apparel, contact us today and see how Fusion Group USA produces the highest quality custom apparel at highly competitive prices!

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