Embroidery Terms - guide for embroidering on clothing and fabrics
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Arm-Cylinder Machine: Also a multi-purpose which will perform the same application as the bridge cylinder, the only difference between the two is that the front to back embroidery field is limited to the span between the needle plate hole and the arm.

Bobbin: A spool that holds thread which forms the stitch on the back side of the material.

Border Frame: The border frame is a frame designed to hold large pieces of material using clips. There are many different applications that can be performed using the border frame. Most commonly used for patches, badges, etc.

Boring: Embroidery work with holes in it formed by a sharp instrument cutting the material and the subsequent stitches pulling the hole open.

Bridge Cylinder Machine: A multi-purpose machine that can perform embroidery operations on most finished garment, hats. It can also perform the same applications that the normal bridge machine performs on flats.

Bridge Machine: A machine with the heads attached to a bridge (beam) which allows an almost unlimited front to back embroidery field. The bridge machine can only be used for flat applications. Some finished items can be embroidered using devices specially designed for use on a bridge machine.

Cap Frame: A frame system designed for finished hats or similar items enclosed on one end.

Chain Stitch: A chain stitch is a stitch that looks like a linked chain and is most commonly used on manual and/or electronic chenille machines.

Chenille: A form of embroidery in which a loop (pile) or chain stitch is formed on the top of the material by pulling one thread (yarn) from underneath using a special needle.

Coiling: An application which wraps colorful thread around a core thread which is simultaneously attached to a base material so the stitches cannot be seen.

Cording: The application of limited sizes of yarn or soft cord on base materials using a special device and punching.

Emblem: Also referred to as a crest or patch this is normally an embroidered design with a finished or cleanly cut edge.

Frame: Also referred to as "hoop." A device to hold the material to be embroidered under the head, normally incorporating magnets, clamps, air/vacuum attachments to maintain stability during operation.

Head: The part of an embroidery machine which contains the needle bars, presser feet, and relative parts.

Jumbo Rotary Hook: A rotary hook with a capacity approximately 1.8 times that of a standard hook.

Lettering: Also referred to as monogramming, embroidery utilizing letters and/or words.

Lock stitch: A stitch most commonly used to tie off before and after the start of embroidery to prevent the thread ends from pulling out after trimming and to eliminate thread pull-outs at machine start. Usually 3-4 stitches in either a straight line or triangular configuration with movement to prevent the needle from falling in the same spot.

Moss stitch: Also referred to as loop stitch (See Chenille)

Network: Linking embroidery machines to a central computer to increase productivity through group data transfer and direct production management.

Punching: Also referred to as digitizing. Converting artwork into data containing commands that tell an embroidery machine what to do through the machine operating system. Punching actually comes from the old style embroidery machines called jacquard machines which read a 68mm card literally punched with holes read by a mechanical device which transferred these holes into commands.

R.P.M.: Also referred to as S.P.M., Revolutions (Stitches) Per Minute or the speed of the main shaft.

Running stitch: One stitch running between two points normally used for outlines and fine work that would be too small for other kinds of stitches. Also referred to as a walk stitch.

Satin Stitch: An arrangement of tightly grouped zigzag stitches which can be arranged to any desired angle.

Sock Frame: A frame specially designed to hold socks for embroidery.

S.P.M.: Stitches Per Minute, the speed of the main shaft, similar to R.P.M.

Stabilizers: selecting embroidery stabilizers

Stitch Processing: Using special DG/mL software which calculates the density compensation when designs are enlarged or reduce from their original scale. This eliminates either too many small stitches and/or increases density in areas that would be too thin because of enlargement.

Taping: The application of cord, tape, ribbon, etc. to a base material using the TMLH Series.

Tension: The force applied to thread making it possible to form stitches. Upper and lower thread tension is very important and must be set properly to obtain quality embroidery and eliminate the problem which coincide with poor thread tension adjustment. Optimum thread tension can be confirmed by looking at the back of the embroidery. The tension is appropriate when you can see 1/3 to 2/3 of lower thread on a column of satin stitches.

Tubular Frame: A frame system for cylindrical items, or items that cannot be laid flat. Most commonly used for T-shirts, jackets, etc.

Under thread controller: The "UTC" tells the operator that the bobbin thread has run out.

Y Embroidery space: The embroidery area of the machine in which the frame can be moved front to back. The embroidery field of the machine is normally marked on the table of the machine and will vary according to the application.

X Embroidery space: The embroidery area of the machine in which the frame can be moved side to side. The embroidery field of the machine is normally marked on the table of the machine and will vary according to the application.

3D Embroidery: Using urethane foam to give 3 dimensional appearance to embroidery. Foam is placed on the material and then embroidered upon. A high stitch density is used to cut the foam for easy removal.

The definitions on this page are from Tajima, one of the worlds best embroidery machine manufacturers.

Visit the Embroidery Definition in our clothing industry definitions section.

Embroidery Machines
Embroidery Threads
Embroidery Software
Embroidery Terms
Embroidery Design Services / Digitizing
Embroidery Associations
Interlining / Fusible
Embroidery Backcloth
Embroidery Stabilizer
Heat Transfer
Hooping Equipment
Embroidery Frames
Embroidery Supply Holders
Embroidery Magazines

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