But during recent years it became one of the most desired ways of customization in the promotional sector too. Commercial and promotional products are being decorated using embroidery. It is as famous of a method as screen printing or digital printing; it is one of the most common techniques in decorating.
Jan Meirlaen, from Tajima Europe, set down with sPrint Textile Decorations' DTP team to answer some questions.
sPrint: First, I would like to say it is very nice to have you here, and we welcome every input regarding embroidering.
Jan: Thank you.
sPrint: What is the most important advice you would give a person that recently started working in this line of work - embroidery?
Jan: People start by learning each trade, so basically they need to know that in this one there are two separated blocks; there are the machines, and there is the software. They are connected, so it is important to find the correct link between the two. Some people have more experience with their hands – sewing – and some have more experience with their heads – thinking how to create the design better. The combination between the two is vital, to see the design. It is not only working the machines, it is also thinking – "how can I make it better?", "how can I make it faster?", "how can I make it at a lower price?" so the customer is satisfied.
sPrint: From your point of view what is/ are the advantage/s of embroidering using Tajima?
Jan: Tajima is a worldwide leader in the business; since it was established in 1944. It is one of the best.
sPrint: Does the fabric influence the stitching? How? Why?
Jan: Yes. Embroidery is like a circle. You have the machine, you have the software, you have person, and of course, you have the needles and the threads – these you can choose. What you cannot choose is the fabric, the textile. That comes from the customer. Sometimes it is fine, even excellent, but sometimes it is like fighting. I started in 1989 in this business, almost 27 years ago. I see a big difference in the quality of the fabrics from now and then, during the years. It is not necessary a general change, but the quality is going down, even though it looks better. It looks nicer, but it is not at the same level as it used to be.
sPrint: Can the embroidery and equipment overweigh the lack of fabric quality?
Jan: Yes. We started with the analog machinery, and now we have digital servo-technique, and we also have feedback systems. So if the motherboard says "move" to the engine, it gives back information to the motherboard if it is correct or not. Before this was not possible. For example, if you start in point A you must arrive in point B, not near it or around it. It is much more precise, it is a better class of programming.
sPrint: Can the threads (thread quality) make a difference? How? Why?
Jan: Yes. So there are two main types of threads: the viscose and the polyester threads. The viscose threads are brighter, more brilliant, appealing; most of the time you see this thread when sewing ladies’ dresses, blouses, skirts. The polyester threads are mostly used for commercial use, company logos, for example. They can be divided, the viscose is a bit nicer, but it is not as strong; the polyester is stronger, but it doesn’t have that brilliance the viscose has. Also it is more color stable, better when washing.
sPrint: What does the future hold for Tajima? What are the plans for launching new products on the market? What do you have in store for us?
Jan: Yes, well you have new machines here from our latest generation of design and programming; they give better results and are more accurate. The machines that you have here, in comparison with earlier models, give a better result by approximately 20%. It is like the question before, if you start at point A you want to arrive at point B, not around it – these machines facilitate that, they are precise and accurate. They leave little room for mistakes.
sPrint: Does the fashion industry use Tajima embroidery equipment for designing new collections? Or is it rather more for promotional use?
Jan: Yes. It is not only for promotional use. In the last 20 years, there has been a wind of change; in the early days there were mostly clothing manufacturing, confections, but now there are not exclusive anymore, the market has changed towards the promotional too. They have been divided; the fashion industry has been, step by step, moved to other parts of the world where the costs are lower.
sPrint: How is Tajima different from other embroidery equipment/ machineries?
Jan: The precision.
sPrint: So, Jan, as we come to an end with the training and this interview, what are your impressions regarding sPrint Textile Decorations?
Jan: It is growing fast. I see a big evolution since the last time I was here, a year ago approximately. I see more structure, I see better lines. It is definitely an evolution.