Tips on Buying Custom Embroidered Apparel


You might look at purchasing custom embroidered apparel as the same as buying a custom screen printed T-shirt, but buying custom embroidered apparel is actually quite different, with a lot of things to keep in mind. You don’t want to end up with a shoddy product that doesn’t look good and that no one would want to wear. Be choosy about your custom embroidered apparel, and make sure you understand how to buy custom embroidered apparel.

The advantages to custom embroidered apparel over printed clothing include durability and color choices. While custom imprinting for T-shirts or other garments may be limited to one color, with the price going up if you opt for four-color printing, embroidery often includes as many colors as you want – as long as you stay within the stitch count (more on that later). Another plus of purchasing custom embroidered apparel is that you can often score pretty low minimums for your orders. In other words, where you may have to buy 144 imprinted T-shirts to get the wholesale price, embroidered apparel tends to be of higher quality, and you can purchase fewer items to get the wholesale price. Some wholesale retailers feature minimums as low as 12 for custom embroidered apparel, so you’ll get the wholesale price but won’t have to buy a ton to get what you’re seeking. Here are a few other things to keep in mind when shopping for custom embroidered apparel.

Quality: Don’t skimp on the clothing that you’re planning to get embroidered. High quality apparel will hold up longer. The embroidery on the clothing is more durable and will likely outlast something that’s simply screen printed, so make sure the apparel will last, as well. As about thread quality, too. There are different types of threads used in embroidered apparel – rayon, polyester and cotton – and varying degrees of quality in the type of those threads used, as well. Talk to your vendor to find out the best thread for your custom embroidery needs.

Cost of embroidery: Be cautious. There can often be fees involved besides the set-up fee, the cost of the clothing and shipping from the vendor. If the vendor uses a third-party to do the custom embroidery, they may charge you to ship it to that third-party location and then to the vendor.

Stitch counts/embroidery size: Some vendors charge based on stitch count, which depends on the intricacy of the design. For example, a larger design that is simple may end up costing less than a smaller design that includes a lot of detail. Check to see what the stitch limit is and make sure you find out the number of stitches in your specific design. If it exceeds the stitch limit, you may be charged extra.

Other vendors charge based on the size of the design. If your logo or custom embroidery design exceeds that size, you may be charged more. Figure out the costs as you go through the process so you’re not shocked with the price tag at the end.

Location: The beauty of custom embroidery is that it can pretty much be done anywhere on a piece of apparel. While you might not want to have your logo stretched across the belly of a polo shirt, there’s room to be a little more creative than the standard chest embroidery. Consider embroidery on sleeves or pockets for a different look.

Thread color: Don’t make the mistake of having thread that matches the custom embroidered apparel too closely. Your design will vanish into the background. Often, vendors can make recommendations as to what will look good. They’ve seen it all, so they can usually make suggestions to improve the look of the finished product. Ask to see a preview beforehand so you can get a clue as to how the custom embroidered apparel will look, and adjust accordingly until you’re satisfied with the thread color on the background you choose.

Also, keep in mind that thread colors don’t necessarily jive with the digital colors that make up your logo or design. The vendor will often do some behind-the-scenes work to make sure the thread color matches the logo as closely as possible, but it may not be perfect.

All in all, the benefits of buying custom embroidered apparel are many, and while it may seem like a bit more work than just slapping your logo on apparel a la screen printing, your vendor can help you out with any questions you might have. If you’re unsure about something – even if it’s as simple as the thread quality – don’t hesitate to ask. Embroidery lasts a long time, so make sure you’re getting the quality custom embroidered apparel that you desire.

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