One of the most common areas for embroidery on a shirt or blouse is the breast pocket. It is also one of the most inconvenient locations to establish an embroidered pattern as the pocket is attached to the shirt. So, how can it be done?

There are four ways:
1. Embroider the pocket before it is attached to the shirt (not very practical as most shirts arrive fully assembled)
2. Remove the pocket and embroider it (again, not practical as most embroiderers will not have the facility to handle this)
3. Embroider straight through both the pocket and the shirt (this effectively makes the pocket unusable)
4. Use a free arm machine and a special frame holding just the pocket, with the remainder of the shirt supported on the drop table

The best of these options is number four, but you will need a drop table embroidery machine to do this. A drop table is a machine where the bed or table can be dropped down below the machine head: fortunately, most modern machines come with this facility as standard.

If you have this facility all you need is a small frame that will fit inside the pocket. These days there are specialist frames available that have been designed for this purpose. Beware of the embroidery area, however, when using this method: remember that the frame takes up a whole chunk of the pocket, therefore minimising the allowed movement of the frame. When embroidering pockets like this the useable area is much smaller than using any of the other methods.

By far the easiest way, and the way to maximise the embroidery area, is method one, but – as previously noted – most embroiderers use stock garments, which come assembled, meaning this is an unlikely solution.

There is, however, a fifth – and much simpler – solution: convince the client to have the embroidery on the opposite side of the shirt to the pocket. This not only looks better, but also guarantees a useable pocket.

Roger Stendall, YES