Beechfield Brands and Your Embroidery Services (YES) team up to create a show-stopping Space Invaders design on a Quadra despatch bag

Quadra’s Vintage Canvas Despatch Bag (QD610) is a covetable item even without any decoration, but it’s fair to say that since YES got its needles on the bag, the Images team has been in a constant battle over who gets to keep it.

The light grey Vintage Canvas Despatch Bag is made of washed canvas, has a zippered main compartment and dual rear pouch pockets. It also features a Rip-Strip closure, has gunmetal fittings and measures 40 x 30 x 12 cm with a 14-litre capacity.

The stylish bag was despatched by Beechfield Brands to Richard Croft, the graphics and marketing administrator at YES, along with the EPS file of the Images logo. His inspired design saw different coloured space invaders being placed around the Images logo, which was then passed to embroidery technician Steve Gilbert for digitising.

“Because the artwork is of a high quality, the vector lines are already there and so the software already knows half the information,” explains Steve. “It knows the boundaries of what needs to be created, and the colours, but what it doesn’t know is the type of stitch you want to use. I made it a little bit more interesting by putting in some alternative fill patterns within the little characters.

“With any embroidered image, you’re not just talking about shape and colour, you’re talking about texture as well. Texture in embroidery is very, very important. The angle of the stitches when they go in will cast the light in different ways. It puts a direction and a flow into the embroidery that you don’t normally get with flat images. It isn’t a printed shape, it has texture and it catches the light, and the glossy thread shows this up nicely.

Flat v textured fills

“The particular shapes in this design are fairly blocky. If you used a standard flat fill, they would look quite similar, just with slightly different shapes and colours. By putting texture in, you’re putting something in there that you can’t do in print.

“For 99% of all commercial embroidery – logos and the like – you want a flat shape. With something like this, you can be a bit more adventurous. For a standard logo, we’d normally choose a fill pattern which gives us the most obvious texture in embroidery, and that is what’s known as a 33% repeat pattern. With a 3 mm stitch, as we used in this design, after the first row, the second row is offset by one-third of the stitch (1 mm) and then this is repeated, so the fourth row would look like the first row, and so on. It’s a bit like building a brick wall. You don’t really see the 33% pattern in embroidery, you just see the colour.

“With this design, however, we’ve created a zigzag fill in one space invader, a basket weave pattern that has a wicker basket type effect in another, then there are diagonals in another, like a quilt, and circles… When you see the entry point of the stitches in the pattern, your eye picks up on that as being textured.”

The software Steve used, Wings XP 6, has around two or three hundred different pattern options of varying difficulty build into it. The simple ones tend to be most effective, he reports, which is ideal on small characters as seen on the Quadra bag.

The design was produced on a Ricoma RCM-1501TC-7S embroidery machine. “What’s special about the Ricoma RCM-1501TC-7S is that it has a high definition true colour 7” touch screen which a lot of the other models can’t offer,” says Steve. “Cap frames, networking software and on board lettering are included so this machine is ideal for someone that wants a quick and complete set up. The production specs include a maximum speed of 1200 stitches per minute covering an embroidery area of 560mm x 350mm. Notable software features include thread break detection, wi-fi and networkable capabilities and an enormous storage size of 20,000,000 stitches.”

Bag embroidery: Step-by-step

Steve adds texture to the fills using the Wings XP 6 software

The design is rotated before embroidering starts, allowing the bag to hang in front of the Ricoma RCM-1501TC-7S machine, out of the way of the embroidery head

A backing isn’t needed as the woven, lined bag provides sufficient stability by itself

All the red space invaders are embroidered first…

And then the pale blue space invaders, and then the pink

Doing all the same coloured space invaders together reduces the amount of time spent on thread changes

The space invaders have different fill patterns

The varying textures can be seen as the light catches the threads


  • The design used 12 shades of FuFu polyester thread: black, burgundy, light blue, dark purple, light green, dark gold, bright yellow, dark green, light purple, aqua blue, dark blue and dark red
  • The embroidery frame measured 260mm by 260mm
  • The design measured 250mm (width) by 216mm
  • There were around 29,000 stitches in the design
  • It took approximately 33 minutes to embroider the design