Technical tips, advice and suggestions from the industry’s experts

Q. What’s your advice on choosing and using needles?

Needles are the connection between your embroidery machine and your thread and have a major influence on production and profitability. Here are some golden rules for choosing and using needles:

Don’t penny-pinch Use only high quality needles: saving a few pennies here could cost you many pounds in the future.

Use the correct point form and size for the fabric This is particularly important for fabrics such as leather and satin.

Always match needle size with the size and type of thread A needle that is too large for the thread can be just as costly to production as one that is too small.

Change your needles Needles wear out and become damaged and it is imperative to match the size and type of needle to the thread you’re using and the fabric you are decorating. Don’t be dissuaded by the large number of needles on an embroidery machine: the time it takes to change the needles could save hours of heartache later on.

Retro tip: In the past embroiderers would use silicone lubricant to help the thread pass smoothly through the eye of the needle. Don’t do it: this was a bad habit then and is an even worse one now!

Roy Burton, Your Embroidery Services

Using the right size needle with the correct point form is crucial to smooth production and quality finished results

Giving up the ghost

Q. I’m getting a double image on my sublimation prints: what’s happening and how do I stop it?

You’re describing ghosting. Put simply, ghosting occurs when the substrate shrinks during the heat transfer process, causing a double image on the substrate. The job would then have to be repressed and reprinted, doubling the cost of the inks and the paper, not to mention the waste of the fabric/garment.

To prevent ghosting, test all substrates for shrinkage before the heat sublimation transfer is put anywhere near the substrate. If the fabric/substrate shows any sign of shrinkage heat set the substrate at a few degrees over the pressing temperature – typically 200°C, so heat set at 205°C – prior to pressing. This simple solution can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds per year and can mean the difference between making a profit or a loss on a job.

If the substrate cannot be heat set due to the manufacture type (for example, a made-up garment) investigate other paper types with extra adhesion qualities, such as Tack Plus (available from Sabur). The paper’s extra tack helps to eliminate the risk of ghosting.

Dean Sangar, Sabur ink systems

You can prevent ghosting by heat setting your substrate at a few degrees over the pressing temperature prior to pressing