Machine: SWF Man 12

From YES

Jessica Leek


Tell us a bit about your business
My husband Mark and I set up LAH Fabrics in 2014, in Kirkby-in-Ashfield. Recently we’ve had huge success in producing personalised embroidered cloth badges for a variety of niche fan communities, one of which is Star Wars. I am part of a charity called Sentinel Squad UK and through that found the connection to making Star Wars personalised patches. We also do straightforward embroidery such as workwear, from one-offs to bulk orders.

What machines do you have?
We initially invested in an SWF E-T1501C embroidery machine from YES when we first started the business. SWF has a good industry reputation for manufacturing robust machinery. The machines provide a consistent embroidered design from piece to piece and the item produced is a high quality with a perceived high value.

Why did you get the second SWF?
I was running lots of patches on the 1501 – this type of job works well on the T1501C due to its additional cutting capability – which didn’t leave me any space to run the normal workwear jobs, so we started looking around for another machine. We have since invested in another machine, the SWF Man 12, to cope with this increased demand. Having the mix of the machines means we can access bigger runs and quicker change over-times.

Also, because I’ve got four cutting needles, the boring needles, on the 1501, if we get a massive patch job I can take two needles out and stick them onto the Man 12 and let them both run patches.

What are the main advantages of the SWF machines
Reliability. Absolutely. We’ve had no issues with either machine, they just run, as long as you look after them and do the normal maintenance. When we bought the 1501, what we got with it was a little case with spare parts in it. We had really good advice from YES in regards to the embroidery machine, what to do and what not to do, how to change things if we ever had to – it’s worked really well for us.

Is there anything you’d like to see in an upgrade or don’t like?
No. The only problem I’ve got at the moment is the USB ports wear out quite quickly, but then again you use them every day to transfer images. We’ve got the computer in the middle of the room so I could connect a cable, but it’s running that cable and not having it in the way. What we’re looking at right now is a Windows tablet: basically you transfer your design, your DXT file, into the cloud and pick it up at the machine through the tablet, and then use the tablet as your storage device. We’re in the process of figuring that out – if I can get that to work I’ll be chuffed to bits.

What are the SWF machines like to use?
They’re really easy to use.

What would be your advice to others thinking of buying an embroidery machine?
Have a good look around and be sure of where you want to go and what you want to do. I’d never have thought patches would be that big a thing!

The machines provide a consistent embroidered design from piece to piece and the item produced is a high quality with a perceived high value