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Learning Glossaries

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3-D Foam Embroidery
Applied under the embroidery to puff up the stitches and add dimension. Also referred to as “puff embroidery”, a sheet of 3D foam is placed prior to stitching. The stitches cut the foam and the excess is pulled away. Often used for lettering on caps, the design must be digitized appropriately so that the foam under the columns is not crushed and the excess is cut away clean by the needle penetrations.
A treatment applied to the garment to prevent pilling, or the formation of little balls of fabric due to wear.
The use of fabrics sewn onto one another for decoration that adds dimension and texture. Designs with applique are economical because they reduce the number of embroidery stitches needed to fill the design area.
Automatic Color Change
The ability of a multi-needle commercial embroidery machine to follow a command to change to another specified needle with a different thread color.
Back Applique
A piece of fabric used behind a design where the front fabric will be cut away to reveal the fabric underneath. Also known as "reverse applique".
A woven or non-woven support material added to the back of the fabric being embroidered. It can be hooped with the item or placed between the machine throat plate and the hooped garment. It comes in various weights in three types: tearaway, cutaway, and washaway.
Balboa Stitch
A technique used to produce tone-on-tone designs that feature the actual stitches as a background and give the fabric prominence. Has an embossed appearance.
Bean Stitch
A stitch type consisting of three stitches set down close together between the two points of one stitch before moving forward to create the next stitch in a line. The penetrations are so close together that the sides of the stitch push out, resulting in an oval, bean-like shape. Considered a “special line stitch”, it’s applied when a running stitch alone is not bold enough, such as when outlining filled elements or to depict other line elements, as seen in Redwork/Bluework/Blackwork designs.
Thread collecting between the fabric and needle plate. Can be caused by inadequate upper thread tension, upper thread not going through the take-up lever, upper thread not following the correct path, or flagging (the up and down motion caused in part by improper hooping).
Blatt Stitch
Schiffli term meaning "to feed the yarn", therefore producing a long zigzag stitch with threads lying close together. Adapted for multi-head use; see Satin Stitch.
A digitizing technique that makes different colors of thread flow together in a more pleasing manner. Relies heavily on variable densities. Gives a design a more realistic, 3-D look.
Spool or reel that holds the bobbin thread, which forms secure stitches on the underside of the fabric.
Bobbin Case
Small, round metal device for holding the bobbin. Used to tension the bobbin thread.
Bobbin Embroidery
Designs worked with the fabric hooped face down and the specialty thread or ribbon wound onto the bobbin. This is most effective for simple designs or special effects with threads too heavy to be threaded through the needle.
Permanently joining two fabrics together with a bonding agent. Heat sealing.
Chain-stitch machine developed in the 1800s. Named for its French inventor, Emile Bonnaz, and first manufactured by the Cornely Co. of France.
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