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Good Afternoon,
I am new to the forum and I’m currently looking to get into the embroidery game. I’m as new as it gets as far as industry experience so I’m hoping that some established embroiderers can answer the basics for me. As a quick reference, the product I’m working on are polo shirts with very basic (1-2 color) designs over the breast.
What machines are recommended (reliability, service support, TPM rate, networking, multi-job…)?
What type of stitching backing works well for cotton or cotton-blend fabrics?
Thread types and brands that are less likely to have breakage?
Additional equipment / materials needed for production?
Can anyone recommend a style/brand of polo that offers a wide variety of colors - preferably with tearaway tags?
If anyone can throw me some answers it would be much appreciated. Thanks.
 

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That's a lot of information you are requesting and everyone who answers you will have a different opinion on what machine, backing, thread, etc.
You need to visit a tradeshow such as Imprinted Sportswear Show - www.issshows.com - and look at all of your options for equipment, supplies, shirts, etc.
The brand of machine is not nearly as important as the training and tech support you will received.
I have a Barudan, but know that SWF, Tajima, Toyota, Happy and Melco make good machines.
Cutaway backing on knits (polos) and tearaway backing on wovens (denim) are a good rule of thumb.
There is a lot of good thread available. I use Isacord, Madeira, Robison-Anton and Sulky. The brand of thread won't determine thread breakage as much as the equipment you use.
Shirts can be purchased from many, many sources from really cheap to really expensive. Just depends on what your market is.
You need to do a lot of research before you get into the embroidery business.
In the meantime there are a lot of great contract embroiderers who can help you.
 

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Jane is giving good advice. Embroidery isn't something you learn overnight. I have at least a half dozen different stabilizers for different fabrics and it isn't a one type fits all applications world. All of the name brand machines are good and will serve you well IF you have good service and support(that should be your main concern). The stitch rate is pretty much determined by factors other than the rate the machine is rated at. Thread breaks usually occur for other reasons than the machine(ie, heat of thread going through needle, density of design or fabric, poor needles, etc). Most of us spend thousands on extras like threads, backings, hooping devices, and aftermarket frames. Learning to digitize , if you do other than stock designs, will also make your life easier in the long run. Both embroidery and digitizing have big learning curves to do it correctly. All of that said, we all had to start somewhere so it can be done. When you go to an ISS show, or similar, just remember that the vendors there are there to sell. Some pretty outrageous claims are made and I see lots of people think the machines and software do it all. That just ain't true:)
 

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I would recommend finding a small company that does embroidery and wholesale the work through them. You can buy your own garments and have them done. You can use San Mar or T-shirt Supplier for your source.

Once you have enough money to buy a machine, then go to the ISS and NBM shows and take a look.

I would suggest a name brand like SWF, Melco, Tajima or one of the other name brands. Stay away from the 2nd tier players. What was important to us was a vendor that was close by so we selected SWF.

For your supplies use allstitch and buy your thread direct from medeira.
 

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I also like Madeira thread. I'd choose poly over rayon because its cheaper, lasts longer and has less breakage. I like Emblematic 1-800-878-1235 (located in NJ) for backing because its very good and inexpensive. We do mostly polos and a soft med-heavy cutaway works great. Using a cutaway backing not only helps during the embroidery process but also helps preserve the design when the garment is washed. Some designs also need tear-away to sharpen registration. For machinery, the ability to network single head machines will give you more flexibility. For additional equipment I recommend purchasing a hooper (I like Hoop Master) and a shirt folder (Flip Fold). After you get started you might want to buy Fast Frames which are great for hooping bags, backs and sides of hats, sleeves and other items that can't easily be hooped with conventional hoops. Whoever you choose for suppliers try to use vendors that are a one day ship to you so you'll save on shipping costs.
 
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