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Embroidery Terms


Decoration or trimming cut from one piece of fabric and stitched to another to add dimension and texture. Designs with appliqué can be more economical than embroidery alone if appliqué occupies a significant amount of the design.


Woven or non-woven material used underneath the fabric being embroidered to provide support and stability.

Bean stitch:

Three stitches placed back and forth between two points, often used for outlining.


Collection of thread between goods and needle plate resembling a bird’s nest. May be caused by improper tensioning of the top thread or not following thread path correctly.


Spool or reel that holds the bobbin thread which helps form stitches on the underside of the fabric.


Coarse woven fabric stiffened with glue, used to stabilize fabric for stitching. Commonly used in caps to build the front panel.

Chain stitch:

Stitch that looks like a chain link formed with one thread fed from the bottom.


Form of embroidery in which a loop stitch is formed on the top of the fabric.

Complex fill:

A digitizing capability that allows void areas to be so designated when mapping perimeter points.

Condensed format:

Method of digitizing in which a proportionate number of stitches are placed between defined points after a scale has been designated.


Two stitches that cross at the center to form an X.


Unit of weight used to measure the fineness of thread. Deniers are represented by the weight of the strands of thread, a slash, and the number of strands per thread.


Term for punching that reflects the computerized method of converting artwork into a series of commands to be read by an embroidery machine’s computer.


Embroidery design with a finished edge usually worn on outer clothing.


Decorative stitching on fabric.

Expanded format:

A format where individual stitches in a design have been digitized, generally meaning that the design can’t be enlarged or reduced more than 10-20% without causing distortion.


Material hooped or placed on top of fabrics with a surface texture that are to be embroidered, compacting the texture and holding the stitches above it.

Fill stitch:

Series of running stitches commonly used to cover large areas.


Process done after embroidery is complete, including trimming loose threads, cutting or tearing away excess backing, removing facing, cleaning, pressing and packaging for sale or shipment.


Up and down motion of goods under action of the needle.

FOX test:

Method of testing thread tension and soundness of timing. Sew the word FOX in one inch satin stitch block letters. Examine the reverse side for correctly balanced ratio of one-third bobbin thread to two-thirds top thread.


Holding device for insertion of goods under an embroidery head for the application of embroidery. May employ a number of means for maintaining stability during the embroidery process.


Variety of techniques that allow loading of multiple units to be embroidered in a single loading operation.

H test:

Method of testing thread tension. Stitch one inch block letters for each needle bar. The reverse side of the completed embroidery should show a ratio of two-thirds top thread to one-third bobbin thread.

Holding fixtures:

Devices used to hold or frame small or unusually shaped items such as socks or gloves.

Hook assembly:

Holds the bobbin case in the machine and plays a vital role in stitch formation. Making two complete rotations for each stitch, its point meets a loop of top thread at a precisely timed moment and distance to form a stitch.


Device made from wood, plastic or steel with which fabric is gripped tightly between an inner ring and outer ring and attached to the machine for embroidering.

Interlock stitch:

Two or more rows of overlapping satin stitches.

Jump stitch:

Movement of the machine without needle penetration commonly used to get from one point in a design to another.


Embroidery using letters or words.

Lip hooping:

Known as recessed hooping, this technique is useful when hooping bulky or slick fabrics such as insulated jackets.

Lock stitch:

Commonly referred to as a lock-down stitch, it is formed by three or four consecutive stitches of at least a ten point movement. It should be used at the end of all columns, fills and any element where jumps will follow.


Short for logotype, name, symbol or trademark of a company, organization or individual.


Marking of goods to serve as an aid in positioning the frame and referencing a needle start point.


Embroidered design composed of one or more letters, usually the initials in a name.


Small, slender piece of steel with a hole for thread and a point for stitching fabric. Sharp points are for piercing heavy, tightly woven fabrics. Ball points are for gliding between fibers of knits.

Needle bar:

Bar that holds the needle and regulates the distance to which the needle is driven into the bobbin assembly.


Conversion of artwork into a series of commands to be read by an embroidery machine’s computer.


Correct registration is achieved when all stitches and design elements line up correctly.

Running stitch:

Consists of one stitch between two points, used for outlining and fine detail.


Stitches per minute for measuring the running speed of an embroidery machine.

Satin stitch:

Formed by closely arranged zigzag stitches.


Ability to enlarge or reduce a design.


Cutting utensil having a curved handle with one hole for the thumb, another hole for two or more fingers, and an overall length of usually more than six inches. Used for cutting fabrics on a table or other flat surface.

Short stitch:

A digitizing technique that places shorter stitches in curves and corners to avoid unnecessarily bulky build-up of stitches.

Stitch editing:

Digitizing feature that allows one or more stitches in a pattern to be deleted, lengthened or altered.


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UPIC - Universal Promotional Identification Code - GPromosSAGE Distributor Member 22687

Pricing and availability subject to change without notice. All logos shown in product images are for demonstration only, and are not intended to represent that the products are either endorsed by, or produced for the owners of the artwork, design or trademark. Your products will have your own custom imprint. Most pricing includes a one color imprint.