Embroidery: Avoid the Pucker

It’s happened to every embroiderer– that one job puckers around the design. Of course, even though customers will take the finished product, and they usually don’t have a problem with a little pucker, but it is not acceptable to me.

The reason and resolution for the pucker:

1: Heavily Dense Design–

Solution: If the design is all fill, then thin out some of the fill. You can also change the direction of the fill stitch where appropriate. However– don’t change the direction just to change it. You have to protect the integrity of the design. If you are going for representation of waves in a water design, don’t make a checker-board.

2: Too Little Underlay–

Solution: Add more running stitches under your fill stitch. This will help lift the stitches up over the material and give it more stability.

3: Not Enough Stability–

Solution: There are two solutions for this one. First, make sure the material is hooped taught within the hoop. If the garment is loose, then it will move around during the stitch process, and result in the pucker. Second, you can always add an extra piece of backing to the shirt, under the hoop.

4: The Material–

Solution: Polyester and Poly-blends are more likely to pucker. It just is-what-it-is. If you do all the above steps, and the shirt still puckers, you can always heat-press the finished item on a commercial heat press at 325 degrees for 9 seconds. This will take out any minimal pucker to the poly garment and make it look clean. Speaking from experience, a home iron doesn’t work as well as the commercial heat press. Make sure to use the teflon sheet to not make the shirt shiny.


Good luck!

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