Embroidery vs. Heat Press

Should I choose embroidery or heat press for my project? What is the difference? What are the care instructions for each?

While both use special machines, the look and effect are totally different. Embroidery is created using a type of sewing machine. There are needles and thread involved. Color options are many and can change with each design and garment. There typically isn’t a charge for additional colors.

20151201_103020Embroidered designs have a sort of 3D look about them, due to the thread position on the garment. It is the best choice for hats and business branded clothing. With the right care, embroidered items last for a long time.

Embroidery is typically sold by the stitch. Prices depends on the size of the logo. Some places have a flat fee of $1 per 1000 stitches while others include a set amount of stitches in with the price of the clothing.

Heat press designs are typically one or two colors. The more colors a design has, the more 20160217_141604costly it becomes. Heat press designs come on a sheet and are transferred to garments via a giant, custom-made iron. Because of the transfer process, they have a flat look. Heat press designs are a good option for events or sports teams where prices need to be kept low and longevity of the design isn’t required.

Care instructions

Here are the care instructions that embilibrary.com recommends for embroidery.

Hand-washing and air-drying are your gentlest options.

When machine washing embroidered clothing, turn the garments inside out to protect the embroidery from abrasion. When possible, avoid washing embroidered items with items that have metal hardware such as zippers.

To avoid shrinkage, wash the fabric as gently as possible, and air-dry if you can. Make sure to follow the fabric’s care instructions.

If you’re concerned about the thread color bleeding onto the fabric (or vice versa), wash gently in cold water. If you notice any bleeding when washing the fabric, rinse the item in cool water until the color is removed. Some say rayon thread is less colorfast than polyester thread, and deep red colors are most likely to bleed.

If pressing the embroidered item, either use a pressing cloth over the embroidery, or iron on the back. Don’t let the iron touch the embroidery directly.  Use dry heat and avoid the steam feature on your iron — steam can cause the stabilizer to shrink up, creating a puckered look.

Keep in mind that all textiles show wear as they’re washed and used. Your job is to help your embroidered creations age gracefully so that they’ll bring joy and color into your life for years to come.

The website threadinitup.com recommends the following for heat press care.

Regardless of the heat transfer vinyl brand or style, we recommend that all decorated garments be washed inside out. Follow the individual product’s care instructions paying particular attention to water temperature and drying recommendations.

Preferred Method
• Turn garment inside out.
• Machine wash COLD with mild detergent.
• NO bleach.
• Dry at a normal dryer setting on household machines.
• Do not dry clean.
• Instructions apply to the vinyl material only, please follow garment washing instructions as well.