Thread the Needle - embroidery explained | Banana Moon Blog

Thread the Needle

Today (25th July) is national thread the needle day… yes that is a thing. So what better way to mark the occasion than give you the rundown on one of our most popular processes, embroidery! Although this is a popular technique for personalising clothing, I feel there is a definite lack of general knowledge. So… I am here to educate you all on the basics of embroidery.

What is embroidery?

First of all what is it? Simply put, embroidery is the use of a needle and a thread to stitch pattern onto fabric. A variety of coloured yarn/thread can be used to create multicoloured, intricate designs. But, other materials have been incorporated into the process as sequins, beads and even pearls are often added to embellish a design.

Here at Banana Moon we have over 30 years’ experience with this popular technique. So, I will take you on a tour of our process step by step. Firstly, our wonderful design team have to digitise our customer designs or logos. They use a special programme to layer stitches over the image so we and our customers can see what it will look like. There’s thousands of stitch types but I won’t bore you by reeling them all off. I will just give you an explanation of the two key types that our team use. Satin is the first which creates a neat polished look for detailed areas. The second is tatami stitch which we use to fill large areas.

Once the design is perfect and approved, the image will go down to our talented production team who are ready and waiting to bring the design to life! We have countless colours available, so we have to identify what is needed for the logo and swap colours in/out. Next step is to frame the area to be embroidered and attach the t-shirt, cap, polo… anything really, to the machine. With our advanced automated machinery, we can embroider up to 8 garments at one time (and that’s on just one machine!). All that’s left is to press go. Watch our embroidery video here to see embroidery in action.

History of embroidery

Now you know what it is and how it’s used, the next question is how did it begin? Embroidery is actually thousands of years old…. and that’s not an exaggeration. The process can be dated all the way back to 30,000 BC. It’s crazy that after all this time we still use similar techniques. Embroidery is believed to originate in the Middle East and Asia where humans began to use stitching not just to sew fabrics together, but to embellish them. This continued throughout the centuries and spread across the world. The process became more and more lavish, with the addition of beads and jewels. Within Europe, embroidery actually became a sign of wealth and status, as the high class embellished their dresses and home furnishings.

But when the industrial revolution hit in the late 18th century, embroidery would be changed for ever. Here we saw the rise of automated machinery, meaning embroidered clothing could be produced much quicker and cheaper. Now embellished fabric was not just for the exceptionally wealthy but began to infiltrate into the lives of everyday people like you and me.

How is it used today?

So here we are back in the present! As you can probably imagine, embroidery hasn’t always been in fashion. Like most clothing trends, they fade in and out of popularity. However, this particular technique, generally favoured for its long lasting finish, has made a huge retail come back and appears to be sticking around. A few years ago, if I was asked about embroidery, I would’ve pictured my bright red primary school jumper or a less than stylish blouse my grandma would wear. But fast forward to today and the mental image is very different. In 2017 and 2018 embroidery has flooded into high street fashion. The big retailers are selling embroidered jeans, bags and jackets to name just a few. Floral embroidery has become a key trend for the last year and who knows how long it will stay part of our wardrobes. Looking at the beauty and detail in the designs we get, it’s easy to see why embroidery has become a fashion staple once again.

Here’s some of our favourite embroidered designs. See more here.

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