Embroidery design    What is embroidery onto clothing?

One for the earliest decisions in the buying process, after you have chosen your garments, is to decide on whether you want your logo or design printed or embroidered.

There are good reasons why one or the other will work better for you and this can be due to a number of reasons.
It is often a little more expensive than screen printing , but unlike screen printing it is not charged per colour but on the number of stitches in your design .

Your FREE embroidered logo must fit within a 12cm diameter, all additional logos, thereafter, must also fit within a 12cm circle (except large front and back logos which must be one line of text only 25cm long).

All additional logos have a one-off charge of £10 setup plus a charge for the embroidery(T&C's Apply). Call 01325 351594 for any other size embroidered logo. 

The size of your design and the amount of infill stiches are the determining factors when it comes to how much your design will cost.

When is embroidery a good option over printing?

Embroidery offers a more prestigious looking and harder wearing decorative solution.
With these two reasons in mind, this means an embroidered logo is often better in the following circumstances;
On outside workwear when the garments will be washed frequently.
For catering wear and kitchen wear. These garments become soiled and stained every day requiring frequent hot washing.
When your staff are 'customer facing' and you need to be making the right impression with your business identity.You may be buying polo shirts or smart office shirts.
If your budget does not allow frequent replenishment of clothing.
On rain jackets or heavy winter jackets. These garments are often treated with a water repellent coating after they have been manufactured. This also repels ink or transfer adhesive.
On Fleeces or knitwear. It is not possible to print on the fluffy surface of a fleece or loose knitwear.
On caps. It is possible to print onto caps but we feel that embroidery always works better.

When is embroidery not a good option over printing?

Embroidery cannot work all the time for every order. This means a logo is often better applied using a direct to garment digital process or transfer/vinyl. Here are the reasons why embroidery may not work;
Your logo/design has very fine detail or small fonts. Any text in your design will not be embroider- able unless it is at least 6mm high. This is a common problem and often requires us to adjust the composition of the design to make it work. Enlarging text and rearranging it so that the required scale is reached.
Your logo has gradients. This is when an object in your design changes colour as you move across it. It is not easy or often advisable to try to achieve gradients in embroidery, only block (spot) colours are advisable.
When your logo needs to be large. The price of embroidery is based on the number of stitches. We will normally quote up to 25000 stitches. A left breast logo can be anything from 3000 stitches for a single line of text up to 15000-20000 stitches for a dense, background stitched design such as a college crest. The max size of an embroidered logo normally would not exceed 10cm x 10cm and this means that embroidery is commonly used for left breast, arm or nape of the neck embroideries. It is rare for us to produce large back embroideries for cost reason but there are also practical reasons. See next point
Embroidery has 'weight' to it. This can mean that it is unsuitable for thin garments under the 140gsm range. Most modern sportswear is now made of polyester and would be in this category, as would some budget T shirts or fashion wear. Embroidery also leaves a slightly rough finish on the inside of the garment which means that it can be a potential irritant if worn on close fitting garments used for sports.

How is my design actually embroidered?

You will more than likely be able to supply your artwork in a digital format such as a JPG, vectored Illustrator or rasterised Photoshop file. These are the common formats that customers are now able to provide but your artwork must go through a 'redrawing' process by one of our skilled artisans in order for it to be in a format that can be read by our embroidery machines.

This can be a simple or complicated process depending on your design and the skill of the digitiser can bring extra 'life' to your design if they apply certain techniques while digitising your design.
We used sophisticated and industry specific CAD programs to make the conversion. This involves us importing your design into the program and then redrawing your design and plotting the type of stitch, stitch frequency, stitch size and stitch direction of your design for the embroidery machinery to read.
We tend to output these files as DST files but there are other formats.
The digitiser interprets your design and applies certain techniques to make it work on the machines and aesthetically.
There are good digitisers and bad digitisers as there is with every skilled sector.
A good digitiser will make decisions about your design that will optimise the finished result.
A bad digitiser will use the 'auto-digitise' function in the software without applying any skill.

At Shirtworks we pride ourselves with the quality of our finished embroidered garments and will always go that extra mile to ensure that the finished garments are of a very high quality.

Pros and cons of embroidered clothing


Pros – Prestigious, quality look; great for small designs such as company logos, names or web addresses; ideal for sweatshirts, heavier t-shirts and school uniforms; no further set-up costs for repeat orders.


Cons – Can be expensive for larger designs. Detail can be limited

What is digital printing on T-shirts?

digital-sampleDigital printing or direct to garment printing as it is sometimes known as is a relatively new concept and works in the same way as an inkjet printer but we use t-shirts instead of paper. 

What sets it apart from other printing processes we use for garments is that it can produce much higher resolution prints, making it great for replicating detailed images onto your t-shirt. It also has no set-up and is perfect for low numbers – the minimum order is just one!

We now have over 9 years experience of printing digitally and have recently upgraded our machinery to the latest versions. This has enabled us to produce superb results for our customers.  The quality of the t-shirt has a direct effect on the quality of the prints that can be achieved and every t-shirt will print in a different way. The T-shirts with the tighter weave will give you the best results, so we recommend staying away from the very cheapest end of our range. Cheaper digital machines are limited to printing onto white t-shirts and also limited in size of print, we don’t have such limitations and we print on all colours of shirts and can print  a massive 610 x 450cm. 



One great advantage of digital printing is the softness of the print onto dark shirts, this can make a massive difference to the feel of the shirt if your design uses a large blocks of colour. 

Our ink manufactures recommend a 30c wash, although we are very happy with our wash results at 40c.  For best results artwork should be produced to 300dpi but we are able to achieve satisfactory results with lower resolutionand we can help with this if your artwork is not high enough resolution.  Digital printing works best when using artwork with tones, gradients and shading.

With digital printing we are reproducing your artwork so the better your artwork is the better results we will get, ideally artwork should be 300dpi and we except most formats including jpg, png, psd, ai and pdf. Jpg's files will have a background colour to the design, which is normally white, we will consult with you and remove this before printing.

With digital printing the print will vary depending on the brand and type of t-shirt we print on and we can advise you on this, depending on your design and budget. 

Pros and cons of digital printing


Pros – High resolution, detailed prints, soft to touch prints; minimum order of one; lasts well.



Can be expensive, can only print onto 100% cotton garments; some variation between prints can occur.

Vinyl Cut Printing for Individual Names and Numbers

Method: Vinyl printing, or Cad Cut, involves a computer-controlled blade which digitally cuts the design out of vinyl. Generally we would recommend vinyl is more suitable for certain products.

Summary: Vinyl is great for personalising names and numbers on sports team kit, on school and university leavers' hoodies, tours for stag, hen, holidays. Vinyl is also better for customising high-visibility workwear and other nylon fabrics.

Single Colour Vinyl Charges

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Your FREE Printed logo must fit within a 10.5 x 6.75cm rectangle, additional logos must also be this size and are charged accordingly, with exception to the large front and back logo, which to fit in a 23 x 9cm rectangle. For multiple colours or different sizes please call 01325 351594

All charges are per garment 

When we would recommend Vinyl

Individual names and numbers.
One-off samples such as for client meetings or press events.
Multi-coloured logos that need to look bright and bold on dark backgrounds or on fabrics that have dyes that could otherwise bleed into the print.
Nylon and technical fabrics such as hi-vis workwear, waterproofs, Gore-Tex® and similar, umbrellas and bags.
Fabrics that stretch such as Lycra® or Spandex® sports and leisurewear.


How we print Vinyl

Vinyl printing is generally limited to simple text and designs. A single-colour print is the norm but we can overlay different colours of vinyl to produce some clever effects. The artwork is required in a vector format which is produced in a software package such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw; this artwork format produces the design in lines as opposed to pixels as in a jpeg image.

Once the artwork has been cut, we then take away the unwanted vinyl, this process is called weeding and can be very time consuming and delicate if the design has fine detail. This is why Vinyl is only really good for lettering and simple one-colour designs.

Once the weeding has been done we are left with the design on its backing paper. We then transfer that onto the garment, this is done using an industrial heat press. This allows us to apply pressure and a temperature of 160c. Once this has been applied the backing paper is removed.


Vinyl comes in many different formats, such as metallic, fluorescent, flock and reflective colours. It can be as durable as screen printing - it can be washed up to 60c without any colour loss, so can be a good option for work clothing that needs hot washes. Some Vinyl is designed to stretch so is a great option for sports clothing including leggings. Vinyl gives a smooth even finish with crisp edges, but can look like it has been stuck on compared to screen printing which absorbs into the fabric.

Our standard fonts are shown here. You can also provide you own font for us to use. If you want us to use your own font then please supply vectored artwork with outlines created as an Illustrator file. It is very important that you have created outlines if you are using Illustrator. If you have a copy of the true type font then this can be emailed to us and we can produce the vectored file. You must have permission to send us the font. Not all fonts are suitable for vinyl cut names, so if you font has a lot of fine detailing then it will not be possible to cut these out. Please ask us if your font is suitable.

List of fonts for individual and personalised names