In the years that Threadbare has specialized in screen printing, Boss Lady Baker has answered at least 100 calls with a phrase falling along the lines of, "We actually don't offer embroidery, sorry." Since the demand never seemed to end, we finally made the big investment and purchased an embroidery machine!
We took up the craft in the beginning of 2021. Learning how to operate it had interesting moments, to say the least. Since we bought the machine during COVID, on-site techs weren't available. Going into it with only Youtube as a guide wasn't really an option, and so we found some helping hands nearby. After a quick training on another machine with the help of a local embroidery master (thank you, Janice!), our very own Sam Kiesse managed to get the machine operating. Though it took the better part of a month and caused a lot of headaches, this was a truly exciting achievement.
Looking back on the process, one of the most important factors in our success was that we never ditched the idea at any point, regardless of our own stress and self-doubt. Since it was clear to us that many of our customers wanted embroidery, we knew that all of the headaches and trips to JoAnn Fabrics would be well worth it in the end!
By now, we're at the so called "end" of that initial learning phase. One of Threadbare's own, Lauren Hay, took up the task of running the embroidery machine. Since switching over from screen printing to embroidery, she's been developing our knowledge and skill in this craft to ultimately produce high-quality stitches our customers will love.
While we feel much more confident in our embroidery abilities relative to the beginnings of this adventure, there's still learning to be done! Sometimes a customer comes to us with a complicated design or special requests that require research, improvements, and test runs to accomplish the desired result. This can require a lot of time and troubleshooting. Just stitching one hat, for instance, can take approximately 30 minutes depending on the intricacy of the design. If there's an issue in the embroidery or the design, we won't know until the entire stitch is done. All in all, this can turn into quite a lengthy process.
Although it has its tricky moments that surely make Lauren dream of replicating a certain scene from Office Space, we're always devoting time and energy into improving the craft and creating professional-quality products. At the very least, we no longer doubt the purchase nor our own ability to master this new service!