Using PantoPuff: Creating 3-D Embroidery
Puff is becoming popular in embroidery. It is accomplished by placing one or more layers of tear-away foam on the garment before embroidery is applied. It is important to have an appropriate design and to follow a few basic guidelines:
Digitizing the Design...
Designs should be created specifically for Puff embroidery. A design should be done in all Satin stitches. Fill stitches compress the foam and limits the raised look, so only use fill stitches where you don't want the design to puff up. All satin stitch columns should be at least 5-6mm wide. Choose closed shapes or those that taper at the ends. Your foam is likely to "peek out" of open areas.
Set your lettering for 1" or larger. Brush Script lettering is popular for puff, but if a font with open ends is used, remember to edit your points to close off those areas. To do this turn off your stitches. Then use the point selector to maneuver the points until they are closed off. Next, increase your density by about 50%(for example, if you normally set the density for a 1" letter at 66 rpi, increase the density to 90 rpi for foam). Also, use the narrow column underlay at 70% width with the density at 50 rpi.
The open ends of letters should be closed as much as possible by rounding off the square ends of colums. If they are left open, the foam tends to stick out the end. Use minimum underlay in the areas where the foam will be added. Density will need to be increased considerably to completely cover the foam. All short stitches (those not going all the way to the edge of the column) will have to be moved in-line so that all stitches follow the same edge.
To keep the foam from coming through the stitches, use your standard needles. If you usually use a 75/11 needle it will work fine here.
Applying the Design...
Lay the foam down on top of the garment after it has been hooped. Always pick the PantoPuff color that most closely matches the thread color and practice with a single layer of foam first. You will need to adjust the thread tension (and possibly the bobbin tension) when the design is sewing. The threads should lie smoothly across the foam, but not pull up bobbin thread along the edges. Too much tension will cause foam to peek between the threads.
Adding a layer of light tear-away backing or wax paper as a topping will help contain the foam (rinse-away topping can also be used but will disappear if the garment is washed). Once the garment has been stitched you can pull the excess foam away like tear-away backing.
Still have foam poking through when the stitching is complete? No problem. Use an iron on a medium setting (set for steam if possible) and lightly steam the area. The foam will shrink back, giving you a 3-D design you can be proud of.
Practice makes perfect!
If you follow these guidelines and spend a little time practicing, you will soon be able to offer professional, striking 3-D embroidery. Remember to calculate the price of the foam piece and your time into the design. Most of all, don't forget to have fun!
See our full line of PantoPuff colors and widths