What is Embroidery onto Clothing?

Embroidery onto Clothing

One for the earliest decisions when buying branded clothing, after you have chosen your garments of course, 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…

Embroidery onto clothing is often slightly more expensive than screen printing, but unlike screen printing it is not charged per colour but on the number of stitches in your design.

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 solution. With these two reasons in mind, an embroidered logo is often better in the following situations:

  • 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 are buying polo shirts or smart office shirts.
  • If your budget does not allow for a frequent replacement 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. If this is the case, then your logo is better screen-printed or applied using a direct to garment digital process or transfer/vinyl. Here are the main reasons why embroidery may not work:

  • Your logo/design has very fine detail or small fonts
  • Any text in your design will not be suitable for embroidery 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.
  • Your logo needs to be large. The price of embroidery is based on the number of stitches. We will normally quote up to 25,000 stitches. A left breast logo can be anything from 3,000 stitches for a single line of text up to 15,000-20,000 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 reasons, but there are also practical reasons. 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 file 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 team members 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 use 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. 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


  • 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


Can be expensive for larger designs
Detail can be limited

Contact Details

Design and Print Centre Ltd
House 4, Unit 5
Lynderswood Farm
Lynderswood Lane
Braintree, Essex, CM77 8JT.

Tel: +44 1376 343838

UK Registered Company
No. 5372914.
Established 1980.

Quick Quote

9 + 8 =

Design and Print Centre Ltd

Unit 5, House 4
Lynderswood Farm
Lynderswood Lane,
Black Notley,
CM77 8JT

+44 1376 343838

Opening Times

Monday: 8:30am – 5:30pm
Tuesday: 8:30am – 5:30pm
Wednesday: 8:30am – 5:30pm
Thursday: 8:30am – 5:30pm
Friday 8:30am – 4:00pm