I love to do machine embroidery. I think it is my absolute favorite part of sewing. It is also very popular to add monograms or names to clothing and bags. Sometimes, you may get a request to monogram an item that really should not be hooped. Now notice I didn't say "could not be hooped". I said should not be hooped. You can see from the backpack above, there are a lot of pockets. I have a multi needle machine and many different hoops. If I had worked hard enough, I think I could have gotten this loaded on my machine, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. I don't like to work that way especially since this item was provided by the person requesting the monogram and I look at it as one of a kind.
Here are the issues I had and what I did to solve them. The backpack is actually a diaper bag. Even though it had many different pockets, they were sewn and nested together on top of each other or had interior lining to deal with. Sewing through the lining would make the pocket unusable. Babies have a lot of stuff so losing a pocket was not an option. Also, one of the larger side pockets might have been a great spot, but it was insulated so you don't want to sew through that and undermine those properties. The front pocket has an easy grab handle right in the middle, so it made getting a hoop stable kind of sketchy. I immediately thought of a patch instead of an embroidered monogram. One factor with most backpacks is the linings are often made of materials that melt easily. So doing an iron on patch was out of the question as I didn't know if I could apply enough pressure and heat to adhere a patch. I did go ahead and digitize several different choices for the monogram once I had looked over the backpack; decided on my size constraints for the design and the best place to put it. I sent pictures of the potential sewn out patches to the soon to be parents with explanations and options before I did anything to the item. I can't stress enough the importance of doing all of this front end work and communication. People love to be a part of the actual design process and know they have choices. If you supply several different ways or ideas, they will be more satisfied with the end result. It will also help you manage any lead time because they know you are working with them and will be prepared to wait a little longer than with someone who just embroiders the item with no input from the client. This doesn't mean you have to sew each design to a patch. You can sew it on stabilizer to verify your design looks great and send that instead.
Here is the final solution. The interior lining of these types of backpacks have to be very easy to wipe clean and deter bacteria. Using any kind of patch glue would not provide the stability over the long term life of the item. In fact, if you try to glue them, it may just wipe off. There is really no way to know exactly what type of chemical treatment has been applied from the factory. So I did an simple stitch using heavy weight thread and an upholstery needle. I could control exactly how many stitches I made and where they were executed. This method will guarantee that patch won't go anywhere.
They loved the final result. It is unique and beautiful. If you do something like this, you may also want to up sell any additional patches you have created for other potential garments, blankets etc. A very nice gesture would also be to gift them at the baby shower. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift