Monograms on backpacks and lunch kits are very popular but you never really know what you are going to deal with until you start working on the actual item. Backpacks usually have larger front pockets but they can also have additional zippers, flaps or hardware that make them difficult to hoop for the actual embroidery. Lunchboxes will most always have some kind of fabric designed to maintain temperature. I have another blog post about doing patches on hard to hoop items. You can read it here. From that older blog post, I showed that the backpack had a lot of pockets and some of them were made of the ice cooler material. So I didn't want to undermine the quality of the fabrics. I made a patch and had to hand sew it to the pocket. If you have been doing machine embroidery for a while, you might think that hand sewing anything is not ideal, but don't feel that way. It is a tried and true way to adhere patches and before fancy sewing or embroidery machines were made, most patches of any kind were hand sewn to items.
In a perfect world, decorators love items that are designed to be embellished. When the stars align, this is how I hoop back packs that will fit into my hoops. I like to use my multi needle machine and Mighty Hoops. The 5x5 Mighty hoop is perfectly sized for an average monogram or name. The bonus is I usually don't use stabilizer because the magnetic hoop and layers of backpack fabric are sturdy enough to carry the tension of the thread as it sews. Final products are commonly flat and without puckers.
This particular brand backpack is Viv and Lou. The entire line is designed with embellishment in mind. If you are looking for an excellent product to purchase and either embroider yourself or have done, keep this one at the top of your list. Most of the backpacks are sewn with large pocket openings. The lunch bags have an additional flap on the outside that you can sew through and the inner hot cold area is separate.
Here you can see from underneath my machine how wide the opening is on the backpack pocket and that there is no stabilizer in the hoop.
Viv and Lou is also known for their colorful prints and on trend styles. Each season they release new items. As you can see from the picture above, the print is bold but the monogram gets lost in it. Once my client saw this, they asked if we could do anything to make the name stand out more. So I brought images of the back pack into my digitizing software and tried other thread colors.
I superimposed the monogram above the actual sewn one on the backpack and tried white then green thread to match the colors in the print.
Then I tried a light pink and a navy. All of the colors disappeared into the busy print. Any addition of colors to match the print would simply not show very well. So I thought about using a patch instead.
Now the name could be seen from any distance. So once I confirmed with the client that this was a good plan moving forward, I created the patch in my software. I didn't rip the original monogram out of the backpack and lunch bag. I knew that all you would be seeing once it was complete was an additional stitch line around the patch. The original monogram would have already shown with bobbin thread on the reverse side. So essentially it would look the same and my biggest concern was to line everything up correctly to have a neat interior pocket.
I made sure the patch fit over the original monogram name in my software first.
Then I embroidered the patch using this Poly Patch twill from DIME.
Instead of trying to embroider the finished patch over the original design, I wanted to be more cautious, so I used my sewing machine. A few pins held everything in place exactly positioned while I sewed. I was glad that both of the bags were designed to be embellished because I was able to manipulate them much easier around the foot of my sewing machine. Had they been another brand, hand sewing might have been the only option.
The final result speaks for itself. A beautiful patch monogram that really stands out. If you are interested in seeing my sewing process, I have a video below you can watch. Machine embroidery isn't perfect and each item is usually like a brand new day even if you have worked with that brand before. The key is to stay open minded and to work with your client in the best way you can so they have a product they are happy with. It also feels pretty good to come up with an alternate fix to a difficult design choice. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
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Lagniappe Peddler believes that the process of working with our hands can be one of the best forms of healing the hurts in our lives and welcomes all who visit this safe little corner of the world.
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift
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