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  • Writer's pictureMaggie Thompson

Understanding tubular embroidery machines

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

Embroidery is an ancient craft that has been practised for centuries across the globe. It involves creating intricate designs and patterns by stitching thread onto fabric. Over time, embroidery techniques have evolved, and machines have been developed to automate the process. One such machine is the tubular embroidery machine. In this blog post, we will explore what tubular embroidery machines are, how they work, and their benefits.


What are tubular embroidery machines?

Tubular embroidery machines are a type of commercial embroidery machine that is designed specifically for stitching on tubular or cylindrical items such as sleeves, cuffs, and pant legs. They are commonly used in the garment industry for the mass production of clothing items that require embroidery in these types of areas.


How do tubular embroidery machines work?

Tubular embroidery machines work by holding the fabric in a cylindrical shape around a hoop, which rotates as the machine stitches the design onto the fabric. The hoop is held in place by a clamp that keeps the fabric taut and prevents it from shifting or wrinkling during the stitching process.


The machine operates by using a series of needles and threads that are programmed to move in specific patterns, creating the desired design on the fabric. The needles move up and down through the fabric, and the thread is pulled through to create the stitches. The machine can be programmed to change the colours of thread or switch between different types of stitches, creating complex designs with multiple colours and textures.


SWF manufacture a fantastical collection of tubular embroidery machines.


What are the benefits of using tubular embroidery machines?

Tubular embroidery machines offer several benefits over traditional embroidery techniques. One of the most significant benefits is their speed and accuracy. They can create intricate designs in a fraction of the time it would take to do so by hand. Additionally, the machine's programming allows for precise stitching, resulting in a uniform and professional-looking finished product.


Another benefit of using tubular embroidery machines is their versatility. They can be used to embroider a wide variety of items, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, hats, and more. The machine can be adjusted to fit different hoop sizes, allowing for customization of the embroidery design to fit the specific item being embroidered.


Tubular embroidery machines are also cost-effective. While the initial investment in the machine may be significant, the cost per embroidered item is much lower than the cost of hiring skilled labour to embroider items by hand. Additionally, the machine can be programmed to produce a large volume of items quickly, reducing labour costs and increasing productivity.


Finally, tubular embroidery machines offer consistent quality. The machine's programming ensures that each item is embroidered with the same design and quality, regardless of the operator's skill level. This consistency is crucial for businesses that want to maintain a high level of quality in their products.



What are the limitations of tubular embroidery machines?

While tubular embroidery machines offer many benefits, they do have some limitations. One of the main limitations is the size of the hoop. The hoop's diameter determines the size of the design that can be embroidered on a cylindrical item. If the item being embroidered is too large to fit inside the hoop, it cannot be embroidered using a tubular embroidery machine.


Another limitation is the complexity of the design. While tubular embroidery machines can create intricate designs, they may not be able to replicate every detail of a highly complex design. Additionally, the machine's programming may not be able to replicate certain types of stitches or textures that can be achieved by hand.


Finally, tubular embroidery machines require regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly. The needles and thread need to be changed regularly, and the machine should be cleaned and oiled to prevent damage or wear and tear.

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