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December 25, 2010 4:59 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone who what this style of embroidery called? Can anyone recommend a place that can replicate it on a jacket I own?

I have a vintage jacket and I would like to get the name of my business embroidered on the back (and my name above the left breast pocket,) but in the style that you see on garage jackets or bowling shirts from the 1940's through the 1960's. Examples of this are hard to find online for some reason, unless I'm really bad at describing what I'm looking for.

Plenty of websites offer embroidery (not in the style I want, though), and mostly for new, bulk-ordered items. I suspect these pieces are hand-embroidered (or machine embroidered by hand.) Does anyone still do this?

The jacket is very lightweight, cotton, and is unlined. I'm not looking for any images, fancy fonts or scripts, just something that looks simple and vintage. Anyone know if this is possible?

Any help is greatly appreciated! Thanks!
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Dang it, I hit "post" before I wanted to. Apologies for the grammatical errors.
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! at 5:02 PM on December 25, 2010

Best answer: Well, it's chain stitch, which may help your search terms? Chain stitch is, in my opinion, one of the most fun stitches of embroidery to do. This sounds like a job for Etsy's Alchemy. Those crafty folks love them some rockabilly detailing.
posted by Mizu at 5:13 PM on December 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

Your first photo is simply that of the hand sewn "embroidery" chain stitch made on knit or crocheted goods. Most embroidery, including that of your subsequent photos, is actually done as a 2 thread, Federal Stitch Type 301 "satin stitch," which can easily be done by hand, or, hundreds or thousands of times faster, by embroidery machines. But the two stitches have fundementally different appearances, and are appropriate, because of their formation, for different types of goods.

The chain stitch type of applique is best for sweaters and other coarsely knit goods, as it can be made very loose, and move a bit with stretching of the underlying knit. The "satin stitch" kind of applique is best for woven goods, and may even be done on a locally applied (on the underside of the base goods) patch of non-woven backing, to prevent any needle or thread tension damage from the stitching process to ruin the goods.
posted by paulsc at 5:17 PM on December 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

Seconding Etsy's Alchemy.

Also try finding a little old lady who does this type of work for fun or as a side job. Maybe ask your mother/sister/neighbor if they know anyone who does sewing? I'd pop in a local yarn/embroidery shop to see if they know of anyone too.
posted by ACN09 at 5:21 PM on December 25, 2010

I'm not sure where you live, but here in Australia, there's embroidery stands in some shopping malls that do this kind of thing. They mostly seem to sell monogramed towels and baby clothing, but friends have taken t-shirts to them and had words embroidered across the chest. Since your jacket is lightweight and unlined, I would think they could do something with it.

Maybe try googling your area and "monogram"?
posted by Georgina at 5:27 PM on December 25, 2010

A bit more on "satin stitch" embroidery:

In the middle of the 20th Century, before the introduction of inexpensive programmable embroidery machines, satin stitched embroidery for business logos, sports teams, and monograms was often done, freehand, by semi-skilled seamstresses with zig-zag sewing machines, with their forward feeds set for nearly zero stitch length. The seamstress kept only enough presser foot pressure to keep the goods being sewn from flagging in stitching, and freehand guided the goods under the needle, forming script, while also manipulating a knee lever that controlled the width of the zig-zag mechanism, allowing the satin stitch width to be varied from nearly nothing (straight lockstitch) to as much as 12mm (1/2") width. Such "embroidery" has a very "fluid" nature, and is still highly prized.

Later, even more specialized machines were produced, some even with 24 or more sewing heads, using a bamboo or metal "hoops" to stretch the base goods in all directions, which could produce wider "satin stitching" by "jumping" the hoop's drive X-Y mechanisms, often in any direction (to produce 360 degree rotated satin stitches, in pattern) under instruction from a central control system.

Today, worldwide, there are tens of thousands of vendors offering satin stitch embroidery services, some even on a custom "one of" basis, doing either hand embroidery, or using low cost single head embroidery machines.
posted by paulsc at 5:39 PM on December 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

I manage a shop which does, among other things, commercial embroidery.

Yeah, it's chain stitch, which is NOT the type of embroidery done on typical commercial machines, and you should be searching for someone who can do that. You cannot do this with a standard embroidery machine. You'll probably have more luck finding someone who does this as a craft, as it is not done much as a commercial decorating technique.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:55 PM on December 25, 2010

Best answer: There are places that still do chainstitch commercially. Here's one. Here's another.

I don't know if either do custom on a jacket you already own.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:56 PM on December 25, 2010

This place in Buffalo did a similar job for me years ago, for band bowling shirts. It's where guys in the local car clubs have their work done.
posted by peagood at 8:56 AM on December 26, 2010

Response by poster: You never fail me, Metafilter. Thanks everyone!
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! at 11:00 AM on December 27, 2010

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