Personalize your world with custom embroidery. From monogrammed towels to bespoke baby blankets, ball caps, tote bags, and all kinds of garments and textiles, embroidery is an increasingly popular way to make something extra-special. Once the sole domain of sweet grandmothers, embroidery is showing up in everything from millennial fashion to unique gifts. You can apply a company logo for stare-worthy swag, create one-of-a-kind presents for birthdays and anniversaries, or personalize souvenirs for company picnics, family reunions and other special occasions. Several factors affect the cost for embroidery services and embroidered merchandise:
- The amount of detail in a logo or image
- The number of thread colors needed
- The type of item being embroidered
- The cost of purchasing merchandise from the embroidery service if you don't supply it yourself
- The choice of direct embroidery on the object or creation of custom patches to be sewn onto the object
- The number of items to be embroidered, which may mean a volume discount
Embroiderers often charge by the number of stitches per garment as well as thread color changes. You could expect to pay anywhere from $5-$10 each for custom-embroidered ball caps to $20-$30 each for golf shirts, in addition to a digitizing fee.
For precision outcomes, many embroidery pros use computer software that programs your design into their sewing machines. When your logo or image is digitized, a file is created that the embroidery machine can interpret in order to stitch it directly onto a garment, or onto a patch that can be sewn onto fabric items like tote bags or backpacks. Digitizing the design ensures that if you are embroidering multiple items with the same design, each item will be exactly the same for a professional and unified look.
Digitizing usually incurs a one-time fee because once the image is digitized, the embroidery service can use it again for future jobs. The cost for digitizing is based on the number of stitches and thread color changes required to re-create the logo in embroidery. Digitizing fees usually average $20-$30, but may be as low as $10 or as high as $60 or more. Marty Byrnes, owner of I'm Sew Crazy in Mesa, Arizona, usually charges an average of $10-$40 to digitize a logo, depending on the number of colors and stitches required. Timely Expressions in St. Paul, Minnesota, charges and average of $30-$60 for digitization.
Thread (color) changes
Whether you're after a custom-designed peacock on the back of your jean jacket or want simple black script for your personalized bachelorette T-shirts, choosing more hues means a higher price. Two-color logos or text-only embroidery jobs are the least expensive; using more than two thread colors will raise the price because the embroiderer must load multiple spools of colored thread into the machine. Byrnes of I'm Sew Crazy can personalize baby blankets with the baby's name and birthdate using the font and colors of the client's choice for about $10. She can embroider a two-color logo or graphic on 20-25 hats for about $5 per hat. An embroidery professional could charge per 1,000 stitches for a given design, then digitize and embroider two garments for a price that ranges between $45 and $65. Timely Expressions charges $10 to mount each item, which includes the first 10,000 stitches, then $1 per additional 1,000 stitches. Timely Expressions can negotiate volume discounts for large quantities of an image with a low stitch count and simple mounting.
Direct embroidery or embroidering a patch
Directly embroidering a graphic and/or text onto a textile or garment will usually cost more than creating embroidered patches of the image to sew onto an item. Byrnes often uses patches to fill requests from clients who want to personalize a backpack, duffel bag or other item that will not fit in her embroidery machine. She can create a patch with a name or initials in a client's chosen colors and sew it onto a backpack for $10.
Merchandise and embroidery
Many embroidery companies also sell items you can embroider, such as bulk shirts for company apparel and customizable gifts like baby shoes or silky bridesmaid robes. For example, Timely Expressions offers access to extensive catalogs of merchandise that can be purchased through their shop for custom embroidery. Timely Expressions also offers volume discounts for larger orders (usually 100 or more of a given item), giving you incentive to buy in bulk. Some pros prefer to work directly with what you bring to them. For example, Byrnes of I'm Sew Crazy only embroiders garments or items provided by her clients and does not offer merchandise for purchase.
In addition to digitization and embroidery services, some embroiderers offer similar, related services. Wendy's Treasures, based in Fayetteville, Georgia, aso offers dye sublimation/heat transfer, which allows a logo or graphic to be printed on a garment, a textile or even paper. This technique typically costs less than embroidery because the materials are less expensive and the job is less time-intensive.
If you know you want to embroider something onto a gift or company apparel but aren't quite sure what you want, tap into a bigger design database for templates that you can customize to suit your purposes. For example, all of the embroidery companies featured in this article also have access to catalogs of existing embroidery designs they can embroider onto merchandise for you, adding text customization such as names and dates. If you know you want a cute design for family reunion polo shirts, but aren't sure where to start, your embroidery pro can direct you to multiple options to choose from.
- You might be surprised by what can be customized with embroidery. All About Embroidery, in El Sobrante, California, can customize sports balls with embroidered team names and logos, for example. If you have an idea for something to embroider, don't hesitate to ask if it can be done.