Ever wondered how we embroider on to saddle pads? It's not quite as straight forward as you might think!
The main problem with saddle pads is that they are quite thick, meaning they don't easily fit in to an embroidery frame. The job of the frame is to hold the fabric nice and tight while securing in place the vilene backing underneath (this backing is vital and ensures your embroidery remains nice and neat and stops the stitches from pulling through the fabric of the garment). Because the saddle pads are so thick they can cause the frame to come off, sometimes mid embroidery which as you can imagine is something we would rather avoid!
So instead what we do is just secure only the vilene in the frame and then lay the saddle pad on top. To do this we use a really strong double sided sticky tape (the type you hold carpets down with!).
We then print out a worksheet from our embroidery system which shows the design in real size, meaning we can cut it out and place it on in the exact place we would like the embroidery to be.
This piece of paper also shows an exact centre point, so that we can use a guide that fits exactly in to the embroidery frame and gives us a position of where the saddle pad needs to be placed within the frame to ensure it is embroidered in the correct place. Using this method we then stick the saddle pad on to the vilene backing and we are ready to put the frame on to the machine.
As the saddle pad is only held on to vilene backing by two pieces of sticky tape, this is quite a precarious task and we have to ensure that as we put the frame on to the machine we don't knock the saddle pad or move its position within the frame as this would mean that the embroidery would be in the wrong place. If this were to happen or the saddle pad was to unstick and fall off, we would need to start the process over again from the beginning.
In order to ensure that the saddle pad is attached to the vilene as quickly as possible in the most secure way, we add in a running line at the start of our design.
This is a square of stitches that are set to about 5mm in width and done in a contrast colour such as red. These stitches help to keep the saddle pad in place at the start of the design and avoid any movement. Once the design is complete these long stitches are easily unpicked.
After the running line has attached the saddle pad securely to the backing, the design can then start. This particular logo for Barlow Hunt Pony Club had 23,000 stitches and each one took 47 minutes to embroider!