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Midwest Stitch Blog

Read about our latest news, interesting stories, frequently asked questions and embroidery-specific information in this blog. Check back often, or subscribe by email using the link above. Thanks for visiting!

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What's All The Fuss About The Pocket?

What's All The Fuss About The Pocket?

There’s a fashion topic that is generating talk, at least in my circles.  It obviously is talk at work as we educate ourselves on new and trending apparel, but it has also come up among casual conversation with friends and I’ve read about it in the Wall Street Journal.   What’s all the talk about?  The disappearing chest pocket on men’s shirts.

If you haven’t noticed this trend yet, you will after today.  The Wall Street Journal, in an article titled “What Happened to the Shirt Pocket?” states, “there are no pockets on many of the woven shirts at retailers such as J. Crew and Banana Republic, along with a host of high-end designer labels and custom-made shirts. It’s fashion and it’s generational.” (Read the entire article here)

As the fit of men’s dress shirts move to a more tailored look, the loss of the pocket aids in a cleaner, slimmer appearance.  And perhaps in this age of the smartphone, fewer men are carrying pens in that chest pocket.  Or are they?

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Why It Doesn't Pay to Buy Cheap Clothes

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Anyone who shops realizes that clothing prices can vary widely.  This is true in the retail and in the corporate world.  In our showroom, for example, we have a wide range of choices for a single garment: the polo.  It starts with what I will call a ‘basic’ polo and progresses in construction and quality, name brands and recognition to what I will call a ‘high-end’ polo.  A customer may hold two polos, one in each hand, and at their first glance the garments appear to have a similar value.  But the price quote they just received belays that there must be something different about the two.  So they ask: “What’s the difference?”

“What’s the difference?”

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Six Things We've Been Doing With Our New Embroidery Machine

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4 Reasons Non-for-Profits Need Quality Garments

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If you are reading this you are likely involved in a non-for-profit organization where you come into contact with people who truly care about the same cause as you.  Together you are focused on getting the word out about your cause.  The ways to do this are endless, but no doubt you recognize the importance of spending time and money where it does the most good.

Could branded apparel fill a niche in your marketing agenda?  To answer this question, I reached out to some of our non-for-profit customers, particularly in the animal rescue segment.  I’d like to share their responses coupled with some insights gleaned in the past 21 years of business.  Here are four reasons your non-for-profit organization (NFP) needs quality garments.

1. Make Money

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The Power of Promotion and a Good Story

The Power of Promotion and a Good Story
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Everyone likes a good story. Stories can make us think and stick with us long after they are told. And old Native American proverb says, “Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”

In business stories are created every day.  They may not all “live forever in our hearts”, but they have power nonetheless.  A good story about the sticking power of promotional items can have a greater effect than facts and figures.

So here’s the story…

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New State-of-the-Art Embroidery Machine at Midwest Stitch

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Why Wearables Should Be Part of Your 2016 Marketing Plan

Opportunities to advertise your business are many and varied, ranging from traditional TV, radio, and newspaper to the Internet, direct mail, social media and more.  In this technological age, and from a marketing standpoint, does it really make sense to spend money on branded apparel for your business?  To answer this question, I ask you to think of your closet.

Your Closet

Just to be clear, I mean your ‘closet’ in the most literal sense of the word: the place where you keep your clothes.  What could someone learn about you by looking in your closet?  Aside from your addiction to hoodies, what could they learn specifically from the apparel that contain graphics or logos (what we call branded apparel)?

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7 Things You Never Knew About Your Fleece Jacket [Infographic]

Check out this infographic we created with 7 milestones in the history of your fleece jacket, as well as tips to help you choose the right one for your activity.

Click here to see the infographic

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Midwest Stitcher's Favorite: The Perfect Layering Piece

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I am a lover of cotton.  No doubt about it.  Sure, I wear garments made of other fibers, especially being in the apparel industry.  But my favorites always have some cotton fibers.  That is until I tried this Ladies Tech Jacket.  Seriously – I tell you about my love of cotton so that you believe me as I rave about this 100% polyester jacket.

Where do I even begin to describe this jacket?  Well, since I’m also a lover of gadgets, I think I’ll start with its abundant features.  For example, this ladies version has thumbholes, which besides being cool, make it a perfect layering piece.  You won’t have that annoying sleeve bunched up to your elbow when you layer it under a heavier jacket or outer shell. 

Then there is the hood with toggles.  This makes the hood fully functional, meaning it can be tightened so it actually stays on when you need it.

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Seeing is Believing: Why Proofing Is a Vital Step

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Are you thinking of outfitting your staff in embroidered apparel but have some anxiety because you’ve never done it before?  Our 7-step order process, from beginning to end (and beyond), takes the pressure off you and makes it easy. (click here to see the 7-steps)

One of your main concerns most likely is that the garments look good.  If they don’t come out looking good, that will reflect poorly on your company brand.  We want you to look good and that’s why the first two steps of Consultation and Digitizing/Proofing your logo are so important. 

We always test the embroidery of a new logo on a swatch piece of fabric before embroidering any garments.  Although digitizing may have been done flawlessly and everything looks good on the computer screen, there are variables that can’t be wholly determined until the logo is actually sewed out in thread on fabric.  We will chose a fabric color similar to the apparel you ordered so the visual proof is as accurate as possible. (To learn more about the digitizing process, read an interview with our in-house digitizer: Why Digitizing Involves More Than You Think [Interview])

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Fabric Talk: How Is Cotton Made Non-Iron?

Fabric Talk: How Is Cotton Made Non-Iron?

Cotton grows naturally as a soft, white material in curly bales on the seeds of a tall plant.  From it comes a fabric that is soft on the skin and comfortable to wear.  But when it comes to business and dress wear, where a smooth and pressed look is expected, this has presented a textile challenge: how to create a dress shirt that keeps the desired polished look and yet still feels soft against the skin?  

Blended or Pure?

A common solution is to mix cotton fiber with another fiber such as rayon, wool or polyester.  The resulting fabric therefore combines the properties of the various fibers.  For example, polyester, a synthetic fiber with inherent wrinkle-resistant properties, is often combined with cotton to create a fabric consisting of 60% polyester and 40% cotton.  The result is a wrinkle-resistant fabric that still retains some of the softness of cotton.

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Midwest Stitcher's Favorite: No Collar for The Ladies

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Some ladies don’t like collars.  This can present a challenge in a business world dominated by the collared polo.  But now and then a manufacturer for corporate apparel will unveil a professional looking piece designed with ladies in mind and, more importantly, with no collar.  Here is such a piece. 

It is the favorite of KD who is one of our Production employees who skillfully runs the embroidery machines.  She says, “I like the look of it, but also that it is very comfortable.”  This may be true because of the light polyester fabric with a touch of stretch so that it flows and moves with you.  The fabric is also wrinkle-resistant.  KD further describes the garment as “comfy, casual and stylish.”

Additional features include ¾ sleeves, three-button Y-neckline, inverted pleats at the shoulder and back yoke, a rounded drop tail, and a contrast epaulette (on all colors except black).

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What You Need To Know About Hi-Vis Clothing

What You Need To Know About Hi-Vis Clothing
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The next time you’re taking a drive, look around and notice the amount of bright clothing being worn.  Perhaps the most obvious is that worn by the workers in the roadway construction zones.  But look closer and I imagine you’ll see it other places as well.  Perhaps you’ll see a teenage girl donned with earphones, backpack and a neon pink shirt, or possibly a runner at the side of the road in a sporty neon yellow t-shirt that just happens to match exactly the accent color in his shoes.  Or, maybe it’s a couple in the car next to you, clearly on the way to the gym, the name of which is emblazoned across the chest of their matching neon green t-shirts.

It’s obvious there’s an abundance of bright, fluorescent clothing available.  To a business owner an important question to be answered is: Does it all serve the same purpose?  Does it matter what bright clothing I chose? 

Let’s answer that question by breaking down the need for fluorescent clothing into three segments: 1) you WANT to be seen, 2) you NEED to be seen or 3) you’re MANDATED to be seen.  I’ll explain the difference and also provide some helpful resources at the end of the article if you’d like even further information.

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Why Do We Wear Polos? [NY Times Article]

Perhaps there is no garment more common in business apparel than the humble polo shirt.  Why is that the case?  Why do we wear polo shirts?

Maybe it is for this reason, eloquently put by Troy Patterson in his article “Unstarched Shirt” published in The New York Times Magazine:

“Risking neither the uncouth of a simple T nor the stiff ceremony of a button-down, it’s just a shirt, which is its defining virtue.”

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Midwest Stitcher's Favorite: Design and Performance

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During hot summer days no one likes to get (and stay) sweaty, especially when you’re trying to look presentable for business.  Garments that wrinkle as soon as you put your seat belt on are also a challenge.  Problems like these are solved by many modern performance fabrics.  This favorite of our sales person and digitizer, Carla, is no exception. 

The fabric of this favorite garment wicks moisture away from your body, and also provides a bit of stretch for ease of movement.  Both men’s and ladies’ version have subtle two-color stripes that add a bit of character to the garment.  Unique to the ladies’ version are raglan sleeves with ruching, and unique to the men’s version is a solid contrast color collar.

Carla says she especially likes, “the fit, it’s comfortable.  Also it’s easy to wash, dries fast and is wrinkle-free.”  In addition to these great features she adds, “it reminds me of a Nike golf shirt, but is not as expensive. All my criteria for a perfect shirt.”  Although Nike really pioneered the performance wear movement with their DriFit technology, the fabric is now widespread from a variety of companies at varying price points.

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Why The Color and Shape of Your Logo Matters [Infographic]

Does your company logo portray the best representation of your brand?  According to this brief article and infographic of compiled statistics, elements such as the shape, color and even font of your logo can say a lot.  Possibly more than you think.  

For example, did you know that:

93% of purchasing judgements are made on visual perceptions.  84.7% of consumers cite color as their main reason for buying a particular product.  

We have noticed a practical demonstration of this in the showroom here at Midwest Stitch.  If we display a garment in a color that many perceive as undesirable, we will have a hard time selling that garment, even though we show them the other colors in which it can be purchased.  Their initial, and sometimes final, judgement of the garment is determined by the color we've shown it to them.

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Men of Fashion: What's Your Fit?

Men of Fashion: What's Your Fit?

Corporate menswear is not known for frequent swings in fashion.  It does however, evolve over time.  One retail trend in the past decade that now is clearly set in the corporate world is a trimmer fit across men's apparel.  

Button-up shirts, for example, are available in classic, traditional silhouettes as well as more modern, trimmer fits.  Some of the common descriptors of these slightly fitted shirts are words such as fitted, active, modern, or slim. 

I read an article from the Wall Street Journal that explains how exactly (and how slowly) this style moved from the fashion runway to its current ubiquitous state.  The article also explores a possible shift back to looser styles in the years ahead.  It's an interesting read and I've included a link to it here for your enjoyment.

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Behind the Scenes Embroidery: Jacket Back

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Celebrating National Catfish Day? You Need This Shirt

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We’ve been sharing blog posts featuring some of the favorite garments of Midwest Stitch employees since the beginning of the year.  But today, June 25th – National Catfish Day, seems the most appropriate day to share this favorite of Andy, one of our sales reps.

His favorite is a fishing shirt, complete with ventilated polyester mesh under the back yoke, fly box pockets, fishing rod holder, tool holder and utility loop.  The nylon fabric also provides UPF 30 sun protection.

Andy tells us, “It’s great because it breathes like no other shirt, even on the hottest days, it’s like you’re wearing nothing at all.”

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