It has always been a challenge to embroider small lettering. A height of 5 mm is quite small for lettering, but what about letters that need to be 3 mm or smaller? It is actually very easy to accomplish this challenge!
If you find that you have to embroider small lettering, use a fine thread like Classic 60, Polyneon 60 or FS 50. Frosted Matt is also an excellent option. The colors available in 60 weight exactly match those available in 40 weight and have the same color numbers. Madeira offers the fine 60 weight in 100 colors in the Polyneon range and 65 colors in the Classic range. This enables you to make use of the same color in different weights when embroidering sophisticated designs.
When digitizing small lettering it is recommended that you avoid including unnecessary thread trims. Every thread trim means that you have stitches to start, as well as to close, the process. Very often these stitches tend to build thread clusters at the back side of the embroidery and this can feel quite rough to the skin.
Furthermore, you should consider that every thread trim can generate a machine standstill (downtime), and that this will particularly happen when the machine adjustments are not optimized and cause the thread to unthread and require even more downtime while the needles are re-threaded.
The more stable and smooth the fabric to be embroidered is, the easier it will be to embroider small lettering and fine details. If the fabric is soft, like knitwear or piqué, you have to give some thought on how to stabilize it. It will need to be stable during the embroidery process, but afterwards should regain its soft “hand.”
Besides the weight of the backing, you have to determine if it should be a Cut Away or a Tear Away. Use a Tear Away backing if the fabric is thick and stable, allowing you to remove it simply and quickly from the back of the embroidery. However, if the embroidery contains a lot of fine detail and has to be done on a soft knitwear, it will be better to use a water soluble backing or foil from the Avalon range, or a Cut Away backing like Weblon, since the action of tearing away a backing from a fine fabric might damage both the fabric and the stitches.
Another point to remember is that a Cut Away backing will stabilize the embroidery for the long term. It is particularly important to have a permanent stabilization if the embroidery includes isolated letters. Every letter develops its own distinct “character ” through the proximity of the next letter. If you remove the entire backing after embroidering on knitwear, the letters will start to “dance” after the first washing.
Of course, fine threads require the use of fine needle sizes. Just as it would be difficult to draw a fine line with a thick pen, the same would happen if you tried to embroider with fine weight thread in the wrong size needle in your embroidery machines. If the diameter of the needle is almost as large as the stitch length, the machine won´t be able to produce accurate results.