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Laser Applique Embroidery Process Explained

Have you ever seen those multi-layered embroidered designs on sweatshirts or team jerseys and thought, how do they do that? This look is achieved using an apparel customization method known as both laser applique embroidery and digital applique embroidery. Applique embroidery combines the versatility of full-color printing with the texture and quality of embroidery to create a truly unique custom logo or design. You can check out our complete laser applique embroidery capabilities here.

How Does Laser Applique Embroidery Work?

In a way, applique embroidery can be thought of as an advanced form of patchwork. First, a bottom layer of fabric is embroidered to the surface of your custom sweatshirt or custom hoodie to serve as the background for your text or logo. Next, an additional layer of fabric of another color is laid directly over the previously embroidered space and embroidered over it to create a 3D appearance that is very popular with high-end collegiate or team apparel.

Step by Step Guide to Applique Embroidery

  • Load your design – your company logo or custom design is digitized and saved as a DSB or DST file, so the embroidery machine can read it. Next, it is loaded into the embroidery machine.

Embroidery Machine for Applique Embroidery

  • Hoop the fabric – we use an embroidery hoop or frame to position the fabric for the background layer of the applique. It's the green frame you see in the image below.

Hooped fabric ready for embroidery

  • Stitch the outline – the initial layer of fabric is embroidered to the surface of your product and the excess fabric outside the outline is cut away with a laser.

First layer of Applique being Embroidered to a Custom Sweatshirt

  • Stitch the inset fabric – the inner/ top layer of fabric is embroidered directly on top of the first layer to give it that unique 3D, textured appearance. 

  • Time for the laser after the last layer of fabric is stitched onto the garment, a laser is used to cut away the excess fabric from the embroidered area of your design.

Laser removing excess fabric from Applique Embroidered Logo

  • The final stitches – after the fabric outside the embroidered area is removed the final stitches are added to firmly secure the top layer of fabric to the garment.

Final stitches being added to a laser applique design

  • Done! – now that the embroidery is done your product is checked for quality, packaged and shipped right to your door!

Custom Apparel being Packaged for Shipping

What Equipment is Needed for Laser Applique Embroidery?

  • Computer – a computer with graphic design software is used to digitize your design and save it into a file that the embroidery machine can read. This is typically a DSB or DST file depending on the machine used.
  • Embroidery Machine – it’s like a souped-up sewing machine that is programmed to stitch your company logo or custom design in minutes. Commercial embroidery machines can have as many as 38 embroidery heads with 15 needles each!
  • Thread – this one might be self-explanatory, but you won’t get very far without it! In laser applique embroidery, this is what holds the design to the surface of your product. Check out our complete thread color offerings here!
  • Embroidery hoops/ frames – these things hold your product in place while the embroidery machines are at work, so they don’t slip out.
  • Fabric – in laser applique embroidery, this is what is stitched onto your product to create that three-dimensional appearance. This can be either single colored fabric to create layered lettering or a patch with a custom design or logo on it.

Next Steps

Now that you know how it’s done, don’t forget to check out our complete laser applique embroidery capabilities. If you’re still unsure if digital applique is the right decoration method for you check out our Complete Customization Methods Guide to see all of our customization offerings or contact us with any questions you may have.