Posts Tagged ‘art’

Fridays At The Office


Everyone digitizes with a little bit of their own flair here. Bonnie has a particularity awesome decked-out digitizing hand, don’t you think?

Want more sneak peeks, office life, and behind the scenes? Follow us on Instagram at urbanthreadsemb

The Design Process- From Sketch To Embroidery


The process that created that magical design stitching out on your machine may not seem readily apparent while it’s stitching. It sort of just comes into being, stitch by stitch, as your machine sews it out. But here at Urban Threads, we create all our designs in-house, from concept to completion, and a lot of steps go from making that idea into an embroidered reality. More, sometimes, than you might imagine.

To give you a bit of a peek at that process, we’re going to visit the steps of a design created by resident artist Taylor, so you can see the process a design goes through. It all begins with a simple concept, and a bunch of rough sketches…


This Death Before Decaf design was originally released back in January. Really, the process starts with one of our design meetings, where we all get together to decide the next group of designs we want to make. We bring customer requests, inspiration, and our own sketches to these meetings. This was part of our January monthly batch planning, and I guess we were all thinking about coffee. Not such an odd thought in meetings…

Once the idea came to be, there were a number of things Taylor had to consider while working on it. The concept was for a light-stitching, tattoo-inspired “tough” looking design for those hardcore coffee enthusiasts. This can mean a lot of things to an artist, and also offers a lot of different imagery to work with. Taylor started by sketching what we call “thumbnails,” small sketches to try out lots of different ideas.


The top right design was eventually chosen as the rough to pursue.


Next the artist turns the design into a “tight” rough. This means all details are worked out and the composition tightened up. This stage may take a few revisions, depending on the art. Urban Threads designs go through anywhere from 1-4 revisions from thumbnail to approved final to get the art just right.


After that the rough design is brought into Illustrator, where Taylor draws a clean pass on top of his rough. The design might go through a few extra changes during this time, making small tweaks with text size and other details.


The final design is finished in Illustrator. The design is then printed out and handed over to one our digitizers. All our work is designed and digitized in-house by our team. Many of our designs are worked on by our head of digitizing, Danielle.


The digitizing for this design is a bit more straightforward than some, as there are no stitch-filled areas or shading to complicate the layers. Just a nice, clean light-stitching design. Once the design is ready, it’s sent back to one of our embroidery machines to sew a sample, so we know the file will sew out on a machine just the way we expect. This is also the part of the process where we’ll tweak colors and other stitching details, because colors on screen don’t always match what you can do with color in thread.


So there it is! From an idea in a meeting, to a rough sketch, to a polished piece of art, to a machine embroidery design!

Along the way, artists work out not only ideas like art style, but work to reduce trims, try color schemes, and consider how and what it might stitch on. Then digitiziers carefully figure out how to piece the design together, to make it sew a seamlessly as possible on your own machine, and sew it out as many times as needed to test its compatibility on fabric and make sure it’s not doing anything that will ruin your project. Density is removed, trims reduced, fills pulled and pushed to make sure it all stitches out like it should, and of course, a large amount of artistry goes into making a drawn design look just as good in stitches.

Countless tweaks and corrections are made all along the way by the team, to get you the best darn hardcore coffee design possible. From ideation to stitches, there’s a lot that goes into an Urban Threads design, but hopefully all you’re thinking while you’re stitching your favorite is, “Yeah! This is going to make an awesome project!”

Because then the design has really done its job.

WIN An Original Signed Art Piece – Embroidered Raven

*Contest is now closed – winner coming soon! Remember, your chance for the bear comes this upcoming weekend!*


In celebration of the new Anima embroidery design collection, we thought we would do a very different kind of giveaway…

You see, Urban Threads works a little differently from some other stock embroidery companies, in that we employ all in-house artists that create these awesome embroidery designs. Our team of talented designers and digitizers work hard to make all of these creations unique and ready for thousands of crafters to stitch. However, sometimes it’s kind of fun to remember these pieces at their heart are original creations, and so we wanted to do something a little special with two of our favorite designs from the series.


We have stitched up TWO one-of-a-kind GIANT embroidered pieces, using our industrial machines and special thick Burmilana thread, stretched them on frames, and signed the back as original limited edition art pieces! Think of them like a print, but waayy cooler, because these things are big, bold beautiful thread brought to life on canvas.


Each stretched piece is 16 inches by 20 inches, with the embroidery design measuring nearly 17 inches tall.


Better yet, each piece is signed and dated on the back by the two original artists who collaborated on these designs, illustrator Danielle, and resident evil genius and illustrator Niamh!


So, whether you’re a seasoned machine embroiderer, a die-hard hand stitcher, or even just an art lover, this is your chance to win a limited edition signed piece from the artists of Urban Threads. Here’s how the giveaway works:


We’re giving away TWO pieces, this weekend and next. This week, the original piece is you can win is THE RAVEN.

In order to win this piece, you must first be registered on Urban Threads. If you’re not already, it’s easy! Sign up here. If you’re already registered, there’s just one more step.

Leave a comment on this blog post (just say hi, or something nice!) and make sure you leave it under the same email address you’re registered under at Urban Threads. We need to be able to track you down and verify you on the website in order to contact you about your prize!

Leave your comment by this Monday, Aug. 12 at 11:59 a.m. (that’s right before noon!) Central time in order to be entered for this Raven giveaway. That’s it!


Ready to win a totally unique art piece? COMMENT BELOW! And remember, the Bear piece will be up for grabs soon, so be sure to visit us again for another chance at an amazing piece of art.

In love with these designs? Us too. Even if you can’t win ’em as signed pieces, you can still stitch the designs your own, ON SALE through Aug. 18. Go see the entire Anima Collection, and get in touch with your animal side.

The UT Sketchbook

You all seemed to enjoy the little peek we gave you into our team’s sketchbook last time, we thought we’d share a few more!


These are some of my rough sketches for the Craft or Die Collection. This series all started with the original Craft or Die design, and it became so popular we just had to expand it out as a whole series.


Caitlin created this delightful little Eat Your Greens design that was so bright and colorful even as a rough, I just loved it. Sometimes our artists will add color to a sketch, sometimes they won’t. It depends on how important they think color is to bringing the concept to life in a rough. You can also see they sometimes leave me notes and such on the drawings about corrections or ideas they may have.

Monster Halloweenies

Our little Halloweenies were popular enough that we thought we needed a few more monster friends for them. After all, you can never have too many little monsters, right? Taylor designed these to be the same basic height and dimensions as the others so they would play nice with each other.


This trendy Hipster Sasquatch started out with lots of different looks before he became a popular freebie. Artist Caitlin played around with a lot of variations before we settled on the simplest version, on the right. I still kinda think that the guy on the left looks a bit like a caricature of Woody Allen in a Yeti costume.

No? Is it just me?

Steampunk Raven

Steampunk is always a popular one around here, in fact, we might be cooking up something new for you very soon (Friday, hint hint). This rough from Taylor is when he was working out ideas for the Steampunk Raven design as part of our western themed Steampunk series. Often when a design is symmetrical, an artist will just draw one half of it and finish the rest for the final design.


This rough is an example of how sometimes an artist can take an assignment idea and pull something totally new out of it. All artist Danielle was tasked with doing was making a pretty typographic “Winter” design, but it was her idea to turn it on it’s head with the bottom Winter Ambigram design. When an artist hands you an idea this good, you run with it!


Finally, this is a little sneak peek into an upcoming series I’m designing! I won’t tell you what it’s all about other than to say I think this should be a good one for the fellas and those who really aren’t into the bunnies and tulips.

So that’s just a few of the things that have shown up in our sketchbooks while we work hard to sketch up new ideas for you! We hope you enjoy these little peeks into our process, we’ll probably share a few more as we fill our sketchbooks up with crazy new embroidery designs 😉

The Latest from Maricor/Maricar

I always love seeing the latest creative embroidery goods coming out of dream team Maricor/Maricar. It’s always such a breath of fresh air!





Want to see more of these projects and their latest shenanigans? Visit their website.

Machine Embroidered Stop Motion Music Video

Spotted over on Colossal, this isn’t the first embroidery themed music video I’ve seen, but it’s the first to prominently feature machine embroidered stitches and thread. Check out all that amazing machine embroidered type! Makes you want to go dig into your machine’s stash of fonts and go crazy, doesn’t it? The song is Favorite Place by Black Books.


A Peek Inside The UT Sketchbook

Though a lot of stock embroidery companies like ours may often use clipart, at Urban Threads we are thrilled to have a team of super talented in house artists that conceptualize and create all our designs from scratch. We thought it would be kind of fun to give you a little peek into the process of what goes into creating our designs, by letting you see some of the concept art that starts the whole thing.

So here today, we’re going to give you a peek into our artists sketchbooks!


This is an early stage rough from our artist Taylor, for what would be the final of the Gunslinger design. You can see he got it pretty spot on even in the early rough.


Our newest artist Danielle was taking a crack at concepting the Kraken/squid design for the Seven Seas Collection. She went through lots of iterations and layouts for what would eventually become this design. It’s a tricky business, you want enough detail to make it interesting, but not so much that it doesn’t work at small hoop sizes!


Sometimes our artists can’t resist adding color to roughs to really bring them to life. The middle design of this drawing by Caitlin became the final version of the Winged Beauty design, but it was a tough call between that one and the one on the right. Sometimes it’s a tough job to choose final designs!

fez monkey

Taylor is a big fan of the cute and the cartoon-y, and he went a little nuts when he was told to draw a “cute fez monkey”. You can see just how many different ways this little monkey came to be! They’re all so darn adorable…


This super popular Dream design came as a totally finished concept on my desk from Danielle. Already beautiful, the addition of a tri-color gradient and embroidery really brought this one to life! Sometimes things really take on a whole new level of amazing once they’re stitched.

primitive gothic

This is a rough of mine from our wacky Primitive Macabre Collection. I so love this style, it’s creepy and cute all at once and so much fun to draw! I could have drawn dozens of these characters.

So, that’s a quick peek into the sketchbooks of Urban Threads artists! What do you think? We’ll be sharing little peeks like this now and then just to share a little about the work and the process we love so much.