22nd December 2016The SL Black Label Engine Room.


A behind the scenes look at the SL Black Label Engine Room.

Whilst most of you will be aware of how the front end of our business works and will be in regular conversation with the sales team, how many of you really know what goes on in the engine room?

Well, in this blog we will show you exactly what our dedicated production team get up to on a daily basis to keep the wheels moving and your orders delivered.

With 56 heads on 7 state of the art Tajima 8 head machines, the embroidery department is pushing in excess of 7,000 embroidered products out the door every week.  That works out at over 30,0000 embroidered products every year.

To do this and to do it successfully you need a team of people that have a keen eye for detail and dedication, to the job and we have 12 of them.

For those of you who have experience running embroidery machines, you will understand that it’s not just a case of putting a few garment on the machine and pressing start. Every order we get needs to be set up on the machine, new threads added to each of the 8 heads, the correct frames used and then the uploading of the DST file.

But before any of this can happen, Pete our Production Manager and in-house guru of all things embroidery, will fine tune the design, making sure the finished product meets our high standards.

Only once Pete is happy with the DST file and has run a pre-production sample on our Single Head sampler will he pass the job on to one of the 11 machinists, ready for them to set the machines up accordingly.

Did you know that there are two quality control checks on all of our IN HOUSE embroidery?

Yes we QC every order twice, and not just 10% but a full 100% check!

Why do we do this?  Well it’s simple – why would we want to send you or your client a substandard product, it benefits no one and causes more issues in the long run.  To overcome this all of our plain stock is checked before it’s even placed on the machine.  Any poorly finished caps are removed from production, and any loose threads are trimmed.

After the embroidery run each cap is then removed from the machine, checked against the approved sample and is then trimmed and cleaned up before packaging.

The process of embroidering a design onto a cap or beanie consists of 2 main stages, the “Framing” and the “Trimming”


This is an art form on its own, and for someone new to embroidery a bit of a puzzle (everything is back to front or inside out).  With a choice of 6 different frames, some of which are used for multiple applications, knowing which will work best for each individual order is key.

Circular Cap Frame – Used for all front/side designs.

Small Circular Hoop Frame – used for rear embroidery on caps and smaller designs on beanies and garments.

Large Circular Hoop Frame – used for wider logos on beanies.

Small Square Hoop Frame – used for garments/bags with larger designs.

Large Square Hoop Frame – used mainly for large embroidery to flat work such as the back of jackets, hoodies etc.

Pocket Frame –used for embroidered gloves and socks.

The machines are then adjusted accordingly to suit each frame style and finish, which involves removing large parts of the machine and replacing them with a range of brackets.

Another key part of the framing stage is the laying down of the backing paper t which helps with the final finish of the design.  This needs to be pre-cut to the shape of the design and placed inside/behind the logo.  In the case of 3D embroidery there is a third stage which is to add the foam backing to the front of the product.

The final step before you can hit the start button is to line each of the 8 caps up perfectly on the machine so that the embroideries are essentially in the same position on each and every product.


Once the machine has completed the run of 8 caps/beanies/garments, it’s then down to the machinist to remove them from the machine and finish the product off.

This stage consists of removing the backing paper inside the product which is easily removed by tearing it away from the internal thread.

Any excess or loose stitching will then be trimmed leaving a clean and crisp finish. 3D embroidery has a couple more stages before we are completely happy with the end result. The first step being removal of the excess foam and the second and final step being ……. Well, you didn’t think we were going to give away the secret now did you???

It’s safe to say that without this dedicated team SL Black Label wouldn’t be in a position to offer some of the best-embroidered headwear available.

For further details about embroidery service please contact the SL Black Label sales team on 01376 560380 or email the sales team at sales@slblacklabel.co.uk

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