Image of embroidered full jacket back for Red Line Roadsters car club - Seattle, Portland

Rev That Engine: Getting from Classic Car Photos to Custom Embroidered Jackets


A customer recently called asking us if we could create custom embroidered jackets for his car club.  Of course we said we would love to do that, and we just needed to see the club’s logo in order to provide an estimate.  “Well, that’s where there’s a problem,” he said.  “We don’t have a logo; we just have some photos of our cars.”  How we got from photos to custom jackets turned out to be an interesting story that we felt was worthy of a blog post.

The customer asked if we could draw a logo.  That is where we had a problem on our side.  At I’m In Stitches, we translate creativity into thread and print very well, but we are not creative people ourselves.  Knowing our limits, we referred our customer to a business associate who does have talent for and inclination toward creative drawing and creation of vectorized art.

The client had three favorite photos of the cars the club leaders wanted in on the jackets.  Here are the pictures:

Photo of corvette roadsters at road sidePhoto of corvette roadsters at gas stationPhoto of burgundy vintage Corvette at dealer

Luckily, the top photo of the red car was a very high resolution picture.  That helped the artist zoom in to capture the details from a cropped image similar to this:

Photo of vintage little red Corvette Stingray - Seattle

Here is the black Corvette at a better “zoom” image:

Cropped photo of black Corvette roadster

The vintage burgundy Corvette just needed to be “flipped” for balance:

Cropped photo fo vintage burgundy Corvette convertible

The customer and the artist agreed that this was not a rush job and that quality was important.  Some weeks and iterations later, our business associate artist delighted the client when he produced vectorized art that looked like this:

Logo for Red Line Roadsters - Bellevue, Seattle, Issaquah

This is where we came back into the picture.  The customer e-mailed the vectorized art to us, which allowed us to estimate the stitch count and thereby offer an estimate to produce the custom embroidered jackets.  We got a green light to proceed.  We gave the art to our embroidery digitizer and he got to work.  A few days later, he sent us back a first draft of a digitized embroidery file, which is best understood via its sister PDF file, a screen shot of which may be seen here:

Custom embroidered jackets for car clubs - Seattle, Redmond, Portland

We loaded the thread colors onto one of our machines and let it go for a test stitchout.  The embroidered full jacket back version of this design is more than 80K stitches — two and a half hours later, the machine finished.  We do test stitchouts for a reason.  We discovered some minor errors that had to be corrected.  We made some edits and ran it again, and found some more issues.

By the third iteration, we showed the customer the stitchout.  The customer loved it, but spotted some color changes that one would only know if one actually owned the car.  So we made those changes, and then some more.  The fifth iteration was the keeper version.  The customer was delighted and could not wait to get the jackets made.

Below is a time-compressed video of the back of a custom jacket being stitched out on one of our embroidery machines.  Remember that the whole jacket requires two and a half hours to complete.  We sped up the video as much as we could to capture the essence of what went into this beautiful piece of work.


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