Custom Reflective Night Wear

Hey Guys,

So as part of my job I work with commercial embroidery machines. I do all digitizing (what they call designing stitch files in embroidery world) in house, using the absolute best software available for the job (Wilcom ES4). I have every color of Polyneon in stock, as well as some specialty threads.

Anyway, I like skating at night sometimes, but the only jacket I have that’s reflective is a windbreaker that fills with air, causing a miniature low-flying blimp effect lol. I’ve used Glow in the Dark thread because I never grew up, but let’s face it GITD does not make sense as a safety precaution unless you’re stopping to juice up the light retention every so often.

So today I ordered some 3M reflective applique plus metallic gold and silver thread. The reflective applique is perfect for being seen in low light, and for covering larger areas without your thread count skyrocketing into the 100k+ realm. Basically just trolling for ideas and tips. If there is anything you guys would want to see let me know, supplies should be in in time to start stitching the first try the beginning of next week.

Not a for sale post. This thread is for banging around ideas for fun, progress updates on my project, pictures, etc. If there is enough interest and they come out really well I can offer them as a custom service, but for now let’s just do it for the pleasure of doing it


This is one of the dumb ideas I thought of this morning before I decided to kick around ideas with the forum. Will probably never make this one but its the first thing that came to mind. Fill section is 3M Reflective, satin trim in metallic silver thread.

I’ll probably end up doing a character with a large word. Me and my daughter love Bendy or Little Nightmares so one of those characters would be sweet (plus I have already vectored and digitized artworks she likes for various applications, just cause I like making her stuff. Last week I came home with a purse lmao. I kid you not I even sewed up straps, added, a snap clasp, it was ridiculous)

The original thought I had was this, or a giant middle finger lol. But lets face it I don’t even wear clothes with swear words on them, I’m not in college. The above artwork is not a final version either, notice the border distortion in the “A”. Something not visible but it also needs all its stitching orders changed so every letter lines up perfectly with it’s corresponding border. So yeah, this is where I am currently at in the project : Material ordered, should have first jacket ready early next week. Let’s get some cool ideas flowing!

Technically I can just start making one the second the material gets delivered, as it’s stuff I already do, but lets shoot for next week 'cause life and I have a ton of parts coming in for my 2018 build.


I would definitely buy this! I don’t like those shirts like fuck Monday or whatever is selling right now either, or it was selling, I was not in a mall for a past year :smiley:


Will definitely be making different designs. Was just showing the reflective appliques to the owner of a large trucking company we do business with while he was picking up hats, as the material will meet reflective standards. So now there’s no going back lol, I have to order more reflective material already and the first order isn’t even 2 hours old, because he wants at least one for each driver.

We have distribution accounts with multiple apparel manufacturers so if I do end up offering custom work on here we can even do small orders, or mix matched orders of different sizes and SKU’s to cut the apparel cost for customers (by combining the shipping from seller to us). You guys would just go on the sites, pick your apparel, and we’d add it to a weekly order coming our way or something.

But I’m getting WAY ahead of myself, still just doing this for fun lol

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lmfao nice

nah i am just kidding that is a really great idea i tried google image searching not much there must be a new thing? Screenshot_14

The thread manufacturer I order from doesn’t carry true reflective thread but I will definitely check that out!

I exclusively use Madeira thread as it is one of the industry standard thread manufacturers. The process I am using for this post is using sheets known as appliques which are then stitched onto the garment. I think embroidered appliques would be more along the lines for our use as a lot of reflective stuff should be big and bold, and large size like that done in all embroidery thread gets costly very quickly.

Perfect example, that “dont hit me” text I showed above would be 84k stitches, taking about an hour and a half per garment. The reflective thread if I could find a quality one will easily cost 4x that of normal thread, though thread cost compared to time is minimal. With that in mind, doing this with relfective applique would bring your stitch count to 30k, more than halving the cost and time to create each piece.

Don’t get me wrong I still want true reflective thread if I can find good quality, that would be great for chasing small designs or smaller text!

I started an actual design to put on one of my jackets and will finish it up after I get back from lunch so I can some thoughts :slight_smile:

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I think something like this would be cool (that’s not my image, just found it online):

Maybe you could do custom work with @longhairedboy with his sick figure stuff or his symbol?


That would be sweet I’d love to do collaborative stuff! If any of the brands in the community want to put up an image I’ll take a look and see what could work and what would be possible. :slight_smile: Just got a whole bunch of packages in the mail so as soon as I paw through this stuff I’ll finish up my jacket embroidery file and post it here

I have a maker space pretty close to me that has a digital embroidery machine, so I might talk to them and see if they are interested too. This is really smart and could potentially save lives, especially in cities! Great idea!

Would it be possible to stitch some EL wire onto a jacket/hoodie?

* can be bent into any shape and cut into any length * 5m x 2.3mm diameter * Powered by 2x AA batteries


Thanks @TheFluffiest! When you look for the material it is called 3M Reflective Sheet. I’ll throw a link to the one I’ll be using next week

@mmaner I’m sure it is possible, but definitely more sewing than I’m willing to put in. To make a sleeve you’d cut strip of sheer cloth the length of the EL wire, and the width would be the diameter + 1/2". Fold in half, and sew up along one side between about 1/8"-1/4" from the side (1/4" will be super tight to the diameter, I would do 1/8" to give your wire some wiggle room) Then turn it inside out.

buuuut you’d still to sew it to the existing jacket. And without it looking horrible. Honestly a good seamstress could do it, I don’t think I could without spending a lot of time figuring out the kinks. I only use my regular sewing machine for easy projects.

An easier option to use that wire is already out there, but you won’t be able to do custom designs with it. You find a jacket with a cord running through it that matches how you won’t it to look and isn’t opaque, then swap it out or run alongside it. I’m sure a cosplay forum would know a better way. Cool ass idea though

If you made the clothes you could integrate it, but once again way more sewing than I want to do lol

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That’s cool, just an idea. The only sewing I do is discord :slight_smile:

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Hahaha nice, yeah I don’t do much manual sewing, I can get do anything basic around the house, or make stuff with a pattern, but that’s about it

Got my wheels turning though, that’s always fun. I spent a solid twenty minutes daydreaming about using the machine to lay wide satin stitches over the EL wire… but in the end I figured I wouldn’t be able to do the lengths/areas necessary to truly make it look good.

Im wondering of velcro straps would be enough? I might try it on a hoodie if I can my wide to show me how to sew :slight_smile:

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I’ve seen something called retroreflective tape. It is designed to reflect directly back in the direction of the light. It is the same stuff used on construction jackets. It’s kinda a grey color. Is this the same stuff the thread is made of?

I bet that would work really well! Plus it’d be removable

Ok almost done with my frist draft for my jacket. I just yanked this clipart from Google so I’ll probably re-draw the entire thing before I actually run it.

In this instance I am laying down the applique material and using tight backstitching to add the detail.

It still needs some love for the letter outlining and obviously to finish adding in the details


Sort of, the applique I am referring IS that stuff, 3M Silver Reflective, but it’s not actually a thread. Its a sheet that you apply with embroidery. It meets safety standards :slight_smile: But yes that’s the same stuff used for safety vests

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