Long ago, in a land far away, the earliest sewing machines used not the lockstitch you’re familiar with, but chainstitch. Machine embroidery happened, but it wasn’t digitized — deft artists guided fabric under the machines, painting pictures with those awesome textured stitches. Machine-sewn chainstitch has largely gone the way of the dinosaur, except for a few industrial applications — but in East LA, the Chain Gang are keeping this vanishing art alive and well, crafting custom patches for car and bike clubs.
Tommy D and his crew of stitching artists (aka the Chain Gang) are old pros at this trade. Taking custom orders from all over the world, they create each design by hand, one at a time, on vintage sewing machines. A single patch can take hours, and when they’re finished, they look like nothing else.
The Chain Gang doesn’t have a big online presence — clients find them through car and bike scenes, so frankly they don’t need it. Take a peek into the life of the Chain Gang on Instagram (@chaingang_la and @tommydkustom), and watch this awesome video for their collaboration with Lot, Stock and Barrel:
Gear Threads is brought to you from the offbeat gals at Urban Threads. Created by illustrator Niamh O’Connor, Urban Threads is revolutionizing machine embroidery one edgy, elegant, innovative, and/or offbeat design at a time. Discover the future of digital stitchery at www.urbanthreads.com.