Whether you plan to order screen-printed t-shirts in the near future, or might some time down the line, there are important variables to consider in order to make sure your clients’ custom t-shirts don’t suffer from regular wash and wear.
There are many decisions to be made and details to be communicated when ordering decorated and promotional apparel. If you’ve ordered even once, you are well aware. The number of decisions and details is multiplied by each client you are working with and each item they are having imprinted. Wow. That’s a lot to keep track of.
You’re awesome and have it covered, we know. Regardless, we’ve got your back. The Four Simple Steps is a system for placing orders that helps organize the details and keeps you informed about the progress of your custom screen print, embroidery, and digital print orders. Our goal is to make working with us easy. By pro-actively providing you with status updates, you can continue getting business instead of being bogged down by the orders you already have.
Step 1: Order Approval
Digital printing on dark t-shirts or garments is not quite the same as printing on white or light ones. The direct-to-garment process is similar to screen print in that a white foundation or white under base must be printed first, allowing the design colors to be visible. Color may not look quite as bright when an under base is used, and the feeling of the printed shirt is not as soft.
In the process of direct-to-garment printing there is an additional step involved with printing the under base. It’s called “the pre-treat.” Colored or dark garments require the print area to be sprayed or treated, with a non-toxic primer. This primer facilitates the bond between the white ink and the garment or material surface. Depending on the design, a pre-treat can double the amount of time it takes to produce a digital print order. Although the pre-treat solution is non-toxic, it can leave a faint residue on the shirt, and it is strongly recommended that these shirts be washed before wearing.
Submitting the Artwork
Before we get into various fabric types for embroidery, there is a term you should be familiar with - backing. Backing is a specialized piece of fabric used as a foundation for stabilizing embroidery stitches. Fabric, by nature, is very flexible. Backing has a stiffness and gives the stitches something stable to hold on to.
There are various types of backing for different fabrics and purposes. You don’t need to worry about selecting the proper backing. The embroidery experts will do that for you. Backing comes in white for light garments and black for dark garments to reduce visibility. In most cases, the backing is undetectable.
When you say red, you could mean any number of a gazillion shades. When you say red 485c, you mean one very specific shade. Pantone® colors are used to select and accurately communicate color in a variety of industries.
Embroidery’s craft origin gives it an air of refinement, elegance, and respectability. For this reason, designers utilize embroidery for custom embellishment in many applications from functional uniforms to high fashion. Technology advances in the embroidery industry have made high quality custom garments an affordable option for even the more casual affairs like golf tournaments and trendy retail items. These days, we add versatility to list of words that describe embroidery.
Digital printing on fabric is very similar to the way an inkjet photo printer prints on paper. There are cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) ink jets that spray the design onto a substrate. These inks are translucent and the amount of each color that is sprayed on the material determines the end color produced.
When printing digitally, re-creating the color you see on a computer monitor is a pretty easy process, mostly because the computer does all the calculations to determine the amount of cyan, magenta, yellow, or black needed to reproduce that color. By comparison, with screen printing a highly skilled color separator selects the amount of inks that will be transferred to the garment, and how they will be layered. It is a much more labor-intensive process.
The modern day apparel industry is forever changing & evolving with new technologies and techniques. Throughout these changes, there has remained a common technique most popular for printing on light garments and vintage apparel. The technique is called soft-hand printing, and it includes a method that uses fashion soft base additives and water-based inks.
When ordering embroidered clothing it is helpful to understand the process and become familiar with what is available and possible. The following six things to consider will help you to order the right clothing for your needs, fitting your budget, and in the time that you expect.
- Do you have your design ready? For some people, creating a design or logo is a piece of cake. Others may need professional assistance or guidance to produce the desired results. Often the embroidery company can help with the design, or you may choose to work with a marketing or design agency. Note that your design will communicate a message – it could be your business logo to identify employees and staff, or it could be your sports logo to unite your team. Make sure your design will send the right message about the person who wears the clothing. Also note that some designs or logos are protected, such as the Olympic rings. Before using a logo make sure you have rights to do so.
- Which embroidery technique do you prefer? There are different types of embroidery that can be used for your project. Note that the fabric that you use can affect the quality of your embroidery and the type of embroidery technique that can be used – so consider your fabric choice as well as the other options. The basic embroidery can be used for simple text, logos or graphics. You can also request specialty embroidery such as gradient coloring, puff embroidery, applique and more. If you have more elaborate graphics or art in your design, you may need to provide a high resolution design to make sure the image is properly copied. Consider using vector files created from Adobe Illustrator or a similar product for ideal results.
- Stitching techniques and thread types add a special touch. The satin stitch is used the most often, but there are other options to consider for your project. A walking stitch gives a “hand sewn” look to your design. The fill stitch is also available to fill in areas with color and to layer designs. The thread that you use can be one of two types. Rayon is shiny and silky looking that looks very professional. The polyester thread is very durable and strong with not as much shine.
- Color matching makes your design. There are difference types of thread colors to consider. Metallic, rainbow, reflective, neon, and even color changing or glow in the dark are some of your options. Think about how these different colors can complement your design.
- When do you need it? Allow ample time to have your work completed. By avoiding a rush you can receive the highest quality and reduce the stress of trying to accomplish a big project in a short amount of time. Discuss with your provider about what is reasonable. You can put a rush on orders, but note that your price may increase.
- Stay within your budget. It is way too easy to go overboard with embroidered clothing because there are so many options to choose from. Have a budget in mind up front, and then make sure your prices and expenses stay within your goals.
Your logo consists of 3 colors, yet you’re being charged for a 4-color screen printing job. What? Why? Are decorating companies trying to pull a fast one on you? Though at first you may think otherwise, the answer is, no they are not.
You may be wondering, what and where is that fourth color coming from? That mysterious fourth color is actually what decorating manufacturers call an under base, white under base, or a flash. An under base is a necessary technique used in the screen printing industry.
Topics: screen printing