Several options are available to help you master the lucrative team-apparel market.
By Cara Cherry
Terry Wagner of Uniforms and More in Livonia, MI, says that he has seen a lot of growth in this area, that there are no color limits, and that customers love how lightweight the designs are. He applies dye-sub-printed graphics to a variety of apparel types, including performance T-shirts, long-sleeve compression jerseys, cycling shirts, and singlets.
Tackle twill and appliqué
Appliqué and tackle twill are often seen on professional and replica jerseys and on sweatshirts for school organizations. Tackle twill or appliqué is the sewing down of a number, letter, or other type of decoration that is created from different types of material and stitched together using embroidery. It is durable and long-lasting and can be made from fabrics such as twill, chino, felt, fleece, flannel, cotton prints, and more. Appliqué usually features thick stitching.
Tackle twill is the top choice of decorating for major sports teams. Tackle twill is made from a polyester fabric and woven into a twill-like pattern. A high-gloss coating is applied to give it a satin sheen. Tackle twill uses less thread because letters or logos are stitched down in a zig-zag pattern. While twill and appliqué can be more costly than other methods, they’re still among the most popular methods of decorating sports uniforms.
Distressed appliqué represents another look that has been made popular by leading retailers. It features a worn, vintage-like appearance. Distressed appliqué is created using a laser to specially cut the fabric, so that the edges purposely fray. The fabric is left uncoated and untreated, which allows the appliqué to continue to distress with each additional washing. While this look has been popular in the fashion market for quite some time, team dealers are taking lots of orders for distressed appliqué and applying it to team caps, sweatshirts, and other types of apparel.
Heat-applied letters and numbers (Figure 2) have been a staple in team decorating for a very long time. Heat printing is an easy and economical option that can be incorporated into any shop. There are a number of large manufacturers that sell die-cut letters and numbers, as well as custom-cut graphics, team names, full-color digital transfers, screen-printed transfers, and even appliqué.
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