Read on to see how to grow your team sportswear printing business.
By Cara Cherry
Long-term decorators are familiar with the traditional methods of decorating including screen printing, heat printing, embroidery, and sublimation. The advances in team uniform fabrics are growing and so is the technology available for decorating. Applying durable materials and choosing the most cost effective method will give dealers an edge. When it comes to putting names and numbers on jerseys, there are a variety of options to consider. Each method comes with advantages and disadvantages.
Seeing through the screen
Screen printing is one of the most popular methods when it comes to decorating large quantities of garments. Most team dealers will put custom logos and mascots on jerseys, team wear, bags, and fan wear. However, screen printing names and numbers can become complicated. Since screen printing requires different screens for every number and name, some shops may limit the colors and font choices.
Appliqué is the most expensive method and commonly used on professional and replica jerseys. It’s more time consuming which is why it costs more. A polyester-based fabric is usually treated with a heat transfer adhesive and then cut from a roll either with a knife, laser, or water jet. The name or number is then positioned and heat applied onto a garment. Next, they are sewn onto the jersey. There are two ways to affix the names and numbers— manually on a sewing machine or with automated embroidery equipment. Different stitches such as satin or zigzag can also be used to sew down the appliqué.
Do or dye
Sublimation is another method of decorating that is seeing a lot of growth. Dye sublimation is a heat transfer process that uses specialty inks to embed colors and graphics into fabric. Since the inks actually fuse with the garment, this results in a smooth print that is actually a part of the garment. Since the dyes are less dense than other methods, sublimation can be used as an all over decorating technique and applied over seams and in odd places.
Sublimation lettering and numbering is also available. Various manufacturers are now offering sublimated letters and numbers in a wide variety of colors and fills. Decorators can even order custom colors or create multi-layer looks that are more lightweight than twill lettering.
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