Although screen printing and embroidery remain the go-to decorating methods, other techniques are available, depending on what you are interested in. For this blog post, I am going to focus on three specific methods: heat transfer, sublimation, and appliqué.
Like the name suggests, this process involves heat-applied materials that are transferred to the fabric via a heat press. This process is not new to the industry but the technology has improved over the years. There are now multicolored heat presses and you no longer need to worry about the transfer coming off. Additionally, you can decorate almost any part of the apparel, unlike with screenprinting. For example, if you want to imprint the sleeve of a shirt, you simple put the sleeve on the machine and heat press it. That simple!
According to Norman Bishop, president of Vancouver, British Columbia-based Bishop Custom Clothing, “sublimation is the process of transferring sublimation ink into polyester substrate”. The sublimation method is only recommended for use on apparel that is 100 percent polyester or a high polyester blend. This printing method does not crack or fade so it is ideal for bike jerseys, technical running shirts, bikinis, leggings, and even dresses!
Just as heat transfer’s technology has changed, so has appliqué in order to keep up with trends and a need for greater detail. One variation is applique with laser etch, “a technique where garments are decorated using traditional tackle twill appliqué, with details then etched onto the applique via laser technology.” As a result, decorators are able to
etch school names or even mascots with a lot more detail than ever before! There is also a hybrid of sublimation and appliqué known as sublimated twill. With this technology, the garments are able to have more complex designs. Both of these variations of appliqué work best with lighter-weight printed and mesh fabrics.
If you’re interested in seeing other decoration methods or simply want more information, please send an email to either your Account Executive or Marketing@summitmg.com
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