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Soft Shirt? Soft Print!

Jun. 15, 2015

I came across an article in Impressions Magazine and it’s a topic that has been brought up more and more frequently in the past few years.  “My customer wants a super soft shirt.”  “My client is interested in a burnout tee.”  So what does this mean for screen print???  My motto… your imprint should mimic your shirt.  When printing on a soft, high singles tee or burnout shirt, I feel it’s important keep your imprints light and soft to the touch.  This means, you might want to think about manipulating your customer’s artwork a little.

One method we commonly use, is using one hit of ink on a very high mesh screen to create a soft, vintage imprint where some of the shirt color will show through the ink.  The holes on a high mesh screen are very small… which means less ink can be pushed through the holes onto the shirt, which means a softer imprint!  You can also add distressed patterns to the design in conjunction with a one hit, high mesh imprint to create that vintage, “I’ve had this lucky shirt forever” look.

 

Not DistressedDistressed

Left: Original Art — Lots of coverage.  Might be uncomfortable for the wearer.  
Right: Revised artwork with distressed pattern — Imprint is lighter, breathable and flexible…. just like the shirt!

Here’s some more about what Thomas Trimingham wrote in his article, “A Womenswear Decoration Primer.”

“Garments are always evolving, a fact that is dramatically evident in the ladies juniors and girls categories.  New fabrics, treatments and different constructions all have become the norm in ladies apparel.  In particular, the average fabric weight of the garments also has changed, as there is more demand for lighter weight fabrics that are more transparent and softer.

The art issues for womenswear involve controlling the total ink volume and maximizing the softness of the T-shirt.  If you start with the standard design, you may need to be cautious if the image area will necessitate a lot of ink on a lightweight garment.  One of the most popular solutions for controlling a large imprint area is breaking the design up using a distressed texture or pattern.  This allows the shirt to breathe and enables the print area to be more flexible and less likely to be uncomfortable for the wearer.”

A Womenswear Decoration Primer by Thomas Trimingham, Contributing Writer, Impressions Magazine March 2014

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