PRINT & EMBROIDERY - GARMENT DECORATION
This section has been provided by Moving Forward Sports to help customers understand the options available to personalise or brand different garments. We briefly describe the different options, what they are suitable for, and ways to make options more affordable. Also below are examples of previous work carried out using different techniques.
Vinyl printing is most commonly used for applying a single colour design to a garment or product. Although combinations of different coloured vinyl can be used to create multicolour designs, this becomes time consuming and leads to increased costs where other options are more viable.Coloured vinyl comes in long rolls which are fed into a cutter/plotter machine, this machine takes artwork from a computer and using a small blade cuts out the programmed design. After cutting the outlines, and middle sections such as the inside of a letter "o" have to be weeded using tweezers or similar tool to remove the sections. The finished design of vinyl is then placed onto the garment, and the garment is 'pressed' using a large industrial heat platen to heats up the adhessive backing. The backed side is then peeled off to leave the vinyl design attached to the garment. This is a good low cost solution for small runs, and most commonly used in the sports industry for applying names & numbers to team kits, and sponsor logos.
Multicolour printing works much the same way as vinyl printing, infact for printing on garments it still is using vinyl. All that is added to the process in a very high quality large format printer which takes the design from a computer and prints the various colours onto a white vinyl. The process then continues in the same manner. For exact colours, Pantone references can be quoted, but please allow for a 5% tolerance due to varying working conditions.
Screen printing is used for high volume orders. A design has a stencil created, and then ink is smeared across the stencil using a squeegy. The ink fills the gaps ands is applied to the garment. The garment is then put through a drying chamber to 'cure'. Screen printing pricing drop considerablly for the more garments you require, and is a very cost effective way to complete larger orders such as promotional T-Shirts.
DTG (Direct To Garment) Printing is used for very short run, or one off personalised items. As the name suggest, the print is made directly to the garment. This is good to quickly produce individual orders, however the costs are higher to the high cost of the equipment and inks, and the time taken to complete a single order.
Embroidery is a smart and well loved technique to put club crests and team badges onto sports kit and clothing, also for having names or other personalisation. Artwork is first 'digitized' to convert the design into a stitch pattern. Garments are then 'hooped up' and put onto large machines that resemble sewing machines. Needles then stitch the design using various thread colours to create a design. The final designs are very smart, however having limitations with how small the details can be, and for things like shading or other design elements. Although embroidery looks very smart, and is well loved, sometimes it can add alot of weight to a performance garment that is designed to be light weight. Young sports stars also complain of the dreaded 'nipple rub' when wearing embroidery. Prices are dependent on the size of the logo, and number of 'stitches' in a design. A setup fee may also apply for the creation or convertion of a design.
WOVEN & HEAT APPLIED BADGES
Woven & Heat applied badge are a great way to have the look of embroidery but at a lower cost, and easily make repeat orders with low quantities. Badges or logos are created and manufactured into stand alone badges. These can have different finished with different edging. Also the can have different backing such as heat application or velcro. Badges can then be kept in stock and applied to one off garments as and when required. An initial spend is required to order stock, however overall this works out much cheaper than adding embroidery to ongoing orders.
Dye Sublimation is the most cutting edge of sportswear developments. This technique gives no limitations in designs to both sports kit and clothing, and forms the basis of the new Moving Forward Sports online kit designer. Any design is possible, even adding photography to garments. This process involves designs being created on templates on computers. Once complete large format printers produce large sections with the design on. White fabric is cut into the relevant shapes, and the print out is placed on top. The sandwich of layers is put through large heaters to cure the design to the sections of fabric. Then the pieces are sewn together to complete the final garment. Although initially more expensive than a traditional cut and sew bespoke garment, all logos and designs are included in the cost of the design. This means that additional sponsorship space can be sold on kits, without having the extra cost of printing or embroidery. You also don't need to add the cost of club badges, numbers, or players names, as these are all made into the fabric at no additional cost.
When finalising your choices to personalise garments, there is no need to only utalise one of the above methods. Often combining for instance embroidery and printing works well. You can use an embroidered club crest for a permanent finish, whilst staff initials can be printed. If that member of the club leaves, the garment can be re-printed to re-issue the item and avoid the need to order a brand new item. This is ideal for longer lasting items such as kit bags.