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Tshirts – Make or Break Details

 

Tshirts – everyone has their favorite, whether it’s because of it’s worn-in comfort, the great graphic design, or the memory it evokes. With tshirts being such an everyday item, we don’t often think about the small details that can make a shirt our go-to favorite, or buried at the bottom of the drawer.

“Six years I’ve had this t-shirt. It’s my best one. I call him Golden Boy.” – Jerry, in “The Marine Biologist”, Seinfeld tv comedyanatomyoftee

Take into consideration what preferences your group will have when ordering tshirts. You may want to mix styles for men and women to appeal to both. Some features to consider:

Neckline

The wrong neckline can ruin the feel of a shirt. Ever had one that just didn’t lay right or stretched out too much? Or maybe a crew neck just gives you that strangling feeling!

  • Crewneck – soft rounded look, close to the base of the neck, also available as a ringer (contrasting color)
  • Scoop – a lower rounded neckline, usually for women, varying depths
  • V-neck – more common for women, but seen lately in men’s styles
  • Notch Crew – a slightly deeper crew neck option for men’s styles

Fabrics

Softer fabrics are the current style and offer a higher perceived value. If you want to ensure your apparel will be worn after your event or occasion, choosing a soft fabric combined with a great design makes all the difference.

  • Open-End Cotton – less expensive, less refined, good value – used for very basic tshirts
  • Ring Spun Cotton – smoother, stronger and softer than open end
  • Combed Ring Spun Cotton – even more refined and softer than plain ring spun
  • Poly and Poly Blends – performance fabrics with moisture management properties
  • TriBlends – combination of three threads – polyester, cotton & rayon to create a heathered look with a soft, drapey feel; very popular in fashion styles, and softest fabric

Weight

Weight is determined by the weight of one square yard of fabric. The trend lately has been towards lighter weights, but consider who will be wearing the shirts and when they will be worn.

  • Lightweight – 3-4.5 oz; usually for women’s, fashion and performance styles
  • Midweight – 5-5.5 oz; most standard tshirts, holds up well
  • Heavyweight – 6 oz+; durable, holds up best to frequent washings

Fit

Be aware of the size range of your group and choose accordingly. Mixing women’s styles in with standard adult sizing makes your apparel more appealing and comfortable.

  • Adult Sizes – unisex fit, but really made for men with longer sleeves and boxier fit
  • Ladies – slightly more contoured than adult sizes, with shorter sleeves
  • Ladies Fashion Fit – more contoured with shorter sleeve lengths
  • Junior – most contoured and body-hugging for slimmer silhouettes

For a comprehensive guide and graphics on tshirt styles and sizing, Sanmar has put together this handy chart:  Sanmar Tshirt Fit & Style Guide

 

tshirts

Tee It Up – We’ve Got Your Back

Typically, you may not think of a promotional products company like The Creative J to be your best source for screen printed tshirts. However, you just might want to think about that again. Apparel is a BIG part of our business, and an area at which we really excel.

No, we don’t have our own equipment and no, we don’t print them here at our offices. However, this offers our customers an advantage over traditional tshirt shops:  Options – and lots of them!

 

Since we are able to combine the best sources for your specific order, you’ll receive our expert marketing and creative input on each project. We won’t just slap your logo on the left chest and call it good, we’ll work with you to make sure you project the image you envision.

So, why should you use The Creative J for apparel?

  • More apparel brands and options
    • Since we’re not tied into any one source for our apparel, we offer a wide variety of brands, styles, and price points for our customers.
    • We customize each order by choosing the apparel source, the decorator and the shipping method in order to fit our customer’s specific needs for style, budget and time-frame.
    • Need more than shirts? We’ve got it – shirts, caps, pants, jackets, accessories, even shoes!
    • Brands such as Eddie Bauer, Ogio, Columbia, Carhartt, Red Kap, Greg Norman, Adidas, Nike, Puma, Ralph Lauren/Polo, Izod, Dri-Duck, Lacoste, American Apparel, Champion, Gildan … the list goes on and on.
  • Customization
    • Want to customize the apparel tag with your own brand? We can do that.
    • Want to create your own custom color and style combinations? We can do that.
    • Want to shorten sleeves, add pockets, coordinate laces, create shirt/cap combos? We can do that.
    • Want to combine various decorating techniques? We can do that.
  • Multiple Sources
    • We can pull inventory from multiple warehouses and suppliers, so we have more options when stocks run low.
  • Schedule Flexibility
    • Since we work with multiple decorators, we aren’t tied into any one decorator’s schedule. If Decorator A is booked, we can move to Decorator B to meet your event date.
  • Creative Decoration and Design
    • We utilize decorators across the country in order to bring our customers unique options that will truly set them apart, such as:
      • laser etching and applique
      • oversized screen printing
      • specialty inks, including metallics, puff, suede, clear, glow-in-the-dark, foils, soft-hand, distressed and more
      • full color heat transfers, sequins, rhinestones, and embroidery
      • full color overall sublimation printing
  • Safety Compliance for Youth Apparel
    • We make sure all youth apparel is properly tested and tagged according to federal safety regulations.
  • Upfront Pricing and Details
    • As always, we’ll provide you with complete order details and costs before you pay a penny, and we stand by our quotes. You won’t find us sneaking in additional charges on the final invoice.
  • Guided Options and Choices
    • We don’t expect you to come in knowing exactly what you want or need. We’ll help guide you through the process to narrow down the specific styles, brands, decoration and budgets which will work best for your unique situation.
So, now that you know a little more about us, we’d like to know more about you. Tell us about your next project and see how we can help.

Pop Your Pocket – Not Your Basic Tee

Looking for a new look for your basic tshirt? Pop Your Pocket!

 

With our Pop-Your-Pocket program, you combine a tshirt color and a pocket color along with a variety of decorating techniques for a truly custom look.

Decoration can be applied on top or beneath the pocket, as well as on or above. By combining unique color combinations along with a variety of screenprint techniques and inks, you’ll have a tshirt like no other.

Minimum order is 72 pieces. Contact us for a free virtual concept.

Cotton Prices on the Rise…Again

An article released today by www.business-standard.com details the rise of cotton prices over the past two months. Apparel manufacturers were waiting to see if prices would fall or stabilize, but instead, have seen an upward tick in pricing, causing them to consider 10-15% increases to apparel.

In the promotional products business, we see the effects of such price increases mainly in the week-to-week costs of tshirts. Tshirts are considered a commodity item, and pricing can fluctuate wildly when cotton pricing is unstable. This can cause it to be extremely difficult to hold pricing on quotes for longer than a week or two.

At The Creative J, we have many sources for our blank apparel, which help us to keep your costs down. When quoting apparel pricing, we search through a multitude of vendors to find the best current pricing so we can pass the savings on to our customers. You can be assured that the price we quote has been thoroughly researched by the time it reaches your eyes.

Click here to read more about the current cotton situation.

 

Make it Soft to the Touch

Tshirts have become an integral part of today’s fashions, and a common item for companies to advertise or promote their business or brand. One of the popular trends in tshirt design is to use softer materials and imprinting methods that are soft to the touch. The goal is to have an imprint that doesn’t feel like a plastic sticker, but retains the softness of the material as much as possible.

At The Creative J, we have numerous imprinting and decorating techniques available which gives us the ability to offer our customers unique and memorable ways to design their apparel. To achieve an imprint which retains that soft, almost worn feel, even when the design covers a lot of area, there are three main methods to use. Below are some of the options and details about each:

No Underbase

Using regular Plastisol inks without an underbase can achieve a more worn look with a slightly softer feel.

Final Appearance
Depending on the color of the shirt and the ink colors being used, the imprint can have a vintage/worn look with a slightly softer feel since there is not a layer of white underneath. There will still be a detectable imprint to the touch.

Detail
Imprints will retain their detail within the limits of standard screenprinting.

Cost
Either the same or a bit less in some cases than standard printing.

Minimum Quantities
No restrictions other than those for standard printing (usually 12, depending on imprint colors and locations)

Fashion Base

An additive is mixed with regular Plastisol inks to achieve a softer feel. After washing the shirt, you won’t be able to feel the imprint.

Final Appearance
The imprint will have a more transparent, washed-out look, which will allow the color of the shirt to show through. For this reason, printing a dark imprint on a dark shirt will not work as well since the shirt color will overtake the imprint color. However, if printing a lighter color on a dark shirt, the imprint will have the worn, distressed look of a vintage tshirt.

 

Fashion Base Print

Detail
Since Plastisol inks hold good detail, imprints will retain their detail in finer areas.

Cost
A bit more per imprint color and placement than standard inks, but still an affordable option.

Minimum Quantities
Since inks need to be specially mixed and cannot be saved for later use, there is a minimum of 48 pieces.


Water Base Inks

These inks have a softer hand to them then standard Plastisol inks and has a softer look to the imprint also (colors will not be as bright).

Final Appearance
The imprint will be a bit more transparent than standard inks and does not print well on white underbases, so works best on white or light colors. Pantone colors will appear a bit lighter than they appear in color books, so if you want bright, vibrant colors, waterbase is not the direction to go.

Detail
Since the ink has a tendency to dry more quickly, there can be a loss of detail in some fine areas.

Cost
Usually no extra cost to run waterbased inks.

Minimum Quantities
No higher minimums than standard printing.

Discharge Ink

Discharge ink is the process and waterbased ink used for dark garments. It’s extremely soft when compared to standard inks. It uses a chemical which bleaches the dye from the garment before depositing the ink pigment on the material.

 

Final Appearance
After washing, the imprint will feel just like the garment’s material. Imprint colors can be vibrant since the garment color does not show through the ink. Only SOME 100% cotton garments will work for this process. Some rich colors such as royal blue, red, purple, etc. can be very unpredictable as the inks can become contaminated by the shirt dye. When used on the right type of garment, it has a wonderfully soft and vibrant appearance.

Detail
Since these are waterbased inks, fine details may appear soft or fill in some due to drying issues.

Cost
Due to the special mixing of inks with chemicals, they must be used right after mixing. In addition, the chemicals tend to break down the screens, which depending on the size of the order, can require additional screens. Therefore, the cost for discharge is much higher than standard inks. You can figure an extra $.60-$.75 per imprint color, per location for discharge.

Minimum Quantities
Due to the factors above, discharge printing using requires a minimum of 72 pieces or more.

Using the methods above, along with other techniques and decoration methods, we can help you to create a tshirt design that will stand out from the rest.