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Decorating Trends in Team Wear

(June 2013) posted on Wed Jun 05, 2013

Several options are available to help you master the lucrative team-apparel market.

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By Cara Cherry

Getting ink to stick to nylon can be another challenge. The tighter the weave, the harder it is to get the ink to cure. Plastisol is formulated for cotton or cotton blends and for curing at 325°F. Because nylon can melt at that temperature, the best bet is to use a bonding catalyst. It will help the ink adhere properly and then it can be followed up with a pass through a low-temperature dryer.

Most important to remember is that nylon tends to shrink when it is heated up. A jacket holddown may be used to keep the jacket in place and help avoid shifting, especially if the garment has a shell.

Because screen printing requires different screens for every number and name, many decorators also find it easier to limit the colors and font choices. This also helps to keep costs lower.

Dye sublimation is becoming more and more popular, especially when it comes to decorating performance wear. Sublimation is a process that uses specialty inks or dyes to embed images into fabrics. In transfer sublimation, a digitally created image is printed onto special paper using sublimation ink. Then the paper is placed on the material and heat pressed. The solid particles in the dye transform into a gas and bond with the polyester polymers in the fabric before reverting back to a solid state and dying the fabric. The design remains extremely durable and won’t crack, peel, or fade.

Sublimation makes one of the best choices for decorating performance wear because it does not affect the breathability or the moisture-wicking properties of the garment. However, sublimation can only be achieved on 100% polyester fabrics, or materials that have been treated with a polyester resin coating. It’s ideal for soft substrates and 50/50 blend T-shirts. Because the dyes are less dense than other types of decorations, it is perfect for all-over prints, which are extremely prevalent in sports and fashion clothing. The only downfall is that white or light garments must be used because the colors do not appear as vibrant on dark-colored fabric.


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