There are a few companies, including ourselves, that are using the cut and sew method of printing. Why? Because it is the best way to get an all over t shirt/hoodie printed. There is a method that does not require the cutting of any fabric but there are some defects and we will look into that later on in this post.
How does Cut & Sew work?
Sublimation is a transfer process. You print your design onto a special release paper with sublimation inks. Once under the pressure of the heat press, these inks turn to a gas and then transfer/dye the fabric. You cannot feel the print and it is very soft to the touch. The main issue with this method is that the garment itself needs to be made of 100% or a very similar high percentage of polyester.
Cut and Sew is a printed fabric which the t-shirt or hoodie is then cut out of. This method is perfect as it has no defects and you can get the t shirt to any size/cut you want. Many clothing factories and even companies here in the United Kingdom can supply you with cut & sew t shirts.
It takes a long time and hard work to learn all of the expensive and complicated design software on offer so it’s much better and time efficient to hire a designer and they can supply you with a collection of designs (while you would probably still be learning the basics of a design software).
Getting Cut and Sew garments
You will have to approach a cut and sew manufacturer. Firstly, look in your local area and check their prices, try to negotiate deals and then compare the prices to the cost of importing from a different country.
The process of the Cut and Sew method
The process is slightly different than the sublimated printed garments. The fabric is sublimated printed as a whole and a t shirt or hoodie is then cut out of that fabric instead of printing directly onto the t shirt. The perks of this method is you cannot feel the print and is very soft.
Sourcing Cut and Sew clothing from overseas
Always remember, when importing from overseas, not only do you have to consider a minimum order quantity (MOQ) but you also need to be aware and include the shipping costs as well as import taxes. Depending on your destination country, shipping costs and the amount of taxes will vary.
Don’t forget the small stuff.
Now you need to either design or order in care tags. Most of the factories will add care tags to t shirts as an optional extra service. If you order your own care tags you will have to learn to stitch them in or yet again hire someone. We actually do this in-
house and it is highly recommended to put your own care tags in. No one wants to see who your manufacturer is!
What are “Sublimation” printed t shirts?
This printing method is similar to cut & sew but instead of the t shirt or garment being made from printed fabric, the design is directly heat pressed onto the t shirt just like the fabric you use for cut & sew. Now, this method is used usually for smaller order quantities but it has its downfalls. One of the major issues we don’t like is that 70% of the time you will get a misprint or actual creases in the t shirt where it naturally folds leaving white fold marks. This is not due to the person printing your t shirt but the way the fabric folds under pressure. Some companies try to eliminate this by putting a thin piece of cardboard in the t shirt in an attempt to keep the t shirt flat.
Once you have sent your designs off to the sublimation printing company they will then adjust the design to their needs. They will load your t shirt onto a massive press, place your design on it and press it under high pressure for a few seconds. They then peel back the transfer and your design has been transferred to the t shirt or item of clothing.
It is much more common to find local companies using this print method over the cut & sew method. Why? Because it’s a quicker way of doing it. Some people use this way of printing as they do not mind the crease/misprints. The misprints and creases usually tend to happen under the arms of the garment and is normally hidden from plain view but it is visible in darker designs. If you are doing smaller runs this would be the most viable way to print all over printed t shirts.