Many individuals are confused when they see a label that states a t-shirt has been preshrunk. They automatically think that the shirt has been completely washed and dried, which would eliminate any possibility of having it shrink during future washings. Unfortunately, that is a myth and we are here to debunk the myth surrounding preshrunk t-shirts.
The term preshrunk actually describes an entire process that the fabric has gone through before being made into the t-shirt that you are wearing. The following is a closer look at what exactly ‘preshrunk’ means and the process the fabric goes through before being used to create a shirt.
Fabrics Naturally Want to Shrink
All natural and synthetic fabrics have a natural tendency to want to shrink when they are washed. This is because the fibers of the fabric will want to tighten up and bunch together. This tightening action results in entire fabric shrinking, which results in a change in the overall shape and size of the article of clothing.
The Preshrinking Process
Seeing the term ‘preshrunk’ may automatically bring up images of having the t-shirt washed and dried before it is sold, but it actually implies the use of a process that is known as preshrinking.
The preshrinking process involves placing the fabric that is used to create the t-shirt through a processing machine. The processing machine will force the fibers of the fabric to group together and tighten. When the fibers of the fabric are grouped together, it will eliminate the possibility of the shirt shrinking when it is washed.
Do the Preshrunk Shirts Never Shrink When Washed?
There is a common belief that preshrunk shirts will never shrink in the wash. This, unfortunately, is not true. Preshrunk shirts can, and sometimes will, shrink in the wash.
The preshrinking process will eliminate the possibility of a t-shirt shrinking in the wash, but it will not completely prevent any shrinkage. The t-shirt could shrink in the future, but the shrinkage will be very minimal. It is believed that the shrinkage is only about 3-7% of the size of the t-shirt, which would barely impact the fit of the shirt.
Why Many T-Shirts are Preshrunk Before Being Sold?
T-shirts are often preshrunk because it eliminates any type of guess work out of choosing a t-shirt size. If a t-shirt is a large, it most likely will not shrink in the wash to a medium or small. This makes it easier for people to choose a shirt that will fit them without fear that the clothing will shrink and not be able to be worn in the future.
Next time you are looking at a t-shirt label and notice the term ‘preshrunk’, you will be able to understand exactly what it means and how it impacts the t-shirt you are purchasing.
Companies or individuals looking to capture people’s attention may want to do so with clothing that makes a colorful impression. T-shirts that are created with bright, vibrant full-printed photos can be eye-catching and attention grabbing.
Full-printed garments, especially t-shirts, are made possible with a printing process known as dye sublimation printing. Dye sublimation printing, or dye sublimation for short, allows full photographic images to be printed or transferred to a t-shirt or other garment. Some in the shirt printing industry call this process ‘all around printing.’
The following is a look at the process that is used during dye sublimation printing and why it is becoming a popular choice for t-shirts.
What is Dye Sublimation Printing?
Dye sublimation printing is a complex printing process that essentially takes a photographic image and transfers it to the entire shirt. The image often takes up the whole shirt, as opposed to a smaller logo or design located above the shirt pocket.
The process for dye sublimation printing is fairly time consuming. The desired photo, image, or artwork must first be taken and printed onto specialty paper. This is done using a special printer that will print the image onto large sheets of paper.
Once the images or artwork have been transferred to the specialty paper, they will then be transferred to the t-shirts. Transferring the images and artwork to the t-shirt requires the use of a special pressure machine called a heat transfer press. These presses reach the extremely high temperatures that are required to help transfer the images onto the t-shirts. This is typically 375-380 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is a heat press:
How is an Image Transferred from Paper to the T-Shirt?
Images are transferred with a heat press as seen above. The extremely high temperatures these machines reach that will convert the dye on the paper into a gas. Once the dye is converted to a gas, it can be transferred to the t-shirt. The shirt will be placed on the botton with the sublimation printed transfer paper on top. The gas will instantly ‘bond’ with the fibers of the fabric resulting in the transferred image. At this point the design will very likely last as long as the shirt itself.
Why is Dye Sublimation Printing Becoming So Popular?
Dye sublimation printing has been around for a number of years, but it wasn’t until recently that it started to become popular. There are a number of reasons why it has increased in popularity.
Some of the reasons for dye sublimation printing’s popularity include:
No two images are alike, each t-shirt is considered unique as the process is never the same
Garments are soft, as the dye is absorbed by the fabric and does not sit on top of it
Bright, vibrant colors and images can be transferred to t-shirts
Details will not be lost during transfer of the images to the shirts
Understanding what dye sublimation printing is and why it is popular can help you determine if it is the right choice for your t-shirt printing needs. Check out our Sublimate Tees for him and her made especially this type of printing.
Whether you own a retail establishment and want to get your name out there or you have a cause near and dear to your heart, one excellent way of sharing your message is by ordering promotional t-shirts. You can outfit yourself, staff and friends in these shirts, sell them to customers or give them away and gain free advertising each time someone decides to pair one of these shirts with a pair of jeans. However, not every t-shirt promotion is met with success. These five simple tips will assure your program is a worthwhile investment. And now our 5 tips when creating a promotional shirt.
• Quality is Key – No matter how attractive your logo, if it is printed on a boxy, ill-fitting or uncomfortable shirt, you will have a hard time convincing people to wear it. Additionally, a low-quality shirt can make your brand appear cheap or inferior.
• Make it Fun – The best promotional shirts don’t feel like a promotion. If your shirt looks like a giveaway, it will not achieve the level of appreciation you hope it may. Think about The Hard Rock Café. Visitors to the restaurant pay $25 to wear a t-shirt that advertises the brand. While you may not achieve that level of success, think about making a shirt that customers will want to wear.
• Offer Options – Not everyone wears a men’s medium or large. Think about offering women’s sizes, sizes ranging up to 2XL and other options as needed. This way, anyone who may want to wear your design will find one that fits.
• Colors – While you want to create a shirt that utilizes the colors of your brand, think about making them wearable. While your brand utilize a bright yellow and red design, perhaps it would be better to offer a grey or black shirt with yellow and red logo—instead of making the shirt itself a bright yellow.
• Work With Experts – Not every company that prints these shirts is in the t-shirt promotion business. Find a company that knows what it takes to create shirts that will wow everyone who sees them.
As you can see, there are many things you need to consider before you place an order for promotional t-shirts. If you have any questions or concerns about your t-shirt promotion program, or want to discuss your ideas, give us a call or contact us online at Outletshirts.com
A t-shirt is a t-shirt, right? Actually, no. Anyone who wears t-shirts regularly knows that some t-shirts are just more comfortable than others. While some of what makes a t-shirt comfortable is the way it fits or the way it is cut, much of how good it feels is determined by the weight and make-up of the shirt itself. Understanding a bit more about the different weights that are available and what the weights mean will make it easier for you to choose a shirt that fits your needs perfectly.
With shirts, there is a numerical weight attached to them. The most common weights range between 5.1 and 6.1 ounces. The weight refers to what one-yard of the fabric weighs—not the shirt itself—so the weight/feel is standard across all sizes of shirts. That is because logically an extra-large shirt will weigh more than a small would.
It used to be that when you were comparing quality of t-shirts, heavier was better. In certain applications, this is still true. A heavy shirt is excellent for use on a job site where a thicker shirt is less likely to tear or rip. However, for everyday use—especially in a high-fashion screen printed shirt—many people prefer the feel of a lightweight, thin shirt. These are becoming increasingly popular. One of the lightweight shirts making a big splash is the Perfect Weight Tee by District Made.
A thinner shirt often feels better on the skin and is made from a higher-quality blend of materials. As a general rule, the thinner shirts are less likely to shrink than the thick ones are. It is very important to understand this when purchasing shirts. If you are buying a heavy-duty shirt for use on a work site, it may be best to buy up a size to account for shrinkage.
When purchasing shirts, a lot of the decision all boils down to personal preference. Spend some time looking over the weights and shirts available here at Outletshirts.com. If you have any questions about the weight or other purchasing issues, feel free to call or contact us and let one of our t-shirt experts help you make the right decision. After all, there are not many articles of clothing that are as comfortable and durable as a good t-shirt, so it only makes sense to choose one that you will enjoy wearing for years to come.
The textile industry is one of the oldest yet fastest-growing industries in the world; after all, clothing is one of the primary commodities that every person on Earth needs to own. Textile manufacturers do a very good job today producing high quality materials from both synthetic and natural fibers that are offered to the general public. Textile producers, however, did not have an easy trail to follow leading to their success.
While a lot of struggling people were immigrating to America to start a new life, a small group of these people stood at the forefront and led America through its Industrial Revolution. This group of textile entrepreneurs invented power-driven machinery and developed business enterprises to produce products that had previously been made in low volume in homes and small shops, leading to a factory boom.
The industrialization of textile manufacturing began in the late 1700s in Great Britain when Richard Arkwright invented the “spinning frame” that could turn raw cotton into a mass produced yarn.
An early Spinning Frame
However, it wasn’t until 1790 that the industry began to spread widely to the United States. This movement can largely be credited to an English-born businessman named Samuel Slater. At the age of 21, Slater had worked in a textile factory for six years and had learned the mechanical details of Arkwright’s machine. He carried this knowledge with him as he ventured out of his country and onto the American shores, confident that he could reinvent the spinning frame and make a fortune for himself.
When he arrived in Providence, Rhode Island, he formed a partnership with the textile-manufacturing firm of Almy & Brown. Slater built the spinning frame based on the Arkwright model just from the details he had memorized. Its first use was on December 20, 1790 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where the waters of the Blackstone River turned the wheels of the mill. The success of Slater’s mill revolutionized the textile industry in America, which up to that point was dependent on cottage workers to produce yarn and thread.
Slater Mill Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Because of this innovation, factories in the US began to multiply rapidly, earning Slater the title of “The Father of the American Factory System” as well as “The Father of the American Industrial Revolution.” By 1815, there were already 165 cotton mills operating in New England. These early mills were not large-scale, so New England merchants continued to utilize home workers to weave some of the yarn into cloth for some time after Slater’s innovation.
This video shows an early spinning frame in action at the Slater Mill.
The spawning of other products
The beginning of the 18th century marked the production of textiles made with wool from sheep farms across the midlands in Britain. More than a quarter of the British exports during that time were from the export trade in woolen goods, doubling between 1701 and 1770. Another textile industry that invested in cotton centered in Lancashire showed remarkable growth during that time, although it did not equal the huge value of the woolen trade. Before the start of the 17th century, only individual workers manufactured a somewhat limited number of goods, which were distributed around the country.
In the early 18th century, artisans started to find alternative materials to produce products. They were using silk, wool, fustian, and linen, but all were eventually overcome by cotton, which became the most important textile of the time.
Cotton was first imported into northern Europe in the late medieval period. At the time people did not have any knowledge of where it came from. They associated the material with wool, noting their similarities, they conceptualized that plant-borne sheep must produce it. It was later called “tree wool.” Even Christopher Columbus in his explorations of the Bahamas and Cuba in the late 1400’s, found natives wearing cotton garments. During the late 16th century, cotton became more and more popular as it was cultivated in the warmer regions of Asia and America.
The production of cloth involves not only the growing and harvesting of the fiber or raw material, but the product must then be prepared and spun into thread or yarn, and finally weaving the yarn into cloth. Thereafter, the cloth will be taken to the garment manufacturer. Preparation of fiber will depend on the fiber used, but it can involve retting and dressing. Wool needs to be carded and washed. Spinning and weaving can be similarly done to fibers, as well. Spinning is done by twisting the fibers by hand using a drop spindle or a spinning wheel.
The industry’s forerunners
Eli Whitney invented the modern mechanical cotton gin, which quickly separates the cotton fibers from their seeds, in 1793.
Cotton Gin on Display the Eli Whitney Museum
Here is a brief video history of Eli Whitney and his impact on the textile world:
It was in 1813 that the New England factory systems started to take off when Frances Cabot Lowell, Nathan Appleton, and Patrick Johnson established the Boston Manufacturing Company and opened their first factory, wherein workers operated spinning and weaving machinery. This enabled the home-based workers to shift their jobs from their homes to the factories. Fifteen years later, the company started adding branches throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire. By 1840, the Boston Manufacturing Company had gained a great deal of popularity, as others tried to copy their corporate model.
Boston Manufacturing Company on the Charles River, Waltham, Massachusetts
Lowell and his team hoped to change the ways of the British industry. Building their facilities in Massachusetts, he hired young and unwed women from the farms of New England. Known as the “mill girls”, they were strictly chaperoned by matrons who established curfews and a stringent moral code for the girls to follow. The mill girls worked 12 hours per day, 6 days per week. Although it was a tedious job, most of the girls enjoyed the independence the mill gave them, in contrast to how they had lived on the farm. Moreover, the wages rose to triple the rate for a domestic servant at the time.
It was also during this time when leaders such as William Gregg of South Carolina established a home-based textile industry, which was resisted by the northern mills. After the Civil War, the south slowly replaced the use of slaves with regular workers. Edwin Michael Holt and his family in North Carolina built a number of mills all over the south at the end of the 19th century, including Glencoe Cotton Mill and mill village, which are still preserved to this day.
Later on, merchants such as the Marshall Fields of Chicago acquired and built mills of their own (Cone Mills and Fieldcrest Mills) so as to better control and regulate the supply.
As World War I took place, several new companies emerged to satisfy the war demand. After the war, imported machinery from Germany and Switzerland started to replace domestic supply.
During the late 19th century, the Made in the USA began to be replaced by a new world order. Because many textile manufacturers aimed to buy from the producers with the lowest cost, most textile companies considered importing from other countries.
As the 20th century approached, major changes came to the textile industry as innovations allowed textile machinery to create synthetic fiber such as rayon and nylon, which is used in products ranging from pantyhose to toothbrushes.
Acetate was invented in the 1920s. A decade later, polyester and acrylic were introduced. Polyester became more popular in the Unites States than cotton for some time during that century.
By the early 20th century, globalization also led to the outsourcing of textile manufacturing to overseas markets. This created a trend of focusing on white-collar industries for fashion design and retail.
An apparel distributor, Outlet Shirts, specializes itself in the screen-printing and embroidery industry as well as blank apparel. It provides well over 1500 products from brands such as Port Authority Apparel, Port and Company, Eddie Bauer, Nike Golf, Sport-Tek and more. Offering a large selection of wholesale t-shirts, polo shirts, woven, outerwear, ladies styles and many more. Its products are available either blank or embellished with your company or group logo. Its low prices and generous discounts, also includes free shipping starting at $125, will make it easy for any customer to save more without sacrificing quality or service.
The textile industry has come a long way from just old-fashioned machines and factories. It has developed greatly over time, paving the way for companies who produce quality products for their customers. Today, it has become a very essential industry the world could not live without.
We will take a look at this widely used but often misunderstood fiber known as Polyester. Polyester is a very strong, synthetic fiber that is used in many different applications. We will also show you one of our favorite moisture management polyester t-shirts and gave an update on the process of turning this fiber into a modern, high performance fabric.
Polyester is a non-natural fiber that can be used to create a similarly interesting non-natural fabric. Believe it or not, polyester is made from crude oil; it is a type of plastic that is melted and spun into a fiber. If you weave almost any fiber in the right way you can turn it into a usable fabric. You can find polyester in a multitude of everyday products such as furniture, rope, seat belts, bedding, tee shirts, blankets, fleece and many other types of clothing.
This amazing material was the brainchild of two Dupont Engineers, which should not come as a surprise, knowing the inventive history of that remarkable company. The first of the world changing fibers and inventions was widely noted as Nylon, but Polyester and others were right there within a few years of the Nylon introduction. Until about ten years ago, many were correct in their criticism of polyester clothing and were correct to avoid it for many applications. It did not breathe, was uncomfortable, itchy, and could be melted easily with a hot iron; the list of complaints went on and on. There are still to this day, many traditional old school designers that say, “avoid this dreaded fabric” at all cost. Many of these arguments stem from the fact that for hundreds years cotton and other natural fibers were much softer, easier to dye, generally easier to work with and in turn, more suitable for clothing and apparel.
But now, polyester fabrics have been revolutionized into what many call a modern engineered-fabric and the go-to item for many uses. This awesome synthetic fabric is changing the apparel world with plenty of examples to prove this point. It is a very soft, wrinkle resistant, durable, fabric that will retain color well. Another interesting feature is that it dries out very quickly if it becomes wet from water or sweat.
Before moving forward have a look at this great video of polyester fiber being woven into fabric: How It’s Made – Polyester fabric.
A great example of a brand that is now a household name and has been important in the polyester revival is Under Armour. It is said that the founder of the company came up with the moisture management base layer while playing football. He was apparently wearing a cotton t-shirt under his football pads and after practice he had noticed how soaked with sweat the shirt was and decided to weigh it. To his surprise the t-shirt weighed in at a few pounds and it would stay that way for a long time, as it did not dry out very easily. This is where the idea of the polyester base layer was born. By many accounts this has fundamental changed the use of synthetic fibers in clothing and apparel, most specifically in athletics. Among the common terms you will hear used to describe these types of products are Dry-FIT, Dry Zone and Dri-Mesh.
There are lot of other very good products that have adopted these moisture wicking characteristics; polo shirts, golf shirts, camp shirts, and the like, both men’s and ladies. Here is one more look at a very interesting use of polyester, the recycling of plastic bottles to be turned into clothing such as sweatshirts and fleece jackets.
Screen printing is a technique that applies ink to a garment through a woven mesh that has a stencil of a logo or design on it, whereas embroidery applies a design with thread. Screen printing is typically lower in cost than embroidery. Screen printed shirts can commonly be found in gift shops, with a design printed on the front or back or both sides of the garment.
Screen printed designs can be applied to a shirt or other garment in either a full color image such as replicating a photo or by spot colors where the design is made up of just a few discrete colors. The full color process is quite expensive and typically reserved for special applications. Common applications for company employees, special events, charities, family reunions and so on are done with spot colors.
Steps in the process:
1. Provide a copy of the logo or design(s) and specify the location(s) to be printed.
2. Determine the number of colors of ink in the design(s) and pick the colors of ink
3. Choose the garments(apparel), color of garments and the total quantity.
4. Create the artwork and proof
5. Create the screens – also known as the “Set-up” process
6. Obtain the apparel
7. Select the ink color(s) or if needed mix them
8. Install the screens onto the printing machine
9. Do the printing
10. Dry the garment
11. Fold, pack, and ship the order
1. Supply your logo or design. You may want to have one design applied to the front or the back of a T-shirt. Or you may want different designs to be applied to different locations on the shirt. If you simply want text such as “Hansen Family Reunion July 2013” for example, we can generate that for you. For more complex designs you will need to supply the completed artwork in a jpg or pdf format and eventually in a vector format such as an .eps or Illustrator output or .pdf vector file. If you do not have a logo and cannot create one yourself, you may want to contact a graphic artist to design one for you. A graphic artist will be familiar with all the file formats needed.
2. Determine the colors of ink to be used on your design. The more colors of ink you use the higher the printing cost. Also if you print light colored ink such as white or light pink on a dark garment, that is more costly than printing a dark color like black on a light colored shirt. Typically each design will be treated like a nearly separate order since most of the steps will need to be repeated. As an example if you want a print on the front and the back, we will first print all of the fronts and then print all of the backs.
3. Choose the color, style, sizes and quantities of the apparel. If you want to have a design printed on different colored shirts, say 36 black shirts and 36 yellow shirts and you wish to use different colors of ink for these two applications, it will be necessary to change the ink color when switching from black shirts to yellow shirts.
4. The “set-up” process involves doing several things all involving turning your logo/design into to screens.
a. We first have to insure that the digital files we have are vector files. These files allow the design to be scaled to the appropriate size without losing resolution. This also also allows for multiple colors to be printed.
b. We will create a “proof” which shows your design superimposed onto the garment. This is emailed to you for approval.
c. We will then “separate” your design into its various “ink” colors. If your design has 3 ink colors we will create 3 separate stencils, one for each color. We will then print these separately on a transparent film in the exact size needed for the final printing.
d. In the next step we create the screens. This involves applying a light sensitive photo emulsion to a screen. The screen is a wood or metal frame with a woven material such as polyester stretched tight over the top of the frame. Prior to the advent of polyester, silk was a common material for the screens. This is where you get the term silk screening from. The clear film with the stencil of the design is perfectly aligned onto the screen and temporarily attached to the screen. All of the work associated with preparing the screens must be done in a dark room, much the same as if you were developing film.
e. The screen with the light sensitive coating attached stencil is placed on a light table. A special light source is used to expose all of the light sensitive emulsion except for those portions covered by the stencil.
f. Next the screen is spray washed to remove all the unexposed emulsion. The portion of the screen covered by the stencil will be unexposed and will wash out, leaving the image of the stencil open and now able to allow ink to pass through. Have a look at this video to see the process:
g. If multiple colors are called for, then a separate screen is similarly created for each color. The following image is an example of a single color print on the back and a two-color print on the front of a shirt.
5. The next step is to mix up or obtain the correct ink required for each screen. This can be either a standard color like white or black or one of a number of common pre-mixed ink colors. The color can also be a special color shade picked from a Pantone chart, which is a large pallet of industry standard colors. These are much like the color cards you find at your local home store when selecting wall paint. The Pantone colors are identified with a PMS#, which specifies the formula we use to mix up the proper ink color.
6. The next step is to set-up the automatic printing machine. This involves installing each screen into a clamp and then adjusting the X-Y and rotational registration of the screen very precisely using registration marks that were printed onto the film we generated in step # 4c. Each separate color of ink calls for its specific screen to be installed into a separate station and registered in exactly the same fashion. If your print called for 3 different colors of ink, for example a tree trunk with brown ink, the leaves with green ink and text below calling for black ink there are 3 screens and stations. Each has to be aligned precisely so that when the green leaves are printed onto the brown branches, they appear to be attached properly.
7. Start the presses! The printing can now begin. Most modern machines are automatic. After the screens are in position, the operator will apply a generous portion of ink onto each screen, being careful to apply the correct color onto each screen. The operator will then install one garment at a time, typically a T-shirt, onto a “platen” which is a flat plate that holds the shirt secure while the ink is applied. Typically a special “sticky” spray is first sprayed onto the platen to help hold the garment in place. The placement of the garment onto the platen is not as critical as the screen alignment process is but is important to insure that the placement of the print is in the correct location; not too high or low, not rotated on the shirt, and so on. When the press starts up it will rotate the platen to the first station and stop. The machine will move the screen down and contact the shirt. A large squeegee, which is part of the machine, then moves across the screen, dragging ink with it and thus forcing the ink down through the open pores of the screen and onto the shirt. When this is finished, the machine lifts the screen up and off of the shirt and then the platen is rotated to the second station. The process is repeated at the second station with the second screen being rotated down and into contact with the shirt and the second color of ink is squeegeed onto the shirt. As the first station is applying the first color of ink, the operator will install a second shirt onto a second platen so that there will be a continuous flow of shirts and each station is active at all times. The video below shows a multi-head automatic press cranking out shirts. These machines can produce hundreds of printed shirts per hour, once they are set-up.
8. The next to last step is drying. Most common inks are dried with heat to speed up the process and to “fix” or cure the ink so that it will remain on the shirt through multiple washings. Most companies will employ a conveyor belt dryer that slowly runs the shirts under a heat source and out the other side dry. This is similar to the devices used in many fast food restaurants to heat sandwiches.
9. The last step is to count, fold, and pack the shirts for shipment.
We occasionally get questions from customers about which products will stain from sweating and which ones will not. The answer to that question is not related to specific products but to a number of other things. This is not caused by defective or low quality apparel, it is usually caused by outside factors such as sunlight, perspiration, and humidity; even lotions and body fragrances. We also forgot to mention that if you spill your food on your shirt, oops but we are not talking about that kind of stain. This type of discoloration is more common in the summer months and especially so for people who work outside and in hotter and more humid areas of the country. I have seen it happen to office workers who live in hot and humid climates as well construction workers in dry heat. Some contributing factors are even the water in the area that it is washed in and the body chemistry, which can even be affected by the food you eat. It has the potential to happen to any color, brand or blend, but generally to darker or red based colors such as burgundy, blueberry and lilac. The general way to avoid this is to choose white or another un-dyed color such as ash or natural or use 100% polyester.
One of the best best you can have if you have concern or have experienced this type of staining is to buy a better t-shirt and anymore the go to option is an perfect moisture wicking t-shirt which in most cases will now have an anti-microbial (no more stink) element to it. These type of fabrics are available in many different styles.
This is the first in a series of articles relating to the history of the t-shirt in the United States. The first manufacturers, trends and how all that has led us to today’s modern tee.
The t-shirt as we know it first came to the USA during World War I. This was the result of US soldiers taking notice of the lightweight cotton undershirts European soldiers were wearing, while the US soldiers were sweating it out in wool uniforms. Mostly worn under a soldier’s uniform it did not take long until they became an external garment. Worn primarily by navy men for the first thirty years of the 20th century, they became standard issue for all military servicemen in World War II. T-shirts issued during the WWII were white, thus presenting a problem to the Marines who realized that the color made them an easy target. The Marines were not about to give up their t-shirts so they came up with a clever way to disguise them. The Marines used coffee grounds to dye their t-shirts in the battlefield, and were later issued sage-green shirts. Once the war was over they brought them home and the t-shirt was here to stay.
The t-shirts worn in the early 20th century (i.e. 1913-1938) were weighing in at around 1.5 – 2 ounces. Today’s t-shirts can weigh up to 6.1 ounces, but most will fall in around 5.5 ounces. Early champions of the t-shirt movement included Hanes T-Shirts, Fruit of the Loom and Sears Roebuck. Fruit of the Loom did not start to knit t-shirts until around 1938. These early versions were rather rough and uncomfortable compared to what we you can get today. In 1938 Sears introduced a t-shirt for 24 cents and were marketing this shirt as an outer garment or under shirt. The t-shirts produced by these companies were basically replicas of early military issued shirts and had a wider neck and shorter sleeve than today’s full cut shirt. They were also much tighter fitting and this style lasted into the sixties.
Around 1955 with celebrities, Marlon Brando, Elvis, and James Dean being seen in a t-shirt and jeans the youth of America started to scoop-up t-shirts. It was about this time that the t-shirt was no longer considered simply a navy t-shirt but a mainstream product and one that was selling fast. It was also around this time that the t-shirt style began to resemble what we know today. The neck of the shirt became tighter, next the overall length longer, but the shorter sleeve remained for a time. This can be attributed to the fact that the t-shirt was considered a man’s garment. Modern day t-shirts have no end to the number of styles available. You will find all different styles and cuts for men, women, children, and even infants. Blank t-shirts, screen printed, heat transferred, embroidered, airbrushed, tye-dyed, there truly is no end to what can be done with this amazing clothing item. From 500 million shirts sold in 1985 to well over a billion in 2005 the t-shirt is a big part of our world.
As many people know custom t-shirts are one of the most effective forms of advertising. If you are interested in getting shirts printed for your company choosing the right t-shirt is one of the most important steps. Hopefully through this article I will be able to help some you make an educated decision when it comes to getting shirts printed.
Choosing the wrong weight of shirt is a very common mistake.
The first mistake is selecting a shirt that is too heavy. If you are having shirts made for a lawn care company you would not want to use a heavy t-shirt like the Hanes Beefy-T 6.1 Oz. They would not breath as well as a lighter shirt and would be uncomfortable during the summer heat. Not to mention these garments would be more expensive than something lighter. If you were printing shirts to sell this would be a good choice. They are very high quality and that would show while on display.
The second weight related mistake is choosing a product that is to light. There is a brand name “AAA” that is made in China. These shirts can be bought for about $.40 a piece. But the old adage applies: “You get what you pay for.” If you are looking to print shirts to give away these shirts would be okay, but will not last longer than a few washes. If you are going to sell the shirts, I would strongly advise not using this brand. Other manufacturers make cheap t-shirts as well. For the sake of longevity you should not use anything with a weight less than 4 ounces.
Now on to color.
The color of shirt that you choose will effect the cost of printing. Light colors like ash, white or yellow should not effect the price. However dark colors like black, navy, forest et al. will increase the cost of printing. They are also more expensive than the lighter colors. These colors — especially black — are worth the extra cost. They will be your best sellers — people love black t-shirts. The printing on these shirts needs an undercoat. If this is not done the color of the shirt will peek through the printed ink. When estimating what you will pay for printing you must add the cost of one color to the cost of printing. Once in a while you will encounter a company that does not require the undercoat. This will save you money. Trust me, I can tell you from experience, it is not worth it.
Shirt Style Effects Price
One thing that will effect the cost of a shirt is the style. It should have no effect on the cost of printing. Unless you are interested in an unusual printing location like down the sleeve. The difference between short sleeves and long sleeves can increase the cost of a tee. While adding a pocket will add to the cost as well. Printing on the pocket is can be difficult and you would have a hard time finding a company that would do that for you.
Discounts for Volume
Unlike other apparel products t-shirts are a little more difficult to get volume discounts on. The price mark up that the distributor is making on the t-shirts can often be as low as 3%. So discounts on top of an already good price would be cutting into profits.
In conclusion choosing the right t-shirt for your printing job is not hard as long as you know what to look for. Don’t choose a shirt that is too heavy or to light. Select the correct color. Match your company colors, or colors that will complement your logo. Or if you are printing these shirts to be sold, you can never go wrong with black. Style is very important, as it will effect dramatically effect the cost of the shirt. Ask for volume discounts, but if you get a discount don’t expect to much.