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Discussion Starter #1
This is my first post (besides the intro). I would like to achieve the softest feel possible in the form of the print. Came to a conclusion that plastistol is probably not for me then. Read many posts here on dye sublimation and it sounds like it's the closest to what I want (correct me if I am wrong). Also possibly the water based inks but that's a different category in the forum.

Here's my question re: dye sublimation. I understand that it only works with light colored shirts and must be used with man made materials (polyester, nylon etc). I have two A&F shirts that have great prints on them - light, blended in with the fabric, you can hardly tell it's a print, looks and feels as if it's the pattern of the fabric. I came to a conclusion these are made using dye sublimation. The thing that throws me off is that one the shirts is dark brown (which makes sense if it is dye sub.) BUT the other one is very light grey. Now I am not sure what kind of a print it is. Could someone tell me what is it? Is there another printing process I don't know about? Also can you guys tell me how to insert a pic in the thread, I have some images of these shirts and thought it might be helpful if you could see what I am talking about.
Thank you very much.
 

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Re: A little confused

You are correct that the dye sublimation process will provide the softest "hand" or feel. Actually, you will feel nothing! There is nothing, except the dyes, transfered to the shirt.

You are also correct with the fact that you cannot dye dark fabrics. We can dye the fabrics darker, but not lighter. Yes, you can use dyesub on colored shirts, but only with darker colors. We print a bunch of the lime green "safety" shirts each year with black images only. We recently printed an order of red poly shirts with black text and logos. I, personally was not too impressed, but the customer was...and that is what count$.

It would be helpful if you could post a picture of the shirts in question.
 

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Re: A little confused

Sublimation printing is great if you dont like dark fabric and want to purchase 65-35 blanks. It is better suited for mugs and whatever that are polimer coated. There are so many more printing possibilities other than sub for all kinds of shirts.....and substrates....why limit yourself?
 

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Re: A little confused

The ironall/miracool paper is really soft. Try that before resorting to dye sub, as it is much cheaper. If that doesnt do it for you, then yea...dye sub you will not feel anything just fabric. Dye sub will end up costing you like $5-6 per shirt, as apposed to digital heat transfer which costs about $2.50 per shirt.
 

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Re: A little confused

Hello and welcome!

With dye sublimation the design is permanently dyed into the fabric - it's not detectable by touch and will never crack or fade. You will also have the advantage of photo quality full-colour prints.

I doubt your dark brown t-shirt was sublimated (unless all colours of the design are even darker than the shirt itself). Light grey colour t-shirts usually sublimate nicely. If you want to PM me you pictures I might have a better idea.

You are right about man-made fabrics - a garment for sublimation should be at least 65% polyester for good results. There are new types of polyester t-shirts on the market that feel exactly like cotton – see www.dyesub.org for info and links to Vapor Apparel.

There are topical treatments available for fabrics with < 65% polyester content to make them "sublimation-friendly", but I personally don't like the result - after several washes the design will look a bit faded. Good for promo T’s though.
There is also special fabric that helps to sublimate onto cotton, 50/50 or dark colours. It comes in sheets with paper backing and placed between the garment and transfer paper - when heat-pressed it will permanently adhere to the garment creating soft-feel “patch” with your design.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Re: A little confused

Hi folks,

thank you for the replies. I just realized I posted my question wrong, I should've said "my dark brown shirt was the big surprise..." but you understood me anyways :) Also I forgot to mention that both shirts are 100% cotton!

So the bottom line is that this is not dyesub and the question still remains - what is it and how did they achieve it. I'm just thinking out loud - Abercrombie is a big guy in the apparel industry and probably has resources in Asia and/or Middle East with technologies not available to smaller print shopts here in US. A&F has the ways and means to achieve the softest-hand feel on its pieces regardless of their color of fabric. Does this make sense and do you think this is the case?

D.Evo. thanks for the
There is also special fabric that helps to sublimate onto cotton, 50/50 or dark colours. It comes in sheets with paper backing and placed between the garment and transfer paper - when heat-pressed it will permanently adhere to the garment creating soft-feel “patch” with your design
I will look it up.

jdr8271 thank you also. I will look into it.
The ironall/miracool paper is really soft. Try that before resorting to dye sub, as it is much cheaper. If that doesnt do it for you, then yea...dye sub you will not feel anything just fabric. Dye sub will end up costing you like $5-6 per shirt, as apposed to digital heat transfer which costs about $2.50 per shirt.
 

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Re: A little confused

I was curious about something. I read you post D.Evo and you said that the dye-sub works well on the 65% poly. I was under the impresion that the quality was poor at best. It was sugested I use only a 50-50 blend where the outer most portion of the shirt was polyester and the inner was cotton. But, what I hear you say it that you can sublimate on the 65% poly and still have a nice product. Did I understand you corretly?

Jeff R
J Janes Designs
 

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Re: A little confused

soft-hand multi-color plastisol transfer feel soft as if there is nothing there. :confused:

places like Impulse and Airwaves make them too.
 

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Re: A little confused

The dark brown t-shirt could have been printed with water based inks or maybe even printed with a direct to garment printer.

If it was mass produced, it's possible that the design might have been dyed right into the fabric before it was sewed?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
HI guys,

Lucy you are saying that there are plastistol transfers that have almost that same soft feel as dyesubs? I have been to a few local shops in my area and all of them use plastistol only and they all feel pretty harsh to touch. I am trying to find Impulse and Airwave online but can't find their sites. If Rodney doesn't mind can I have their website addresses - either over a post or maybe you can PM me. Thank you :)

Rodney you were asking:
If it was mass produced, it's possible that the design might have been dyed right into the fabric before it was sewed?
I thought about that but it's not the case. I checked, right where the shirt collar is you can see the paint break so it was definitely applied after it was assembled. Parts of the letter actualy came out on the inside of the back of the shirt, the pics will explain it better than me :)


I am going to attach some pics of it, hope it works. Let me know if you can tell more by them. The Armani one has just a slight feel of the paint to it and that one I can't tell much about - it could've been dyed into the fabric before it was put together as Rodney mentioned. But it still is incredibly soft.

Thank you all very much :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks Jon.

The water based inks - are they known for their durability? I have had the A&F shirts for almost a year now, and I've been wearing these a lot. I can't even imagine the amount of times they've been washed. The prints have remained the same, not even a sign of wear-tear-chipping or anything. The quality (to me) is great. So given this fact - do you still think it's water based screen printed? Are these kind of clothes known to last long?

Thanks
 

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Re: A little confused

JJanesdesign said:
I was curious about something. I read you post D.Evo and you said that the dye-sub works well on the 65% poly. I was under the impresion that the quality was poor at best. It was sugested I use only a 50-50 blend where the outer most portion of the shirt was polyester and the inner was cotton. But, what I hear you say it that you can sublimate on the 65% poly and still have a nice product. Did I understand you corretly?

Jeff R
J Janes Designs
Depending on your purpose, I suppose. I have printed on 65% poly promotional shirts with very reasonable results and clients were happy. In some cases I was increasing colour density by 30% (more ink). I must admit, I don't know if the product would look any different after numerous washes.
As David said, the higher polyester content - the better. I personally prefer to use 100% poly t-shirts (Vapor Apparel).
 

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Discussion Starter #16
jdr8271 said:
Yea, they will last forever basicly. Screen printing, if done proberly will last longer than the garment. Waterbased ink just has a softer feel, almost like the ink is part of the fabric.
YOu just made my night :) Thanks my friend. I really hope this is the answer, than all I'd need is to find a good contractor to print my shirts.
 

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Annushka said:
I really hope this is the answer, than all I'd need is to find a good contractor to print my shirts.
I'd agree with Jon about both the durability, and the probability that that's what they used to print those particular shirts.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks Lewis,

I am glad to hear that! I just posted a help-wanted ad on screenprinters.net. Let's see how that goes :)

Months ago I bought some Jaquard textile paints from our local art store, some stencils and was playing around with my shirts at home. I couldn't continue because I couldn't find anyone to make custom stencils for me :). Than I started reading about different kinds of techniques and paints etc and thought that water based was probably "amateur" and wouldn't result in a product fit for sale to consumers. It looks like I am back to them after all. I am glad my instincts were right :)
 

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They do have their drawbacks (the biggest aesthetic drawback being that they're not as opaque - which could be an advantage for some designs), but if done properly they're perfectly professional.

You can actually print a professional quality t-shirt at home with waterbased inks, but curing with a home iron is a massive pain for any kind of quantity (and still a pain even for one offs).
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I can imagine Lewis. I didn't do awful too many myself, but got the overall picture of the at-home-with-iron process after just a few. I just posted a question under my other thread trying to find out what it would take me to do these on my own on a more professional level. In the meantime I'll be browsing the forum to put some pieaces together in my head on this.

Thanks again
 
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