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Discussion Starter #1
Does anybody have any experience embellishing their shirts with applique letters and numbers? I've been thinking about using some applique and didn't know much about it. If anybody has any info, it would be great.
 

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Are you talking about a smaller version of the flex lettering used in sports numbering? The only applique I've ever done was on a vase, when i was 8.....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Felt. I've done a little bit of research about it. A sticky back side that is applied with a heat press. I know you can get letters and numbers from lots of places, I just wanted to know how well it holds up to washing and wear. Also, how easy it is to apply.
 

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Eek, totally out of my knowledge then.

If they're not too expensive, maybe just send a shirt of your own through the washer on the hottest wash a few dozen times and see what happens? That's how I test new screenprint inks.

It's pretty niche, and I'm not sure anyone here will have experience....I'll probably be wrong, of course. People here seem to know everything. :)
 

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There are a few types of material that can be used for applique letters. The most popular being twill material. Twill material traditionally comes in 3 types: PolyTwill, PermaTwill & Pressure Sensitive Twill. The difference in these types is merely the type of adhesive used to put the twill onto your garment. Polytwill has a temporary, heat activated adhesive. For instance, if I had a design out of PolyTwill I would need to heat press the twill to the shirt in order to temporarily hold it in place. After in tacked down this needs to be sewn to the shirt for permanent adhesion. PermaTwill is heat pressed as well, however it has a permanent adhesive so no sewing is required. Pressure Sensitive Twill has a sticky backing so that after you cut out your design you can simply stick it to the shirt (no heat required) and then sew it down for permanent adhesion. Pressure Sensitive Twill is also mounted onto a mylar carrier sheet similar to cadcut films. This makes the material stiff so that you can feed it through a roll cutter that is designed to cut twill (very few cutters like this). Perma & Poly twill must be cut on a flat bed cutter or a laser cutter unless you mount them to heat resistant mask, then they will feed through the roll cutter. Whew!!! Sorry so long!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah, Josh, thanks. How much experience have you had using applique? I'm really interested in trying some felt. Do you have any experience with felt?

Please don't apologize for being long(you should see some of my posts!) as long as you're helping, it's fine with me!

Anymore helps, or tips you have would be great.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks again, Josh. After doing some more research I think the look that I'm going for is kind of like the effect you would get from flock printing. I don't know much about that either, so Josh if you could offer your expertise again it would be appreciated. What is the difference between flock and applique? They seem to be applied in much the same way, and they kind of look the same(if you're using felt applique), so what is the difference in them, and what are the advantages, and disadvantages to using each?
Thanks.
 

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The first thing to keep in mind is that there are two types of felt -- Wool Felt and Acrylic felt.
Wool felt is a product that you would traditionally think of when you think of felt. When on the garment it leaves a thicker, vintage look.
Acrylic felt is a fairly newer product to the market and was design to be thinner and less expensive than wool felt. Both felts need to be cut with a flatbed knife cutter or by hand. Laser cutters will not work for felt due to risks of fire. Also both need to be tacked down with a heat press for temporary adhesion and then sewn to the garment. This is where flock comes into play. Flock is a cadcuttable material that is mounted on a mylar carrier. Flock can be cut by pretty much any cutter on the market. To cut flock accurately with a cutter you will need to have somewhere around 56 or 60 degree blade. The nice thing about flock is that after you cut your design, you can just heat press it for permanent adhesion to the garment. All in all I think Wool Felt gives you the most vintage & authentic look, but it is expensive and requires more equipment/knowledge/money to use. Acrylic Felt is a nice alternative to wool felt if you want to sew to garment and have a stitched look. Flock is the easiest point of entry and gives you a look and feel comparable to acrylic felt without having to be sewn to garment.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks again Josh. Great info! It sounds like flock may be the way to go for me then.
I'm assuming that I can get flock in a variety of colors? How durable is flock and will it adhere to different types of material(all cotton, cotton/poly). I'm wanting to use in on cotton/poly sweatshirts and 100% cotton t-shirts.
 

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Flock does come in lots of colors. Different colors from different suppliers. I would suggest getting color swatches from various suppliers so you know your options. Flock from most suppliers that I've talked to -- is guaranteed to outlast the life of the garment once applied. It can be applied to cottons, Polyesters & Cotton/Poly blends. Just make sure to check with the supplier you order from, the durability & applicable fabrics since this may change from one brand to the next.
 

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Josh,

Question. If I want to use my own material, what is it that I need to place on the back of it to make my applique letters? I know the poly twill has a backing when purchased, do I need to have the same thing?
 

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EMBDenton,

I use old 13X18 Inkjet film for my materials that dont have a backing.

Just use spray adhesive like contact cement {Spray both pieces, and let them tack up, then stick them together}

This method works very well. I have used it for twill, felt, etc.

Just my DIY solution!

Cheers
 

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Flock does come in lots of colors. Different colors from different suppliers. I would suggest getting color swatches from various suppliers so you know your options. Flock from most suppliers that I've talked to -- is guaranteed to outlast the life of the garment once applied. It can be applied to cottons, Polyesters & Cotton/Poly blends. Just make sure to check with the supplier you order from, the durability & applicable fabrics since this may change from one brand to the next.
Josh who sell Flock? Thanks in advance.
 
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