T-Shirt Printing Blog

T-Shirt Printing information, news and advise from Shirtworks.

The latest garments to reach us for printing and embroidery of promotion items, sportswear, club gear and corporate clothing

Andy Timmins

Shirtworks roadtest for new Stanley Stella products for 2016.

Shirtworks roadtest for new Stanley Stella products for 2016.

What has a seminal 1947 Tennesee Williams play about complex human interactions and a study of masculinity have in common with a 21st century clothing brand?

Well..............we have no idea!

Stanley & Stella (S&S) are two of the main characters in 'A Streetcar named Desire' and also the name of an ethical clothing brand which has positioned itself as a fashion white label product for anyone wanting to create a product driven as well as brand driven clothing brand of their own.

The garment decoration business has long been supplying basic t shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies etc.... for screenprinting or embroidery but in the last 3 years there have been interesting 'fashion' orientated products coming into the market.

These products have been constructed using alternative weave and dying processes to create fashion textures that have been appearing on the high street recently.

S&S also use organic cotton and their products are Fair Wear accredited. This can be an important message for your own brand and can add value, credibility and brand equity.

8 different sustainable fabrics

5 innovative dyeing techniques

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Arron Harnden

Does a T shirt printing/embroidery company really need a customer service element?

google search query

Does a T shirt printing/embroidery company really need a customer service element?

 

So....you did your Google search for T shirt printing companies and Google decided to present you with page 1 of your search results with 3 companies that had paid for positioning then one or two national companies and then the local options.

Google tries to be clever with its algorithms that determine how good a company is and whether it deserves ranking but it is not as clever as it would like to be and its technology has its limitations. It uses over 200 assessment criteria in its calculations and some human input but it is a flawed model.

All Google can see is a website and there is a whole lot of the business that it cannot see. Almost all of it in fact.

It is assessing a business in the way that you might look at a book cover and then decide without opening the book whether or not the contents are any good , worth reading and then worth recommending. It is flawed and often unfair.

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Arron Harnden

The Polo Shirt

What is the polo shirt all about

We at Shirtworks like to think of it as the ‘hybrid’, located somewhere in no-mans land between the T shirt and the formal shirt.

The basic concept is simple but the subtle varieties available in this product are worthy of some spotlight.

The polo shirt is something of a misnomer and its genesis can actually be attributed to tennis.

In the early 20th century, Rene Lacoste (pictured below) decided that he could not play his best tennis whilst wearing the traditional long sleeve shirt and tie. He set about designing and then wearing his own Jersey Petite Pique. The garment he wore in the 1926 US open championship is the model that all polo shirts hail from. Rene’s Chemise Lacoste company was formed in 1933 and began marketing and selling these garments in Europe and North America with the famous crocodile logo.

Rene lacoste wearing a polo shirt

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Arron Harnden

The journey of the T shirt through popular culture

Last century, in 1990 I saw a film.
I was 18 yrs of age, still impressionable, still trying to figure out who I was and what my outward identity would communicate.
An image in that film caught my eye.
It was a v neck t shirt.
Not just any v neck T shirt, it was a garment draped over the languidly cool frame of the actor Matt Dillon who was playing the lead character, James Fogle, in Gus Van Sants film about a drug addict turned robber to fund his drug habit.
A poor choice for me as a life and fashion role model but I was 18 and I was a young fool who, all of a sudden, wanted a plain white v neck t shirt. An impossible thing to buy on the high street in the UK in 1990.This unattainability made it all the more desirable to me.
image002matt 04
Source//googleimages
Everyday powerful images stream into our subconscious from the numerous screens that coexist with or current 21th century routines and

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Arron Harnden

The geographical and economic journey of your T-shirt.

Take a look in your wardrobe or chest of drawers. It is a statistical certainty that you own a T shirt.

What other product do you know of that almost everybody in the world owns?

The incredible journey that your T shirt has taken will surprise most of you. The human effort and energy expenditure invested in your T shirt and the small amount of money you have paid for that garment will surprise you.

The story about to unfold is a summary of a typical journey . We cannot possibly tell you all of them as not all journeys are the same but what is the same is the fact that the T shirt is a truly global, cosmopolitan traveller with thousands of miles in its passport and numerous personalities involved in its short life before it finds it home with you.

Your T shirt started life as a seed. If you are reading this in the UK, it is likely to have began its journey in

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Andy Timmins

The 10 Coolest T-Shirt Designs We've Seen in 2015

 

2015 is nowhere near finished, and we’ve already come across some of the best T-shirt designs we’ve seen in years. Whether you’re hitting a beach overseas, or staying at home to soak up the best of the British sunshine, you’re going to look fantastic in one of these T-shirts.

The Stussy Collage Tie-Dye

Stussy Tie DyeThis isn’t your 60s tie-dye, peace symbol T-shirt. These are all over tie-dye prints, splashed with edgy messaging, images of the fashion icon you want to be, and a lot of urban cool.

Colourways come in blue, purple, and red, while the shirt itself comes in a regular fit from size S to XXL.

The Oldhead Biker Logo T

Oldhead has hardly kept their love of all things snowboarding, skating and surfing a secret, so how wonderful to see their ‘Never Stop Riding’ logo below a motorbike with wings.

In keeping with the look of every classic biker tee ever made, this 100% cotton tee comes in simple black. The bike brown logo’s stands out in minimal but effective tan design, making this a t-shirt destined for a few appreciative glances this summer.

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Arron Harnden

What's the difference between Fairtrade and Fair Wear Garments?

People often ask us this question and wonder if Fairtrade and Fair Wear are essentially the same. It’s certainly true that both are aiming to achieve the same objective of ensuring that the people who produce the goods we use every day are treated fairly for their work. There are, however, differences in the approaches used and the different parts of the supply chain who are benefiting.

fairtrade-foundation-logo

 

The focus of the Fairtrade Foundation is ensuring small producers receive an acceptable deal for their products when selling to large corporations. Concerned with a wide range of sectors (e.g. coffee, bananas, cocoa, cotton), the intention is to target and alleviate poverty affecting those at the bottom of the supply chain in developing countries.

cotton pickers

 

fairwear logo

Aiming to create better and fairer working conditions for manufacturing workers in the garment industry, Fair Wear Foundation pays particular attention to brand accountability at the middle and higher end of the supply chain, looking to ensure brands take responsibility for the surroundings in which their products are produced. Membership involves agreement to a set of ‘labour standards’ which are as follows:

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Andy Timmins

Marketing Your Small Business: Key Advice

 

small-business-marketingSomewhere in the midst of simply surviving your business needs to move from being a start-up to a grown up. You probably already know that the vehicle that can take your small business to the next level is marketing, but with so much information out there, where do you begin?

The answers are surprisingly simple, so let’s begin at the beginning.

Define Your Target Customer

The first step in growing your small business is to stop asking what your business and customers can do for you and ask what you can do for them. To do this, you’ll need to define your target customer as clearly as possible, and this means moving beyond mere market segments and demographics and niching down as much as you can.

As uncomfortable as this discipline may seem at first, a clear and decisive picture of your customer will allow you target all of your efforts toward them. Trying to please everybody will leave you ragged and your customers unhappy.

Design with Your Customer in Mind

We’re not talking about your products at this stage, although you may find that they shape themselves to be more attractive to your target customers over time. What we’re talking about is your brand. You may have to change your logo, brand colours, and even name to go after the customers you want.

Everything from logo font and colours, web design, and the way you present yourself counts at this stage. After all, there’s no point wearing a conservative business suit if you’re selling products to aspiring circus performers.

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Andy Timmins

Blog Post - Company Uniforms: Matching Quality For Cost

 

uniformProfessionalism counts for a lot. A simple uniform can transform a workplace, establishing brand, reinforcing unity and tying your team together visually. The whole appearance of your getup will be slicker and more professional, without having to compromise on the relaxed atmosphere or feel-good-vibe particular to your business.

All off the back of a few polo shirts or printed v-necks! Let’s look at this a little more.

Benefits of company uniforms

Company uniforms encourage customers to approach your staff. A uniform instantly identifies someone as an employee, making it easier and more automatic for potential customers to ask queries or request orders.

Your staff will feel more professional when in uniform. It can help them to differentiate between personal and work time, enabling them to get in the zone faster and work more efficiently on the shop floor or at their desk.

Uniforms look great! Lift your company to the next level with a couple of quality tees. Show your customers you care about your image and your brand.

Matching quality for cost

Your biggest concern is probably cost. You might be worried about breaking the bank over something that doesn’t seem to matter very much. A quality uniform does matter!

And you don’t need to worry about cost.

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Andy Timmins

Where Do Your Clothes Come From?

b2ap3_thumbnail_shirtworks---ethical.pngLets begin with a little experiment: go to your wardrobe now, grab a few items at random and note down the countries mentioned on the label. Unless you’re heavily into custom-crafted suits made from Harris Tweed, my bet is that you’ll find a majority of labels citing the following destinations as their place of manufacture.

China

Nowadays China is the undisputed titan of clothing manufacture, leading the world with exports worth $154 billion US. This is a dramatic transformation from the nation’s position in 1980, when it stood in 8th place in the global apparel export charts with a trade worth only $42 billion US (as corrected for inflation).

China’s supremacy is driven by a large labour force whose skills power mega-factories to seemingly ever greater heights of productivity.

But industry experts suspect that China has all but reached peak clothing production. Per-unit costs are rising as the underlying standard of living improves, and in its vastness China presents a logistical challenge for distribution. Predictions are that large clothing companies will soon be sourcing their garments elsewhere.

Hong Kong

Tailors in Hong Kong have long held semi-mythical status for their ability to run up couture garments with a ready-to-wear price tag. No wonder that the country’s manufacturing base has remained dominant since 1980. Hong Kong only ceded first place in the export league table to China in 1995, and more recently its market share was calculated at an impressive $24.5 billion.

Even though it is now administratively part of China, Hong Kong holds its own in the garment industry. As China’s production advantages lessen, Hong Kong’s manufacturers will no doubt still be doing what they’ve always done: providing high quality clothing at a reasonable cost and with a short turnaround time. 

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Arron Harnden

How to Brilliantly Clean Dirty Sports Kit

The joys of football and rugby season don’t tend to extend to the washing. Between the blood, mud, and grass stains, you’ll want to get the job done quickly so you can get on with better things. Don’t fret, as there are some easy tips for making that sports kit brilliantly clean. Pull on those rubber gloves and let’s get started.

b2ap3_thumbnail_clothes-line.pngKnow Your Fabric

A polyester mesh is the standard fabric for football shirts, while rugby kit may be made in polyester or polyester with a Lycra blend. The good news is that the average sports kit is made for its durability and is usually easier to look after than cotton.

Pre-Soak Straight Away

As soon as you can, get that uniform soaking. If you have a heavy-duty laundry sink, run the tap and rinse as much mud off as possible. If not, hang your kit on the clothesline and rinse it with a hose. The next step is to fill a bucket with warm water, add one cap of laundry detergent and a cup of baking soda, and leave your kit to sit for an hour or more.

How Hard Is Your Water?

This is something most people don’t think about when it comes to washing their kit but it makes all the difference. Soft water makes it easy to remove ground-in stains while the minerals found in hard water means you’ll need a bit of help. Invest in some water conditioner, and add this to your pre-soak bucket to help your detergent along.

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Andy Timmins

5 Creative Things To Do With Old Clothes

b2ap3_thumbnail_Screen-Shot-2015-02-09-at-13.55.38.png

Innovations For Your Old Clothes 

I'm sure many of us are guilty of simply throwing away our old clothes that we never wear anymore. However by thinking creatively we can make those disused items last much longer and create a meaningful use for them!

We compiled a list of our favourite innovative ideas, some of which you may want to try yourself.

Apron

Using old clothes to make an apron is a really good idea, as it saves you from getting your current clothes dirty and therefore another load of washing. They can also be completely unique to your taste and style. The process of creating them is also very easy and enjoyable.

If you want advice and tips on how to make these, click here.

Bags 

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Andy Timmins

Five Of The Best Ethical Fashion Websites

Here at Shirtworks we take our ethical code of conduct very seriously. We also know that our customers take their purchasing habits seriously, so we've put together a helpful short-list of five of the best ethical fashion websites.

1. Ms Wanda's

ms wandasThe tagline on Ms Wanda's site is 'looking good on the outside, feeling good on the inside,' and really that perfectly summarises how sustainable, ethical clothing should be. The successful 'Uber Blog' brings together a range of likeminded writers that all aim to change the world one article at a time.

Funded through advertising, voluntary donations and the sale of ethical clothing, they aim to 'clean up fashion' by raising awareness, and not just about the ethical options available but also by highlighting the damage that current fashion programmes can cause with examples such as the Bangladeshi factory collapse.

2. Style With Heart

style with heartStyle With Heart was founded by Gillian Osrin, a remarkable woman with 20 years fashion industry experience and an interesting philosophy. She says, 'it saddens me that the word 'fashion' often implies products that have a sell-by-date, designed to satisfy the latest impulses of a society that often values quantity over quality.'

The aim of Style With Heart is to bring together a selection of stunningly made clothes, jewellery and accessories that make you look and feel beautiful. However it is more than an e-commerce website, Style With Heart also offers interesting events, special offers and advice on sustainable living for anybody that's interested in ethical fashion.

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Andy Timmins

Digital Printing: The Impact of Technology on Garment Printers

digital-print-exampleHow Digital Printing Has Revolutionised Our Industry

Major advancements in technology impact every industry on the planet, and the garment printing industry is no exception to this. Fortunately, developments in printing technologies has positively benefited our trade and allowed us to provide even better results for clients on a grander scale. At the heart of these changes is the rise of the Digital Printing technique, and this article looks at what this means for the printing industry and the services that can now be provided as a result.

Traditional Garment Printing

Two of the more traditional printing techniques are Screen Printing and Vinyl Cut Printing. Screen Printing is the most popular method, and many of the printed garments that you will see people wearing in the street will have been created using this technique. Screen Printing involves creating a stencil and using it to apply different layers of ink, to the surface of the garment. Due to the time that it takes to set up a print run, Screen Printing is not usually appropriate for small orders, but is perfect for the mass production of detailed printed garments.

Vinyl Cut Printing is different in that a plotter cuts out letters or numbers and these are then applied to the garment using heat transfer. This technique is useful for sports teams who want individual names and numbers, but isn’t appropriate for larger scale orders.

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Arron Harnden

The White T-Shirt

Nice article on the classic white T-shirt that will make you more attractive!

If you want to up your chances of attracting beautiful women, you'll need to splash out on some expensive designer clobber. At least that's what most of us believe.

Alternatively, you could splash out on a plain white T-shirt with a letter T on it.

And apparently, you might be better off with the T-shirt. According to a new study, wearing such an item of sartorial elegance can increase a man's attractiveness by an impressive 12%.

Here's the T-shirt's secret and several more super-simple ways to present an altogether more appealing image to women.

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Arron Harnden

15 Awesome Sheldon Cooper T-Shirts

We at Shirtworks are huge fans of The Big Bang Theory so we have put together this collection of our favourite Sheldon Cooper t-shirts. Underneath each Sheldon picture there is information about which episodes he wore the t-shirt in. Please let us know which one you like best by leaving a comment or posting on Facebook or Twitter.

 

1. Flash Athletic Shirt

 

Info: As worn by Sheldon in Season 1, Episode 8 (The Grasshopper Experiment), Season 2, Episode 19 (The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition), Season 4, Episode 21 (The Agreement Dissection), and Season 5, Episodes 1 (The Skank Reflex Analysis), 5 (The Russian Rocket Reaction) and 12 (The Recombination Hypothesis)

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Arron Harnden

Summer 'sizzlin' T shirt printing and embroidery products

There is a rumor that England did once experience a great summer. I have the vaguest memory of the tarmac melting on the road outside my house when I was about 6 yrs old, since then I am pretty sure I have spent most of the following 35 yrs in a sort of grey 'half light'.

Ever the optimist however, I am planning my summer wardrobe overhaul.

Here are some of my suggestions for some 'summer cool' clobber.

Lightweight summer sweatshirts

Sweatshirts have made a comeback on the high street and there are now some highly desirable 'fashionable styles to chose from the AWD range.

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Arron Harnden

The power of branded clothing.....

You work in the Marketing department or you run a small business.

In the current economic climate you are experiencing a squeeze on your advertising budget. You know that you simply cannot cease all marketing activity but you need to make sure you get the biggest 'bang for you buck'.

It is not easy. You know that print media is in it's 'death throws', you know that the audience is sourcing its information online, you know that the average person is exposed to more than 3000 commercial messages in a typical week and is totally 'zoning out' where standard visual advertising is concerned. Digital advertising represents one part of the future of where your advertising budget will be spent as the 'real world' slowly disappears in favor of the virtual.But hold your horses, cool your jets and realise the power of branded clothing in the 'real world'!

There are at least three ways your company can use branded clothing.

1 Uniform for your staff

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Arron Harnden

Not all T-Shirts are equal

In today's highly competitive world of T-Shirt printing everyone wants to get the cheapest possible product but are you getting the best value for money? Often a customer will see the weight of a t-shirt and think that they are getting the best t-shirt because it heavier than the more expensive one. WRONGWeight isn't everything. Cheaper promotional t-shirts tend to be made from carded cotton which is a mixture of ragged fibers that are shorter and thicker than combed or ring spun cotton. This produces a t-shirt with a looser knit and is courser to touch than ring spun cotton. Combed or ring spun cotton takes out the weak fibres, but means that to get the same weight in cotton as carded you need to use more cotton as the weaker cotton is discarded. This process also is more time consuming and is the reason why you expect to pay a little more.The quality of the cotton can also have a massive effect on the quality of the print or embroidery that goes onto the shirt, especially with detailed prints. When we screen print your designs we print onto the surface of the shirt so the smoother the surface is the better detail we can get onto the shirt. You wouldn't paint wood without first sanding it down, well using a ringspun or combed cotton t-shirt is like having the wood sanded instead of painting directly onto unto unprepared surface. No where is this more apparent than digital printing. The quality of the shirt will be the difference between a great looking print and a dull one. The other process in the making of the t-shirt that effects quality is how the garment is dyed. Cheaper T-Shirts tend to be sulphur dyed which produces less vibrant colours and tends not to be as colourfast, whereas more expensive shirt will be reactive dyed which gives great vibrancy colourfastness.There are some exceptional value for money T-Shirt out there and if you stick to the main brands then you shouldn't be disappointed with your choice, but quite often it is worth spending that little bit extra to get a t-shirt that your customers want to keep on wearing and keep on showing off your brand.Bella Canvas have compared their cotton under the microscope in this diagram and it shows that sometimes it's worth paying that little bit more. Image Source

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Andy Timmins

10 Spectacularly Misspelled T-Shirts

.. or should that be 10 Spectacularly Misspelt T-Shirts? Happily, we've double-checked and both those words are correct. If only someone had double-checked these t-shirts before they went to print. Or, in some cases, before someone took them off a hangar, put them on and wore them out in public¦

1. Shakespearean

What do you do when you're a high street retailer and you've just made an almighty spelling mistake on a huge batch of t-shirts? Especially when that mistake is the spelling of The Bard's name? That was the dilemma faced by Top shop bosses when the t-shirt on the left went on sale. The solution? Chop off the mistake and put them on sale again (see the garment on the right.) Good job cropped tees were in that season.

2. Foward

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Arron Harnden
Great Collection, I'm sure there are many more out there!
Saturday, 09 February 2013 21:47
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