What is the printing process that you use which makes these so custom?
OK let's get the technical stuff out of the way.....I use a process called dye sublimation:
Sublimation printing allows businesses to create customized and personalized full color products on demand.
Though the production technique is relatively simple, it's the chemical and heat process that separates sublimation from any other form of digital printing.
When sublimation inks are heated to 400°F, they turn into a gas and form a permanent bond to polyester fabric.
The result is a premium full-color, photographic-quality image that is permanent and will not crack, peel or wash away from the substrate. When the fabric cools the fibers close and permanently retain the brilliant color of the sublimation dye.
The garment is literally dyed with the artwork, so you will not feel the artwork at all.
Because I literally print each shirt one at a time, I have the ability to customize each shirt as well. ie "Captain", "crew" etc (I have a list of suggested titles I can send along. I can also print on sleeves.
All artwork can be full color hi-res images. The only downside to this is the process only works on light colored shirts (white is best) because the shirts are essentially being dyed with the artwork, therefore the artwork
would be lost in a dark shirt. There is no "white" ink (dye).
Why polyester and isn't polyester hot and sweaty and oh so 70's?:
This is not your leisure suit polyester! There are a bunch of different names for them, "tech shirts", "wicking shirts" "performance wear" "moisture management apparel" etc but basically these are athletic shirts and as we all know, no athlete would wear something hot and scratchy.
Athletic apparel today is usually 100% polyester or polyester and spandex, and the items are soft, cool, moisture wicking, comfortable and quick drying.
The sublimation process dyes the apparel so it allows the garment to retain it's wicking characteristics unlike a screen printed item which lays on top of the fabric and prevents it from breathing. Because of the tight weave of the material the artwork is super hi resolution and really pops off the shirt.
These shirts are the most popular choice for sailors as they are lightweight, quick drying and have an SPF rating of at least 40.
Why can't I get ALL cotton shirts?:
The dye sublimation ink will not bond with the natural fibers of cotton in the heat press and will actually ultimately wash out! Vapor apparel does alleviate this issue though with their Basic Line which are shirts that have the look and feel of cotton but are actually 100% man made material. We can also print very successfully on poly/cotton blends. See our Apparel Page for Gildan, Bella and Enza products.
What is the minimum I can order?
Well, technically one! You can order as many or as few as you would like. This is because each shirt and each side of the shirt and sleeve is printed individually.
We don't have any artwork or artistic ability whatsoever:
If you do supply images they should be at least 200 dpi and the size of the image as you would have it on the shirt. But if you have no idea what you would like we can work with you to create custom artwork for your crew. We have a wide variety of stock images as well. Please contact us directly for a quote, if you do use images already on file or if the design is relatively simple to create there is no extra charge for graphic design. We will just tailor the art to your group.
How much for extra colors?
There is no extra charge for color. I always encourage customers to take advantage of the full color capabilities of the process if they so desire.
What are the added costs for setup and layout?:
There are no set up or layout fees, all of this is included in the shirt cost.
How does the shirt sizing run?:
Each shirt manufacturer has been kind enough to create sizing charts for their products. I can email these to you at your request or you can see them on the Apparel Page
What is the typical turn around time?
We do not keep a huge stock of blank shirts on hand and therefore they are custom ordered for you. Once I know what style of shirts and all sizes I order the blank shirts from my supplier, this usually takes about 4 days delivery to get to me. Then I generally need approx 1-3 days to print them (depending on the order size, complexity of artwork placement. and customizing ) and then I ship to you. Usually 3-4 days shipping at most. So total turnaround time is about 2 weeks. This would be different in cases where international shipping is involved or an item is back ordered from the supplier.
How can I place and order, do you have a link or an order form on your website?:
Because each customer is so unique there is no standardized ordering form so emails and/or phone are the best communication.
Due to the nature of custom work, there will be a good amount of back and forth. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions and suggestions/ changes are welcome!
If you would like, I could work up a mockup for you to see what some of the options are. If you are stumped on artwork we have many ideas. A lot of folks like a sailboat pic on the back or jolly roger, or a map etc etc...then they customize with their wording (trip theme, memorable quote etc etc) But this is all completely customized to you so ask away!!!
Any and all comments, suggestions, questions etc are welcome.
cheers! Laura firstname.lastname@example.org