Great quality is achieved by choosing the best fabric and method of printing. It may sound simple but customising and printing T-shirts is a complicated process. Therefore, we’ve provided a guide that covers everything you need to know about how to check good quality T-shirts before and after ordering.
Highlights on how to check printed T-shirts quality:
- The lifespan of different fabrics.
- The durability of printed designs key facts.
- Common mishaps with colour vibrance and saturation.
- What to look for the best image sharpness and resolution.
- Pay attention to finishing and details on garments.
- Breathability is a good thing.
- A basic rendition on the most common fabrics, printing techniques and how to use them for best results
What if we asked you, which is your favourite T-shirt? Certainly, there’s one in your wardrobe or perhaps two or three. We all want our favourite T-shirt to last forever but, depending on how it was made, your relationship with it could only survive up till the honeymoon phase.
There are many ways outside retailers use printing techniques to keep your apparel’s life span below average; leaving you with poorly constructed garments and causing design cracking, peeling and decolourising.
Before the garment selection process, be aware that natural fibres tend to age better than synthetic ones. When you have a T-shirt made out of polyblends it may look distorted after a while because each fabric within it has a different expiration date. We recommend businesses to go with 100% cotton garments in order to achieve quality and long term durability.
But what about the shirt’s most handsome part? The most important factor is the artwork. Imagine if DaVinci painted the Mona Lisa on the same beautiful wooden canvas but used acrylic paint instead of oil. Do you think the French would be happy right now?
So this is what this post is all about; it’s a cheat sheet for checking the quality of customised clothing either to constate the quality of the garment itself or the quality of the printed method — a.k.a the customisation technique — used.
How to check high-quality custom printed T-shirts
Keep this guide handy because you’ll need it after receiving your production samples as well when you unpack your order. In the end, it is better you know what to look out for in your customised T-shirts and garments before it is too late. You want customers and stakeholders to be impressed, not poorly dressed.[find-more]Interested in printing high-quality T-shirts and apparel? Prinstome manages printing orders of any size among a variety of printing techniques. We are experts in bulk printing for businesses and events. No matter if you are needing a batch of 25 items or bulk production of thousands of customised garments; we have you covered! Visit our website to find out more.[/find-more]
Before you start: know the basics of T-shirt and apparel printing customisation
The most important variables that affect the quality and durability of a customised garment are:
- The fabrics used in apparel construction.
- How the specific printing and customisation method has been applied.
- Which garment and production fit best for your printing needs.
Consider the fabric used – What is the best quality T-shirt material?
Prints look better on cotton-based garments. Also, they age better than synthetic ones. That’s why the items made of blended materials lose their shape and quality faster since each of their components has different expiration dates. But cotton doesn’t necessarily guarantee exceptional quality.
You should know that not all kinds of cotton are created equal. Here is a simple breakdown. Longer length fibres, as well as tighter woven fibres, produce longer-lasting apparel. True quality is associated with the density and softness of the material, not its weight or thickness. So trust a cotton fabric that is soft and firm at the same time as opposed to a heavy and thick one.
Although, synthetic fibres can also be of good quality. Natural textiles exist in both good and bad forms and the same can be said for synthetic.
Synthetic fabrics like polyester have a bad reputation but they’re not inherently bad. They have their place in the fashion industry and are recognized for having superior elasticity, impermeability, breathability, etc.
Take into account the printing or customisation technique
Like a good chef knows his or her ingredients, a good printer knows their techniques.
It’s an easy process to convert artwork into vector designs and apply them to a screen for the printing phase. With screen printing, real quality comes from a proper curing process where the design is sealed into the fibres allowing the ink to stretch with the fabric instead of cracking.
As a reference; under-cured ink will tend to stick to itself and peel or fall off entirely in the wash, whereas over-cured ink will most likely crack.
Direct to Garment Printing
It allows printers to work with many colours and complex designs in a cost-effective and highly detailed manner for their customers. The key to this digital printing technique resides in how high-end the machinery is and the proper selection of garments beforehand.
When using darker coloured fabrics, we advise applying pre-coated layers in order to fixate the colours securely.
Also, DTG is the most sustainable printing technique available.
Transfer printing takes special paper cut-outs, screen or digitally printed sheets, pre-existing designs or colour dyes and transfers (adheres) the image or artwork onto the apparel item.
Don’t be fooled. Cheap materials or an incorrect bonding to the garment can result in worthless products after 1 or 2 uses.
With embroidery — most commonly used when customising fleece materials, polo shirts and jackets — it’s all about the needle and pacing. Whether you’re embroidering a hat or a shirt, the best quality finish doesn’t make holes or create “fuzzies”.
In addition, a lower stitch-per-minute count will create a better quality product. So don’t rush production speeds.
Note: check our guide about the best types of T-shirt printing methods for large orders.
Decide which garment and technique fits best with what you need to be printed
One of the key elements of producing customised garments is to know which technique they will receive. Printing and business experts will tell you what fabrics, materials and printing methods match best with your goals.
- For instance, T-shirts for a summer concert or festival need to be lighter and more breathable.
- Sportswear will need to be based on synthetic materials.
- Your staff more likely will use polos and highly durable T-shirts.
These are just a few examples to show how the final decision can be made to meet tailored considerations.
The complete guide to checking quality in printed and customised garments
Step-by-step guide on how to check a customised T-shirt quality:
- Check the durability.
- Check the quality of the colours.
- Check the image quality and sharpness.
- Check the breathability of the finished garment.
- Check the embroidered elements.
- Check what to consider for washing and caring.
1. How to check durability in printed garments
Factors that impact the durability of a personalised garment are:
- Good construction of the garment itself.
- The fabric quality that has been used
- The longevity of the prints and elements
It’s necessary to avoid customised apparel that will look cheap after use and washing, that would deteriorate and where the prints will crack, decolourise or peel. Here is how to check this like an expert:
Step 1: Inspect the Garment’s Construction:
For a good quality T-shirt, we need to use good textiles but it’s equally important to know how it is made. After all, it doesn’t matter how good the materials are if a building is poorly constructed it will still fall. There are many different types of knits and stitches that will give a T-shirt its sturdiness and durability.
- Inspect the seams and hems first to find if any threads are missing.
- Stitches are the muscles of a garment; they’re what keeps everything together. Because manufacturers will always pay more attention to the outside of a T-shirt, the easiest way to tell if a garment is done well or not is by turning it inside-out. Is it stitched evenly? Does it lie flat? Are there any loose threads?
- Also, check out how many stitches it has. As a rule; the higher the count, the better. It means that more time was spent putting the garment together.
- Like stitches, hems are indicative of how much care was put in when constructing the garment. When it comes to T-shirts, you should be paying particular attention to the collar, the sleeves and the lower hem. There you can find clear signs of poor manufacturing.
Step 2: How to check a Fabric’s Quality:
The easiest test is to simply touch it. A good quality T-shirt will never feel like plastic or chunky. If the fabric feels soft but firm at the same time, then chances are that it is good quality material. However, ‘softness’ can be easily cheated which is why you must keep an eye on the following details:
- Check the density of the fabric; simply hold the garment against a light source and see how transparent it becomes. The more transparency there is, the less dense the fabric is. You should be looking for soft but firm fabrics, as we mentioned above.
- Crumple a part of the garment in your hand tightly and then release it. If it maintains a lot of wrinkles then it is probably bad quality, if it doesn’t have any wrinkles at all then it is probably a synthetic material. Ideally, you’d be looking for something between these two extremes.
- Also, by measuring the length of the fibre, you can usually determine the quality of the fabric. The longer the fibre is, the better the quality is considered to be. Simply put, longer fibres make it easier to spin the material into a finer yarn. This is why it can be bonded together, making it durable and softer. Again, if it doesn’t wrinkle, it is proof of longer fibre used.
- Since softness is another characteristic that is often associated with good quality T-shirts there are a lot of cheaters out there. Regularly, T-shirts are coated with a chemical (oftentimes it’s starch) that makes the material soft to the touch but it’s not permanent. This is why lots of street and souvenir T-shirts start feeling ‘rough’ just after a couple of washes.
Step 3: How to tell if the printed design will crack or peel.
No matter the technique used — screen printing, DTG or personalisation through transfers — cracking in the print or transferred materials is the most common type of deterioration. Although, if the processes are performed properly, it shouldn’t happen. Because new garments will always look perfect, here’s how to check if the artworks will crack:
- Stretch the part where the print is situated in order to know whether it has been cured properly or not. You should see the ink stretching along with the fabric. If it cracks, it has not been done properly and most likely will wash away soon.
- Take note to inspect for cracks and peelings in the corners and throughout the design. Screen printing amateurs often struggle with adjusting the time, temperature, pressure or peel for each technique during the printing process.
- Touch the print to check how much ink and coated layers were applied. We are looking for solid print (some thickness) but not too much. Whether the garment was DTG or screen printed, too much thickness may mean an excess of ink was printed or too much fixation was coated, leading to a higher probability for cracking.
- In the case of transfer printing, using cheaper materials will also create cracks over time. Touching, stretching and crumpling the print will give you clues on the quality of the transfer.
- Another thing that can happen with transfer customisation is that the artwork can peel away and fall apart from the garment. This is related to how well it adheres to the fabric because of the pre-press application on the garment before transferring or removing any undesired moisture in the fabric. Take a closer look at the borders of the transferred area and see if some peeling is visible. To be sure, run your fingers and nails through the borders of the transfer. If you think that you can strip it, it will for sure peel by its own after use and washing.
Step 4: Find out if it will decolourise:
If properly washed, good prints and transfers won’t lose their colours throughout the garment’s lifespan. Here’s how you can tell:
Is it already losing some colour?
Believe it or not, cheap printing can produce stains and cause colour loss even if the artwork appears great at first sight.
- Touch the print or transfer print and rub your fingertips against it. You’ll see if your fingers are being stained. If you notice even a little of it coming off, then that’s a clear sign that this garment was printed with the poorest of quality.
- Another way to find out is by checking if other areas of the shirt are getting dirty or stained by the colours incorporated throughout the garment. If this is occurring, be wary of using the apparel and washing it again, because it could damage and dye other clothing.
Will it decolourise after washing?
Finding that out is not easy after the printing job is finished, as it depends on the quality of ink and curing process. So it is not extremely noticeable by the time the garment gets into your hands.
By general rule, screen-printed T-shirts and garments won’t lose artwork colours or vibrancy. But when it comes to DTG printing, the odds of this happening are greater. New DTG machinery and technologies prevent decolourisation from happening. Until recently, you could take for granted that DTG prints were going to fade over time and after washing.
The only decolourisation test you can do for DTG printed products:
- Touch the prints, if they are too soft it means that no fixing or too few coated layers were applied. As a result, it will become pale — resembling a vintage look — after some washings.
- Nevertheless, a balance is required between softness and some boldness in the tactile feeling. If the prints feel firm but soft at the same time, it should be safe.
2. How to test the quality of the printed colours
Probably the first thing that you pay attention to when holding a T-shirt in your hands are the colours and the vibrancy of the printed product. Here are some tips to make sure that the garment’s colours will delight your customers or targeted audiences for a long time.
Step 1: Check if the colour is evenly distributed
Uniformity in the garment base colour is a must. Even if contrasting styles are chosen — happens when the collar, hems and/or sleeves have a different colour than the body of the garment — the garment should appear consistent and homogeneous.
- Check the uniformity of the colour by visually comparing the sleeves and the main body.
- If you don’t notice any shift between the tones (unless it has been done deliberately), the garment will certainly possess more appeal and preserve its uniformity for many years.
Step 2: Analyze the print and colour saturation
Pay attention to the colours of the print, making sure they are vibrant enough or as vibrant as they are meant to be. This can be tricky because it mainly depends on whether the printing technology was applied in accordance with the best practices of producing and customising printed T-shirts or garments. In any case, it should reproduce the colours, tones and lightness shown in the reproduction visual made by Printsome’s preprint team. Take a closer look because:
- If you see that the colours are well distinguished and juicy, most likely printing was done properly. Therefore, the colours won’t fade away. However, ultimately it depends on the fabric chosen for the specific printing technique, but at this point, you need to assume it is also correct.
- Although, if you see that the colours are pale, that means that the types of inks used did not match the essential printing technology steps. For instance, in DTG printing you can not use water-based pigment inks on moisture-wicking components. The print won’t adhere to the garment as expected. Or, even worse, it won’t last through washing.
- Another example of what can cause washed-out colours is not letting the bottom coat dry before applying the top one. It can create a dull, faint colour overall. Yet, this is not true for plastisol inks — the ones used in screen printing — they can be easily applied wet on wet without reducing the colour saturation.
Step 3: Touch the clothing
You can perceive a lot about the quality by touching the garment and print colours are no exception to this. If the print feels rough and scratchy, it may not be good news because the ink might fall promptly.
Now if your print feels nice and soft, especially when you fold that customised area, it probably was done using finer mesh screens (if it is screen printing). The proper practice is to distribute the inks evenly onto the substrate, creating a thinner layer and therefore softer to touch. Check this:
- Lighter garments that have been printed using DTG, the feel must be really soft. The reason is, it doesn’t require too much of a base coat to fix the colours. If colours look washed or vintage, they must have been printed on old DTG machines.
- With darker garments, more base coating is needed to avoid the decrement of colour saturation caused by blending the garment’s base colour with the artwork. As a result, a well printed DTG on a dark garment might not only look good but also feel thicker. Though, too thick would mean too much ink was applied which will affect durability. That’s why a balance between softness and thickness is always good.
- By general rule, screen printed colours will always look great. Meaning that checking up on them is about, as well as with DTG, finding a balance between thickness and softness. Plastisol inks will feel thicker and bolder while water-based inks will permeate into the fabric, producing a softer feel.
- When transfer printing is involved, you are looking for desired colours in the print itself. When it comes to transferred forms, such as in CAD-cut and Vinyl transfers, there is no reason you should end up with a bad colouring job unless poor materials were used.
3. How to check the sharpness/resolution and overall details after printing
In this set of tests we are looking for how carefully the garment was assembled together and also how well the print was constructed in terms of sharpness and image resolution.
“Details”, for Printsome, are associated with our company values because we care immensely about all the elements involved in T-shirt printing and apparel customisation.
Prints on the garments should be appealing just like the knits, stitches, hems and seams are done to provide an awesome finish. Follow these guidelines to conduct your own review of high-quality details:
Step 1. See what’s on the inside
- Don’t be carried away by the look of the garment only from the outside. Check how it is inside-out. Having enough stitches isn’t good enough. The accuracy and evenness, as well as the tightness of stitches, affect the look of the garment considerably.
- Stitches also must be of the same colour unless meant as an element of the design. When you pull on a seam and there is no gap, it means it has passed the puckering test. If not, then too much stitch tension was applied and it’s now pushing the fabric inwards.
- Aside from an undesirable appearance, the problem is analogous to a tightly held elastic band, signalling that the stitches will break more easily because of the tension caused by everyday wear.
- A properly designed garment should have a neat, even and clear finish on the inside as well. Ideally, you should barely notice any major difference between the inner and outer sides.
Step 2. Inspect the uniformity of each seam’s and hem’s construction
- Detect if defects such as non-aligned underarm seam and side seam can lead to aesthetically displeasing appearance.
- The way the hems are positioned will tell you a lot about the visual appeal of the garment. Are they all symmetric? Do they drop or move when you try the garment? Are they straight? These all are crucial not only for the appearance but also for the fit and comfort of the garment.
- A garment’s pattern can be different depending on current trends, age, the gender it is meant for and its implication. Although, there’s one golden rule: a well-made garment will have it’s pattern matching at the seams. This has everything to do with how stylish, genuine and chic the item looks.
Step 3: Inspect the clarity and sharpness of each print
In the past, T-shirt and garment printing was used to produce simple designs, such as stencilled prints, because highly detailed and high-resolution prints weren’t possible. With technological advances over the years, an evolution of quality printed images appeared. Yet, reaching that superb quality depends on the artwork you want to print, the printing technique selected and how the images are prepared in each case.
Checking the quality of printed images is something you can do simply by looking at the print or transfer close up. However, what to look over depends on the customisation technique chosen:
Checking Image Quality for Screen Printing
Forms with few colours will work best with screen printing. Results should look crisp and clear. If not, then too many complicated forms were involved causing too few colours to be printed. Overall, if it doesn’t look great, it may be because of:
- A low-resolution artwork was used to create the screens. At least a 300 dpi image resolution is required for screen printing.
- The printer used screens with a low-mesh-count. In a few words, more — and smaller — meshes or “net cells” deliver higher image crispness.
- The details were printed too tiny. Screen printing can print lines from 1 point size (0.35 mm) and letters from a height of 6.35 and above.
- Deficient ink during the curation process caused the excess ink to bleed into surrounding areas. Keep in mind that depending on the size of mesh graphic, solvent-based or water-based inks should be used. As we already mentioned in the colour section, this will help to keep the thinner inks from flooding onto your substrate thus providing a smoother and more precise image.
- Photorealistic results were expected but, as mentioned, it couldn’t be achieved after using just a few colours. But if your print is intended for a logo, graphic design or artwork that doesn’t require many gradations, everything should look just fine.
Checking Image Quality for DTG printing
When complex artworks need to be printed, DTG is the technique to choose because the cost of printing is the same whether 1 colour or virtually an unlimited amount of colours are involved. Also, higher-level details are attainable, especially when it comes to fine lines and gradations. But things can go wrong and the potential reasons behind it are:
- 300 dpi of resolution images is recommended but the newest machinery also can print at 150 dpi or even less — if there are few colours involved. So make sure the artwork’s resolution meets the specifications given by Printsome’s printing experts.
- Machines can print up to 1200 dpi, print finer lines and print smaller details with better results than with other printing techniques. So if your fine lines don’t look sharp, either the selected garment or the machine calibration wasn’t correct.
- If you see coloured areas (usually white in colour) that weren’t in your artwork, it means the image wasn’t prepared adequately. This happens because DTG printing is not capable of printing transparencies or alpha channel pixels.
- Also, if too little ink was used, the overall result could look fuzzy. Another reason behind this could be that the printer header was calibrated too high in relation to the fabric. The higher the print header is, the more likely the print will look blurry. This happens when trying to print on hems or on collars or on the sleeves if the printers aren’t capable of it or when trying to print all over the garment, covering the seams.
Checking Image Quality for Transfers
Depending on the specific transfer customisation method, the quality of the artwork on garments can be checked in different ways. What to look for in regards to the quality of the image for a transferred photo or printed image is totally different than checking transferred designs, such as in CAD-cut or vinyl transfers:
- If the chosen method requires transferring a print made on a transfer paper, what we need to check is identical to what you need to check for screen printing and DTG. You can print on papers that are later transferred to garments either by using plastisol inking (process alike to screen printing) or by using digital printing such as Stretch Litho (which you can compare to the detail shown in DTG image results).
- When sublimation is used, fuzziness is expected. The print is made by converting ink into gasses, which alter the fabric’s properties, making the print part of the fabric itself. Just review if it is too blurry.
- In CAD-cut transfers, computers digitally cut the shapes. Most cut materials are vinyl based. Since CAD-cut isn’t a print itself, but rather just a heat transferred design onto a fabric, the image quality is given by how precise the cuts are. So, if the borders aren’t sharp, technical issues with the maintenance of the blades are to blame.
- Also, proper adhering to the fabric will preserve the outer borders and body of any transferred artwork as well as leave a crisp finish. If bubbles or some peel is present, it will significantly affect how the image looks aside from its inherent problems with durability.
4. How to review breathability and transpiration
Have you ever felt like some T-shirts, although 100% cotton, make you feel really hot and sweaty, while others keep you perfectly cool in summer? Depending on the way the fabric was made and the print technology used, printed T-shirts or other customised garments can be pleasant and almost weightless to wear. Here are a few tips to consider:
Step 1. Examine the fabric
The goal of this test is to find out how breathable the fabric is because cotton-based apparel breathes differently than synthetic.
- For cotton-based T-shirts and garments, even if they have some percentage of another material, the overall density and softness of the fabric is a clear indicator of its breathability. A fabric breathes when it doesn’t have space for air between the individual threads in the mesh. That space can be identified as a tiny air pocket. The reason a fabric feels hot is that it has air pockets thus creating thermal insulation. It is not enough to comb the cotton finely, it should also be woven very tightly to avoid those little air spaces and the annoying sticky feeling. In summary, if it is dense but soft it should breathe better.
- Synthetic-based fabrics have their own special characteristics so there are other factors to consider rather than just checking density and softness. The key here is held within its moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties. Don’t do it at a store, but if you receive a sample or a production bulk of this fabric, moisten it and observe how well it repels liquid by holding drops on the surface and how quickly the fabric dries. Synthetic materials are highly breathable but if produced poorly they may have the opposite effect.
Step 2. Touch the print
Naturally, we recommend you to touch the print or transfer to see if it blocks the garment’s breathability properties. We want whoever will wear the garment to avoid that unpleasant feeling of sweating right where the artworks are. It is a tricky judgement call because many variables are involved:
- Plastisol screen printed inks applied to cotton-based garments won’t be uncomfortable because good quality cotton absorbs the moisture, taking it away from the skin. Of course, like always, the ink needs to be cured properly so it is not too thick. If plastisol is applied to synthetic fabrics, the printed area will be the sweatiest part.
- Water-based screen printing inks will make the printed area breathe magnificently, as the print impregnates the fibres with zero or very thin layers of ink.
- DTG printing on light cotton garments won’t block the breathability. When it is on dark clothing more coats are needed. It makes the print feel like plastisol if too much of it is printed. The ideal result for dark clothing is to have a balance of solid colours and a softness to the touch.
- Sublimation dye production will breathe comfortably. If it doesn’t breath or sweating occurs just by wearing it, that means there is a problem with the textile fabrication.
- Heat-transferring paper sheets onto garments is where most problems regarding breathability and transpiration will appear. Especially if the printing personalisation was wrongly defined. Making a long story short, if a transfer covers too much space, it will block the fibres. So if photographs are needed to be printed, use DTG instead of transfers; if big logos or bold designs are to be printed, use screen printing. Only use transfer printing when our consultants at Printsome recommend you to.
- CAD-cut Vinyl technique also will block the breathability. However, if used on activewear (highly breathable and fast-drying garments), that uncomfortable feeling is reduced. Also, to increase breathability, micro-perforated types of vinyl can be used.
5. Special factors to look at with embroidery
It seems like we have discussed everything about printing customisations. But what if you have an order of embroidered garments? You will want to know a few criteria on how to check the quality of it.
Step 1. Inspect the missing threads
- Take a closer look at the visible embroidered artwork. This is pretty straight forward. Look for any loose threads then rub your fingertips and nails softly along the embroidery to see if any thread emerges.
- Then turn the garment inside out. The inner side will give you a better idea about the quality and how carefully it was embroidered.
- If there is a protective fabric covering the back of the embroidery, it will make the artwork more durable over time. The other upside to this is it avoids rubbing directly with your skin, reducing the itch factor.
- Whether or not the garment is a sample or part of your production, remove the protective fabric and inspect it again for lost threads as well as how well the nudges are executed.
Step 2. Flaws related to detailed and sharpness of embroidered designs
The sharpness in embroidery is a matter of achieving enough legibility so the artwork represented is correct. If you can’t identify your logo elements or artwork in general, these are the things that might have went wrong:
- The initial design was too complicated:
Remember that there is a reason embroidery is not like a photo. It is impossible to stitch every little pixel onto a piece of cloth. The connection of embroidery is that it’s a close reproduction of the printed image but with a more tactile and vivid feel. So if your customer wants a T-shirt with “Van Gogh’s Starry Night” on it, you better be choosing a print instead of embroidery.
- Poor digitalisation of the artwork:
Embroidery requires you to digitalise and adapt your design or artwork to the specific conditions and properties associated with needling threads in order to reproduce an image. Our design consults at Printsome will make sure the artwork gets converted properly by simplifying it. We will show you our proposed version — which will be a simpler design with as many preserved details as possible — that will be more practical for embroidery. So next time you order embroidery, remember that proper digitalisation is how everything begins.
- Wrong needles or threads were used:
Too thick or too thin needles and/or threads can distort even a well-digitalised design. Thin needles make threading difficult which causes fuzziness. Whereas very thick needles reduce the resolution of the details. A balanced work will produce embroidery that matches the visual Printsome’s team sent you for your approval.
Also, it is important what kind of needles were used. Sharp needles should be used when the needle and thread need to pierce the fabric, like in surface embroidery and crewel. Ball-point needles are used when the needle needs to slip between threads in the fabric without piercing them, such as in counted thread, pulled thread, and Hardanger embroidery
- Rushed embroidering pace:
Running the machine with the right pace when embroidering small details and letters will result in a clearer picture. Likewise, proper tensions will allow the stitches to be nice and tight causing the logos to look clean and professional.
Step 3. Assess the thickness of the garment
The density and thickness of the embroidered garment is a relevant factor because it dictates how long the work will last and how fragile is the assembly of the embroidery onto the fabric. You can first simply touch the garment’s fabric to know how thick or thin it is and as you continue, keep these ideas in mind:
- Embroidery on thin garments means it’s inherently fragile.
- Even a newly embroidered T-shirt or garment can have holes around the threaded area if the shirt is too thin.
- Even if you don’t find such imperfections when a thin garment is chosen, the embroidery will, unfortunately, deteriorate faster.
- Embroidery on polos, jackets and fleeces, as well as headwear lasts longer than in garments with less firmness and thickness.
Step 4. See if the garment is already damaged
One last thing essential for embroidery is a careful production operation. Using the correct needles is the key to creating a quality piece. If you see that the embroidered part somehow looks ripped or second-rate, It may be caused by production errors. Once again, regardless of the fabric’s thickness or type of garment, inspect the embroidered area and it’s edges to confirm no holes or damages were caused during production.
6. A quick word about a garment’s label
Labels can tell a lot about garments. You can get hints about its quality as well as know-how to wash and preserve this product appropriately.
Most T-shirts don’t have a thread count included in their labels, but they do indicate the material it is made of and if it happens to be mixed with something else.
However, for better knowledge about the fabric of the garment and its quality, speak with a printing expert. Here at Printsome, we will be more than happy to provide you with any relevant information you require before setting up your printing project.
But, did you know that the labels on your garments can be ticking time bombs? When T-shirts are made, most of the T-shirt suppliers label the garments with wash and care instructions designed for a BLANK T-SHIRT! This also applies to other garments apart from T-shirts..
The takeaway is simple, each caring and washing label on a customised garment does not represent the actual caring instructions to avoid damaging the prints or transfers. As a result, these labels are irrational because you risk badly altering the artwork when you put the customised garment through the washing machine.
As your printing partner, we will give you the proper caring and washing guidelines for any of these personalisation techniques.
If tailored product caring is not performed in accordance to the printing method used, you may end up with:
- Artwork that cracks or peels.
- Decolourisation (or worse, dyeing other clothing in the washing machine).
Printsome offers relabelling services that remove the original garment branded labels and after, gives you the possibility of attaching or printing your own labels — with your brand and the proper caring instructions. To know more about relabelling, ask your Printsome advisor about how to get your personalised labels done.
Conclusions and key takeaways
How to check good quality T-shirts and customised garments involves several variables; starting with the fabric and printing method chosen, it’s important to look carefully into the specific details which will tell you how well done and high-quality the finished products are in terms of durability, colours vibrance, image quality and breathability.
It all starts with your artworks and the purpose behind your production order. With the proper approach and planning, production can be calibrated to deliver the best results and quality. To do this correctly consider how:
- Some artworks are best for certain printing techniques.
- Some personalisation and printing methods work best with particular fabrics.
On the other hand, the overall quality of the fabric and garment is measured by:
- The quality of the raw materials.
- Having longer length fibres, as well as tighter woven fibres, which produce longer-lasting apparel that is dense but soft.
- Knowing carefully constructed garments last longer and look better.
- It’s breathability which impacts the experience of use.
Many technicalities are involved during the customisation process, the most significant ones are:
- Using high-end machinery and technologies.
- Curating the inks properly.
- Coating layers in order to fix better colours and designs.
- Applying a balanced amount of inks and coat layers to preserve softness and breathability.
- Adjusting the original image resolution to determine the clarity and crispness of the printed artworks.
- Again, not all artworks are suitable for all available printing techniques.
And remember! Caring properly for your finished garments will avoid damaging the prints or transfers and provide lasting durability.
If you work with Printsome, we will keep you updated about how we make sure all these factors are covered during every production batch. If you are printing with someone else, use this guide to audit their production processes and the quality of your printed items.