All posts by The Foundry

Custom Patches and Woven Labels

With all the custom patches and labels  we’ve been doing lately we thought it would be good idea to put together a gallery showing what the different constructions look like.

This one for Seismic NW would be considered full embroidery. It was for custom hats.

This Pike Place Fish patch is done with partial embroidery on black twill, it was used for custom hats. You can find a picture of the boys wearing them below.

This one for Stumptown Snowboards is a woven label, we used them on custom beanies.

This one below is partial embroidery on white twill, it was used for custom hats.

This Parker Service Service woven label was done up for beanies.

This one for Kirkland Bike is a woven clip label. We used it on the bottom hem and sleeves for custom printed tees. 

This Kirkland Bike patch was for custom hats. It would be considered partial embroidery on white twill.

This Em Socks patch was for custom hats. It’s partial embroidery as well.

The Cycle Heap patch was for custom bucket hats and beanies. Unlike the patches above it has a satin boarder apposed to a merrow stitch.

This Comet Tavern woven label was done for custom beanies.

This Anchor Bar Patch is partial embroidery on twill. These are for custom hats.

This label is a clip style for the back of hats and tee shirt hems.

This 7B Sandpoint patch is for custom jackets. You can see them being applied in the video above.

These WK patches are partial embroidery, we heatsealed the backing so the customer could give them out to be ironed onto various items.

These PFD patches are for the Brennna A fishing vessel. They are a woven patch. They’ll be used for jacket chests and custom hats.


There are countless ways to construct labels and patches. If you have a project feel free to reach out and we can answer any of your questions.


Specialty Inks and Applications

Let’s take a minute to talk about specialty systems and let’s start by defining them. Specialty inks and systems are print systems that create a unique affect like suede, reflective, puff, metallic or glow to name just a few. This also includes cad cut applications such as heat transfer vinyl.

With todays technology there’s always more than one way to get art onto a garment and choosing which system fits the application best takes understanding the available technologies. You can get most of your affects with specialty inks screen printed directly onto the garment. However below are some examples where foils, vinyl and printed transfers should be considered.

Reflective – While there are plenty of fashion reflective ink systems on the market that work great as a creative affect true ANSI reflective is best achieved with cad cut heat press vinyl.

Mirrored Metallic – Metallic and shimmer inks are great for on press effects but if you want that mirrored chrome look foil transfer film is the best option.

Glow – It’s surprising how well the glow inks work in the dark however they are semi transparent so in daylight settings they are not always ideal when used as a graphic element. Glow vinyl is white and like the ink system glows phosphorescent green.

Neon – True neon is difficult to achieve with an ink system especially on dark garments due to opacity, we recommend vinyl here as well.

Heat press applications such as transfer vinyl and screen printed transfers are also great in scenarios where the garment is sensitive to the high temperatures needed to cure screen-printing inks, the sub-straight isn’t a flat surface or the garment material just isn’t compatible with any print system.

True creative freedom takes know how and we’d like to think that every idea is printable if you work it properly. In house screen printing, embroidery, labeling and heat transfer opens all the doors you need to create awesome products right here in the PNW.

Thanks for reading!






Labeling 101

This post is intended to help our customers understand the processes and terminologies as they pertain to our labeling department.

Let’s first touch on the primary label types with the most common, embroidered patches. These are produced by embroidering directly onto a material then cutting it out and finishing the edges with a stitch or heat. The advantages here are that you can use the patch material as your background saving a lot of stitches, they come at a low minimum and are sewen out flat making quality detail more achievable than say sewing out a contoured hat crown. See an example below.

Next let’s talk about woven labels. These are produced by weaving thread together much like you would imagine how a blanket is made. This yields a higher image resolution and a far softer and more pliable construction than capable with embroidery. Woven labels are ideal for application scenarios where the label art contains fine detail, needs to conform to the garment and is exposed to regular machine wash.

Lastly You have what we call craft labels, these include mixed media, PVC, silicone, leather, printed and so on. In this category if you can imagine it it probably exists.

In most cases our customers reach out to us with their art and an idea of what type of garment they would like it applied to. This conversation can be as simple as “I want my logo on a hat”. We review the provided information and come back with compatible construction scenarios and links to recommended garment selections that match your description. We’re are always happy to assist your imagination with digital mockups like the one below.

Like all projects here at The Foundry reaching out is the first step, send us your idea and we’ll help you make it a reality.

All patches and woven labels come with a photo sewout (this is a picture of the first unit down for your approval before production). Please note that patches and woven labels typically come with a 3-4 week lead time however feel free to inquire about expedited orders.

Thanks for reading!

Details on starting a project with The Foundry

If you’re wondering  “how do I go about placing an order” you’re not alone, most customers come into our services with little experience in screen-printing, embroidery, labeling and/or garment sourcing. Fortunately we’re here to make it as easy as possible.

Garments –
Every project starts with the garment, knowing the garment and fabric type will dictate the process used to apply your art. Let us know what type of garment you’re looking for and we’ll send links to products that match your description. If you have a specific style number in mind.. Great. You’ll receive all the pricing in your initial quote and you can learn more about the definitions and print pricing here.

Art Submission –
For optimal print quality please submit your art either in vector format or as a 300+DPI PDF, PSD, TIFF or JPG. If possible submit your art flattened and at size. Screen colors vary from monitor to monitor so if you need exact pantones please submit the PMS numbers from the coated book with your art. Do not submit your art pre separated. We understand that this portion can be confusing so just let us know if you have any questions.

Deposit –
Once we have your garment styles, the size run and the art and application established we put together an invoice showing all of the job costs detailed by service and product. From here we ask that you take the time to thoroughly read through your invoice and make sure that all the details are to your specification. Once confirmed we take 50% of your invoice total as a deposit.

Production and Lead Time–
With the deposit placed we move to production with your order by gathering all the assets needed to process your project. Typically we run at 2 weeks but during high volume seasons we may specify pre-deposit that our lead time have extended. If you request photo press checks please understand that we need you to reply within 10 minutes. Waiting for approval is costly down time for our staff and can affect the chemistry used in production.

Project Completion-
Once your project is complete you can choose to pick it up or we can ship to any destination in the US or Canada. If you have a card on file we charge your balance on pick up or ship, if not we ask that you provide check or cash on pick up. Only under special circumstances do we allow pick up or ship without final payment. If you find blems or errors in your counts while unpacking we’re always happy to issue a credit or refund accordingly.

Basic information:

Please note that we maintain a 50 unit minimum per style.

We accept all forms of payment. Cash, check or card. (Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American

If you need digital mockups just let us know. We can provide them at no cost once we’ve received a deposit.

We are a registered wholesaler and our customers are eligible for tax exempt transactions provided they submit a resale ID.

Although we do not save screens we do save all of your digital files to a database so reproduction is easy. We call this reset and it comes at half the cost of your original setups.

Good communication is crucial to a successful project, with so many details involved we appreciate your taking the time to clearly explain your creative vision and be prompt to respond to any questions we may have about your project.

Every project is a new challenge in contract garment embellishment and if every stage is methodically planned out and the proper time is taken it can be fun and easy. You’re going to have questions, that’s cool. Just ask us!

Thanks for reading!

Get your fade on!

In this post we would like to go over some of the methods involved in screen-printing gradients. When screen-printing fades or gradients you’re actually simulating a fade using halftone dots. In the three color fade pictured here you’ll see that the positives are nothing more that a dot matrix that fits together like a puzzle (shown below).

Bottom fade

Center fade

Top fade

Each of these positives or films are burned to screen and when printed together simulate the three colors as a smooth linear gradient. This one is done with water-base discharge so it’s as little more involved than doing something similar with plastisol but the principals are the same.

This is one form of what we call index printing where a screen-printer can use opaque dots so simulate an array of colors. It differs from 4-color process where the inks are semi transparent. Feel free to reach out with any questions or stop by our shop here in Seattle. Thanks for reading!

Printing polyester rich garments

We often get customer requests to print performance garments like the one shown below. Today almost every major garment label has some version of performance wear in their line. Fleece or knit you can basically find these polyester rich fabrics available in every garment category. You’ll find that the information in this article also pertains to blended fabrics such as 50/50s and triblends where the same principals apply as they also contain poly fiber

Sometimes referred to as technical fabrics; performance fabrics are generally synthetic rich and get the name “performance” for their quick drying and moisture wicking properties. These attributes are great for the athlete but not for screen printing. Fabrics that don’t absorb liquids also do not absorb inks; so any form of water-base inks are generally out of the picture. That’s not to mention that water-base and discharge print systems are a dye process and plastics (i.e. synthetic fibers in performance garments) do not take kindly to dyeing or bleaching.

Now plastisol screen printing on the other hand should work fine because it fuses to the fabric as an elastic film to create your image as opposed to dying the fabric with a water-base ink. Problem solved right?… Wrong! To cure plastisol ink you need to heat it up to around 300° F; this causes the dye in the garment to sublimate (turn to gas) and migrate into your ink. This is known as dye migration and the darker the garment color the more likely it is to occur.

Fortunately, there are solutions to this problem. The most common is using a specially formulated high-opacity, low-bleed ink (shown in the picture above) designed to block the fugitive dye molecules trying to sublimate into the print ink. Another is printing a silhouette (or base) under your print area to act as a barrier between your top print colors and the garment dye. Lastly, preheating the garment either in the conveyor dryer or under a flash can pre-sublimate loose dye in the garment and better heat set what stays behind. Another note here is that higher quality garments typically have higher quality dyes formulated to cut down on sublimation, we have seen the difference here first hand.

Armed with knowledge you can produce high quality prints on all types of substrates and a good screen printer knows to never let their guard down. Thanks for reading.

The Foundry has a new location!

After 4 awesome years in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood we have moved to a larger location in the Sodo district. We did try to stay in the North Seattle area but zoning made it difficult to find a space that would facilitate the additional screen printing and embroidery gear needed for this expansion. The upgraded arsenal here includes a Sportsman EX Auto Press and a SWF 4 Head Embroidery Machine. In edition we’ve made improvments to our entire production line in order to better meet the needs of our customers and the greater Northwest custom apparel market.

The Foundry Seattle's Sportsman EX Auto Screen Printing Press

Sportsman EX Auto Screen Printing Press


5 heads of SWF Embroidery Machine


The Foundry is expanding!

There have been a lot of exciting changes going on here at The Foundry so we thought it would be a good idea to put together a post with some of those details.

We’ve brought in longtime Foundry family member Clint Graham as a partner. With his extensive experience in the garment industry and his shared business ethics we are very stoked to have him on The Foundry team. He’ll be leading our sales and service efforts as we move into this new stage of the business.

With the growing demand for our services we have signed a lease at a space in the SoDo neighborhood. This new facility will house an updated production line comprised of industry leading M&R printing equipment.

At the center of this modernized print shop we’ll have a 10 color 12 station Sportsman EX automatic screen printing press. Paired with a high capacity natural gas dryer and an LED exposure system our ability to provide Foundry quality at a elevated volume has officially become a reality.

Although we have a lot of work to do before this new facility is operational in mid July we are looking forward to combining these assets and ideas to our existing quality and service manifesto.

Metallic Screen Printing Inks

With spring comes new trends and one of the more prevalent ones we’ve identified is metallic printing. Unlike previous years we’ve seen at least two jobs using metallics come through the shop per week. With this influx we thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to put together a blog post with more information about using metallics in your screen printing projects.

First you need to know that metallics are plastisol inks so they will always have a hand to them, in fact they are probably the heaviest inks we use. This is a result of the fleck or glitter that is used as the reflective element. Essentially metallic ink is a clear plastisol with glitter suspended in it and to me that sounds just awful, like having Kim Kardashian’s cellphone case glued to your teeshirt.

But wait, metallics are not just for the rich and famous fashion inept. When used intelligently and conservatively they can add a very unique texture and depth to the two-dimensional garment canvas. In the print photoed above we used a pale gold metallic to pop out the highlights without taking away from the classic feel that was the intention of the artiest. In this particular screen print we also used water based inks for the shadows, this will keep the hand soft and the finish as matte as possible.

There are hundreds of specialty plastisol inks out there like glow in the dark, black light, reflective and suede to name a few. If you have any questions about compatibility between ink systems or want to discuss options before starting up a new design just drop us a line. We either know it or we’ll learn about it together.