All posts by The Foundry

Sourced Garments 101

Welcome to sourced garments 101, this post is intended to help you find the right garment for your project. It’s a lot of information to take in; but we hope this empowers you to make the right decision in choosing your garment(s). You’ll find just about anything you’re looking for through our preferred vendor links and the products by category brake down. If not send us a description of what you have in mind and we’ll come back with product links that match your description.
 
In this basic canvass of garment sourcing you’ll find an intro to fabric compatibility, a general fit guide, a list of our top vendors and our leading garment brands by category. Just below here are the page jumps that take you directly to those subjects.

Basic Intro
Fit Basics
Preferred Distributors
Garments by Category
-Tees
-Fleece
-Jackets
-Headwear and Accessories
Conclusion and resource links

Know that we are here to help you so reach out if you have any questions. Contact Page
 

 

Intro

A basic intro to fabric/print compatibility:

Here at The Foundry we believe that good embellishments start at the garment. With so many fabric blends on the market it’s a literal arms race between fabric and print technology. In many ways, the attributes that make modern fabrics so comfortable can also make them difficult to print; take moister wicking, water repellency or stain resistance for example. Most fabrics are designed around wear-ability opposed to being suitable substrates for embellishment. We believe that in order to achieve premium print results you have to approach every project in the same order; knowing the fabric material then determining the embellishment system used to decorate it.

 

Fit Guide

A basic guide to fit:

Humans are shaped differently from one another by many dimensions and everyone has their own definition of a good fitting garment. Knowing this the garment manufactures pull fit specs from a pool and average them to try and get a consensus for dimensions by size for each subcategory. The basic subcategories are age and gender, and within each of those you have either contemporary or basic fit. Congratulations you read that without falling asleep! With that let’s look at the difference between contemporary and basic fit and understand that the following is a generalization. Contemporary fits are slightly longer in the body and trimmer in the overall silhouette. Contemporary garments are typically constructed from finer materials and cost roughly 20% more than their basic companions. Basic fits are slightly shorter in length and have a wider more relaxed overall silhouette. Basics have a heavier more traditional construction as well. These principals apply to all tops whether it’s tees, jackets or hoodies. Both contemporary and basic fits have a healthy market share at our shop, the difference really comes down to end user demographic and value.

 

Preferred Distributors

Distributors with top credentials:

Now the garment industry is enormous, it’s safe to say that we have access to tens of thousands of garment styles. Navigating all those products can be a real challenge, fortunately there are a handful of distributors that filter a lot of that for us and you’ll find most of the top products on their websites. Pack a lunch and see those links below.

 

 

 

 

 

Garments By Category

Navigate through garment categories:

So there are a lot of products on the distributor sites and in order to assist your search we’ve broken it out by category/brand below. These are our top selling favorites based on the leading characteristics; quality, availability, fit, embellish-ability (we made that word up) and the logistics to obtaining them.
 

Tees

Top selling tees and longsleeves:


Bella + Canvas – Our single most popular tee shirt line

Gildan – Their G500 and G500L are our most popular basic fitting t-shirts

Next Level – An awesome verity of blended fabrics and modern colors in contemporary fits

Alstyle – Very popular among action sports enthusiasts

Royal Apparel – Some great contemporary styles made in the USA

Anvil – Has a more relaxed fit in contemporary fabrics and finishing

 

Fleece

Top selling hoodies and crews:


Independent Trading Co – Our #1 fleece line, contemporary and basic fits in great quality fleece.

Gildan – A great basic and affordable line of fleece.

Beimar – Good contemporary fleece along with some cool technical styles.

MV Sport – Some great novelty styles, especially for Ladies.

 

Jackets

Top Selling Outerwear:

Independent Trading Co – We love their water resistant windbreakers (with and without hood)

Beimar – Overall our favorite Jacket brand, their modern fit coaches jacket is one of our favs.

Dickies – Some very cool basic workwear type jackets.

Harriton – Good basic styles in affordable makeups.

 

Headwear

Top Selling Headwear and Accessories:


Flexfit/Yupoong – Something for everyone, our go to for modern caps and knit beanies.

Rothco – Our leading supplier for knit caps. They also have helmets and airsoft guns, I’m just saying.

Decky – great traditional styles and modern takes.  We really like some of their novelty fabrications.

Cobra Caps – Good traditional and non structured styles.

Liberty Bags – Our leading line of tote bags.

 

Conclusion

That wraps up the general tour of the blank garment world. We’re here to make your project so put us to work, ask us any question and we’ll either know the answer of we’ll figure it out together.

Below are some relevant links around the site if you wish to continue your research.

Details on starting a project with The Foundry 

A guide to sizing your graphics

You can also find a lot of useful information about general compatibility and shop offered services on the Prints Works page.

Thanks for reading!

Click here to jump back to the top

A Guide to Sizing Your Graphics

Let’s dig into sizing your art and the chief factors to consider.

First understand that setups do not change size, putting together the screen stencils for printing or digitizing the art for embroidery is done to a static dimension. Making changes to these requires a entire new set up.

That’s why we recommend that you consider the mode of your size run when thinking about graphic size. So for example if your order looks some thing like this S-10 M-15 L-20 XL-10 XXL-5 on unisex tees then you’re going to want to size your art to the Medium/Large sizes. Now say you want to print some ladies tees with the same setups. If that’s the case then you may want to consider sizing the art down but note that the print field on ladies XS is about a quarter of that on mens XXL.

Another thing to think about is width height ratio, we recommend that you design around a 3:2 ratio (a third wider than tall) for front prints and 2:3 for back prints. This will allow you to take advantage of the optimum print field or simply speaking the ideal print placement.

We have a 15in X 18in print size maximum on our standard setups. On the larger size a full front or back print on unisex tees would be roughly 12 in wide and 13 in tall. Keep in mind that garments are not flat when they are on a body so going too wide puts your graphic out of the optimal print field and into the under arm area, particularly on smaller sizes.

Let’s also consider print size in terms of functionality, very large print fields are fine if you are using water base but with plastisol you can run into issues with breathability particularly on thinner fabrics. A great way to get around this is use shirt color in your graphic, this will break up the print field and save you some costs on printing by shaving off a color.

Below are some scale diagrams to help assist your imagination. These are based off a size large shirt for mens and medium for womens, the most common sizes in said gender. Because everything starts centered we measure from the center out for width (for example 6 inches out on either side is 12 in wide). Left chest prints are always located centered under the out most part of the collar.

Mens Unisex Large Tees

Ladies Medium Tees

As a rule of thumb, the optimum print field in comparison to mens unisex is 2 inches narrower on ladies and 4 inches on youth. We determine the distance from the collar to the top of the print as well as the location of the left chest for you and move them appropriately as the sizes change unless asked to do otherwise.

Let’s move onto sizing your art on headwear. We advise against using art that is taller than it is wide and recommend a 2:1 ratio here. The optimal image field on hats is 4in X 2in, so consider the amount of detail your packing into that space. You want your art to be legible from 6ft away so bold details are best. Like anything there are ways to stretch the limitations but start at best case scenario if you can.

Here is a size scale diagram for hats, a good practice when considering what size your art should be is to print it out on your desk jet printer and hold it up to your favorite hat. Again keep in mind that hats are contour so pushing you art out past the optimal print width makes it less legible and possibly more expensive by adding to the stitch count.

It’s important to remember that people are moving objects and the purpose of embellishing garments is to send a message or identity to others. Make your art bold and put it where people can see it. The metrics for social space are 4ft to 12ft and 12ft + for public space so printing anything that can’t be easily discerned form that distance seems a little pointless don’t you think? Design at the size you would like your art printed or embroidered and consider all the things we talked about here for a successful project.

Thanks for reading!

 

Diamondback S Auto Press

Here at The Foundry we love tools and we know that running a good shop means keeping up on the newest technology.

So in order to sustainably provide the highest quality work at a fast turnaround we’ve added a Diamondback S auto to our gear lineup.

With an efficient start up and easy brakedown having this asset on the floor will allow us to keep our minimums low and our setups competitive.

If you’re in the neighborhood stop in and check it out. We’re always happy to show friends around the shop.

Screen Printing With Black Ink

Alright let’s talk about black ink. When most art is native to white paper and black pen it’s important to understand the best practices and systems when it comes to printing black.

Black ink is awesome because you can do so much with it. Think of it like this, your shirt color is your highlight, your print color is your shadow and any midtones are simulated with either print or shirt color. In the example below you’ll see a halftone photo of the man in black himself Johnny Cash using halftones with a single black screen. You can apply this same method by printing the highlights on a dark garment.

This is important to understand for two very crucial reasons. First the cost of screen printing goes up with the amount of colors you want to print and more importantly you’re asking someone to wear your shirts so less is more when it comes to ink.

Another great attribute of black ink is that it’s very opaque and far less finicky than other lighter colors so plastisol black goes down very thin and water base black prints on just about anything that isn’t hydrophobic making for a very soft and durable print.

When you’re envisioning your screen printed art try and think of how the print will affect the functionality of the garment and a little goes a long way with black screen printing ink.

Thanks for reading!

 

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 ALS.net 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.

 

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. The Sourced Garments 101 post is a great resource for this. 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. Here’s a great resource for sizing you art A Guide to Sizing your Graphics.

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
Express)

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.