A Guide To Sizing Your Embroidery and Screen Printing Art

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 an 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 something like 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 third of that on mens XXL.

Use the print area wisley, bigger isn’t always better.

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.

Illustration of the front and back of a tshirt and the optimum print field

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.

Try and use shirt color in your art.

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 like to 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.

Illustration of a shirt and the way to to measure print spaceIllustration of a fitted tshirt and the way to to measure print space

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.

The best practices when sizing headwear art.

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 your art out past the optimal print dimensions isn’t recommended.

Custom Hat Art Sizing

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!

Custom Embroidered Hats
Custom Screen Printing
Custom Screen Printing
Custom Screen Printing
Custom Screen Printing

Why work with The Foundry over other shops?

  1. Ability: Our 4,000 sqft shop is full of top of the line equipment and experienced operators. With garment printing, embroidery, patches, sewing and printed vinyl all in one place we are the one business relationship for all your private label needs.
  2. Creativity: Our staff is passionate about apparel, art and trends both current and classic. This passion drives a know-how in our design and application approach to creating custom apparel. We help take your ideas and put them into a format that is both compatible with and unique to your intentions.
  3. Resourcefulness: We always promote the scenario where quality and affordability meet. There are multiple ways to execute any custom apparel project and you can count on us to plan around the best results for a practical value while maintaining our quality first credo. The Foundry’s extensive in-house resources makes for as little 3rd party vendor involvement as possible.
  4. Accountability: We hold ourselves accountable to the quality of product and customer experience. We encourage our customers to share their thoughts to help us meet our commitments and deliver elevated results. Understanding the customers expectations, meeting them and managing concerns is what makes us Seattle’s one stop shop for quality custom apparel.
  5. Convenience: It is our job to know the process and be able to convey that information to the customer for their assurance. Our invoicing system outlines all of the garment and print information. We provide detailed mockups for every project with live approval and payment links. As well as due date and shipment tracking all from a single invoice view. This makes staying in know about your project easy and streamlined. We can ship to anywhere in the country or you can pick up from our location in South Seattle.

If you are looking to create the best custom garments and a value rich relationship look no further than The Foundry Print Shop Seattle.

Our Service Area Includes: Seattle | Olympia | Spokane | Bellevue | Everett | Bellingham | Tacoma | Vancouver | Whitefish | Portland | Tri-Cities
Daisley Gordon
Daisley Gordon
We've worked with The Foundry for two projects. Logo'ed kitchen towels which we sell and custom embroidered custom aprons for a special group of out staff at Café Campagne We were very happy with the results.
Peter Keckemet
Peter Keckemet
Great to work with, very helpful in getting concept to product.
Janet Charbonnier
Janet Charbonnier
We love The Foundry! We too are a small business and appreciate working with another small local business. The communication was on spot, our bags and patches were perfect and our job was done in a timely manner. You guys rock!!!
jeremiah robinson
jeremiah robinson
These guys were awesome to work with! Not only were they more than helpful with the process of getting my shop custom shirts and hats, but also helped with getting the image I wanted to come to life a reality. Very helpful and easy to work with! highly recommend for your next project.
Nina Arranza-Riley
Nina Arranza-Riley
I chose Foundry out of the many print shops available to us nearby because of their stellar communication and follow-up, plus they made the shirt-making and ordering so easy for me to understand! I have no knowledge of screen printing and shirts whatsoever, but with Clint and Kara's help I was able to pick and design one for my company AND THEY TURNED OUT AMAZING! Seriously, I can't thank you guys enough. The people at the Foundry are kind, helpful, patient and professional, answering my many questions and easing my worries. Project was completed on time and on budget, shipped fast, shirts were comfortable and the designs well printed. I am absolutely going back here in the future.