June '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 6 J U N E P R I N T W E A R || 29 2. Press the sublimation transfer on the exposed glitter flake and let the material cool. 3. Hoop your garment and run your design's first color change; a placement line. 4. Lay your printed glitter flake material smoothly over the design area, securing it with a light spritz of spray tack, entirely cover- ing your placement line. 5. Stitch any overlying design elements and the border of the de- sign, perforating the material. 6. Tear away any excess material surrounding your design. 7. Unhoop the garment and press the design once more to adhere the glitter flake material permanently. IN ACTION Keeping the steps of the process in mind, let's take a deeper dive into some specific pieces I produced and how I went about creating them. I chose to produce designs and transfers in-house, creating a classic tourist sweatshirt for my beloved hometown of Albuquerque while adding my own stylistic twist. Influenced by social media and a love of clean typeface, I created a type-based design using a common hashtag found on posts about Albuquerque, #ABQ. Since one sublimates the glitter flake material rather than the gar- ment for this process, I could select any garment color and fiber con- tent. I opted for dark, cotton-rich knits, adding a sparkling blended crew for one of the pieces to maximize the shine. I wanted a full-front appliqué filled with photographic images of Albuquerque's cultural staples, so I selected a compressed sans-serif typeface to maximize the area of the glitter-flake material. This type- face created a great deal of vertical coverage in relation to the width of the design, which made for a large and impactful graphic with only a short line of text, "#ABQ". Moreover, the small counters in the typeface allowed me to simply stitch them over the film rather than create narrow voids that would be difficult to tear away in the finishing process. DIGITIZING After scrutinizing and recoloring mockups of the type outlines, masking my selected print images until I had my completed art, I set myself to digitizing. I started with a placement line of straight stitch- es just inside the edge of the full design area, creating a frame-out position that would easily allow me to place the glitter flake after the line had run. I then digitized my lettering and outlines, using a den- sity just higher than full coverage so as to ensure clean perforation. IMAGE PREPARATION AND PRINTING TRANSFERS I selected three photographs for the sublimation transfers. One of the mass ascension of hot air balloons at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta; one of the Sandia Mountains that dominate the Albuquerque skyline; and my favorite, a gathering of red and green chiles. I used high-resolution images, but any images with a resolution of 300 dpi at the finished decoration size would do very well. In truth, due to the slightly textured look of glitter flake, the image quality is less key than with other sublimation goods. I've used images in resolutions as low as 150 DPI with reasonably satisfactory results, especially with art lack- ing sharp edges and small details. Glitter flake film's reflective properties can make colors look slight- ly washed out. To ensure a vibrant-looking print, I decided to adjust the levels on each image to slightly oversaturate the colors, deepen shadows, and increase contrast. I ganged the images on a single sheet sized to my press, and ensured extra efficiency by creating three sheets of appliqué material per pressing cycle. I printed my sublima- tion transfers, making sure to verify the color settings specified by my dye manufacturer, and proceeded to the heat press. ON THE PRESS After heating my press to the recommended settings for my sublima- tion dyes, I peeled the white glitter flake material from the carrier, smoothly laying it glitter side up on a Teflon sheet. I placed the glit- ter flake on the bottom platen of the heat press, covering the film with a protective sheet of paper. I quickly pressed this for one second to tack the glitter flake material securely to the Teflon sheet; this protects the adhesive during the sublimation process so that it will adhere to the garment in the final step. I placed a fresh sheet of protective paper on the bottom platen, followed by one of my sublimation transfers, printed side up. I laid the continued on page 95 These shots are taken just before the counters stitched to finish the embroidery portion of the design. As you can see with the balloon fiesta design, I wasn't as careful to allow for a full bleed as I should have been, and I very nearly missed the coverage area; this should serve as a lesson to others —make sure you have plenty of bleed room. With the embroidery finished, carefully tear your glitter flake material away from the edge of the embroidery design. When you are done, you'll have a vibrant, im- pactful design you can be proud of.

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