July '12

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Opposite: When done at random, burnouts take on a camo-like effect, with the severity and sheerness of the print determined by the chemicals application and ini- tial weight of the shirt. (Image courtesy EVA Tees) HEATHERS While they may not be universally consid- ered a specialty fabric, blends, in this case, fall into the specialty category as they can often lend a unique appearance or show- case special qualities not found in standard cotton/poly faire. High-class blends in- clude cotton/model, polyester/rayon and polyester/rayon/cotton tri-blends. Each offers a hand, weight and appearance all its own. But perhaps the most sought after blends at the moment are heather fabrics. The soft, muted appearance of heather can be created in one of two ways: from pre-dyed yarns, or by cross-dying. The former is made of a blend of yarns which are pre-dyed in different colors and then spun together, explains Deb McClaran, Alstyle Apparel. For ex- ample, she says, a heather gray is created with black and white yarns spun together to create a speck- led gray appearance. The second method, Morey Mayeri, Royal Apparel, explains, is done with a cotton/polyester blend where one of the fibers is targeted and dyed, leaving the other fiber with a different hue. Heather fabrics lend a vintage appearance to what would other- wise be a staple fabric combina- tion, and gives a worn-in look and feel. "Heather often adds a layer of dimension," describes McClaran, making it an interesting and desir- able blank for decoration. Since both of the above men- tioned methods don't necessarily change the chemical composition of the shirt itself, it is suitable for all forms of decoration, Mayeri reports. However, he does issue warning to take caution when using discharge inks on the cross-dyed method, as the printing process will take away dyes in the cotton. The result adds a faded ap- pearance to the decoration, which, in some cases, may be desired. It's simply a matter of preference and a side effect for custom- ers to keep in mind. BURN, BABY A trend that's been on the scene for a few seasons now is burnout. Hot at retail, the fabric is created by applying an acid on a blended shirt made up of plant and man- made fibers, most typically, cotton and polyester, says Boxercraft's Jessica Levine. The acid eats away at the plant-based fi- bers leaving only the polyester exposed; resulting in a sheer design in the area the acid was applied. This can create thin or thick camo-like patterns if done at ran- dom, or specific repeating patterns like peace signs, smiley faces or, more promo- tionally, logos. Achieving this version is much like cre- ating a screen print, explains Mayeri, in that it utilizes a pattern to tactfully apply acid to only the desired spots. How sheer the design and the contrast to the rest of the shirt is determined by fabric weight and cotton content, notes Levine. For in- stance, a 30- singles fabric and a 40-singles fabric will each have a distinct look when burned out, with the 40-singles garment the sheerer of the two. Decorating this type of fabric can be dif- ficult, as a standard print may not gel with the substrate's texture/surface. Since it is not a solid T-shirt, decoration shouldn't be applied as if it were, offers Mayeri. "The more abstract, the more random, the more distressed the print, the better it will look." This, he states, is far more important than the technique used, as the graphic needs to lend itself to the design. 2012 JULY PRINTWEAR | 43 Use INFO # 274

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