Printwear

July '12

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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and set it apart from its commodity coun- terparts. For a variety in fabric form in this cat- egory, acid and ombre washes are top choices. Acid washes give a distressed, beat up and washed-out effect. Like burnouts, the severity and size of the effect can be controlled by the amount and placement of the chemical. But, instead of removing fibers, the wash simply removes the dye, Mayeri describes. Another popular wash seen at both re- tail and wholesale is ombre. Historically an ancient tie-dyeing process, a garment is dipped entirely in a dye bath (unless a touch of white is desired) and saturated at different levels, creating a gradient effect of light-to-dark shades. Both this and the acid wash can, fortunately, accept all major forms of decoration with ease, as the integ- rity of the shirt is left intact. Not all specialty styles are so because they change the outward appearance of a garment; some simply add benefit to the shirt. Such is the case with enzyme and sili- cone washes, which leave shirts looking the same as a standard T, but change the fabric to have a better hand for this industry- wide trend, according to McClaran. An enzyme cleans the fabric's surface, explains Mayeri, removing pilling and surface hairs. Silicon washes, which can be broken into categories of cationic and non-ionic, alter a fabric's hand and drape. Cationic wash achieves a dramatically softer hand than the non-ionic as it uses a plastic polymer. This polymer makes the fabric smooth in such a way that it no lon- ger accepts inks the same as non-treated garments and doesn't properly work with tack spray. This leads to slipping on the printing press, which can cause registra- tion and consistency issues. Because of this, single-color designs are the only deco- ration Mayeri suggests to use on this par- ticular wash. While non-ionic doesn't achieve quite the same effect, it still produces a soft hand and is far easier for decorators to work with. When decorating non-ionic shirts, which work well with all tech- nologies, be mindful that the decora- tion matches the shirt. For example, it's counterproductive to use plastisol on this type of shirt as it has been put through an continued on page 97 Use INFO #90 2012 JULY PRINTWEAR | 45

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