October '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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42 || P R I N T W E A R O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 There are also styles that will market well to certain groups. For instance, low- profile snapback caps have been extremely popular with basketball fans and other sports-oriented markets. TO EMBROIDERY AND BEYOND There are reasons why some decoration methods are more common on headwear than others. Production costs, turnover, the lifespan of the headwear and deco- ration, and the style with which you're working all factor into the methods you might choose. Without a doubt, embroidery is one of the most popular methods for decorat- ing headwear, and with good reason. Ac- cording to Mosley, it is capable of being placed in locations on the cap that are impossible for printed embellishments in some cases. But, embroidery, patches, and appliqué are far from your only options for decorating headwear. Everything from heat transfers to direct-to-garment and sublimation printing can be applied to headwear, even with the unusual shapes of certain styles. Many decorators prefer to embroider on beanies or ear warmers, for example, since embroidery looks best once the fab- ric stretches to fit to the end user's head. However, provided that the fabric has a high enough polyester or cotton content, these styles can be sublimated or used in direct-to-garment printing for dynamic results with a softer hand that won't crack like stretched screen prints or heat transfers. Even caps, bucket hats, and vi- sors can be applied with sublimation or direct-to-garment prints, as long as the fabric content is correct and the product is pretreated for the latter method. Far left: Mesh backs have been a favorite accent for headwear, espe- cially paneled caps. (Image courtesy Kati Sportcap & Bag) Left: Five- and six-panel caps are the easiest head- wear styles to decorate, but some methods adhere to them more easily than oth- ers. (Image cour- tesy Kati Sport- cap & Bag) Caps, visors, and other pieces of headwear can be used for every- thing from promotional products to uniform programs. (Image courtesy Otto Cap) Hat bill platens can be used to easily decorate visors and caps for designs in unusual places. (Image courtesy Transfer Express)

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