October '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 47 of 102

2 0 1 6 O C T O B E R P R I N T W E A R || 43 Screen printing can be an effective choice for headwear, should your customer want something a little different. For this, Mosley adds that five-panel caps are the best bet for both screen printing and heat transfers because unlike their structured six-panel counterparts, they don't have a hard seam running down the front of the cap. Camper hats could also work for this, depending on the profile of the cap and where the seam is placed. Headwear presents as many opportuni- ties for creativity as other types of garments, if not more. After all, with caps and other styles that feature a wide brim, you have the option to decorate the top and bottom of that brim in addition to the front, back, and sides of the product with many of the previously-mentioned decoration meth- ods. You are not necessarily limited to only decorating on the center of the front of the cap, though it's one of the most easily spot- ted places to put designs or logos. Embel- lishments can appear on every section of headwear. Liu explains that headwear can be decorated on the sandwich part of the visor, and the top and bottom of the visor in addition to the spots previously mentioned. Unique placement is appealing in cer- tain markets. For example, Sue Wilkosky, Transfer Express, notes that printing on the underside of the brim is popular with the urban market. This eye-catching placement method could also possibly be popular with younger end users. In addition, Mosley says that the sides and backs of headwear have also caught on recently, as they attract a va- riety of markets and aren't cost-prohibitive, particularly when embroidered. Aside from its alternative visual appeal, production costs between screen printing, heat transfers, and embroidery are relatively similar in smaller jobs. "The best reason I could give you for that is that embroidery costs are not that much more than screen printing or trans- fers," Mosley explains. But, if your shop receives a very large order, it can actually become more affordable to embroider the entire order in many cases. This is particu- larly true if you are also trying to decorate multiple locations. That being said, heat transfers, screen- printed designs, direct-to-garment or sub- limation prints, and even rhinestones or studs can all be applied to headwear. Plus, all of these methods also present the oppor- tunity for mixed-media decorating. TOOLS OF THE TRADE While caps are the easiest, most conducive headwear styles to decorate and are favored by decorators for that reason, they and al- most all other headwear styles pose addi- tional challenges. For this reason, they re- quire additional equipment. Cap frames and hoops are necessary for embroidering headwear, but your shop may need more if you want to venture into heat transfers, screen printing, or other op- tions. "To heat press caps, you do need a cap press with the rounded platen, and a set of different-sized platens helps too so those low-crown hats don't give you any prob- lems," explains Wilkosky. She adds that there are also brim platens that work with shirt presses if you want to decorate the underside of cap brims. A cap press is also useful if you're planning on sublimating your caps, decorating them with rhine- stones, or any other options that would normally involve a heat press. continued on page 95

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