August '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 7 A U G U S T P R I N T W E A R || 53 For heat printing, Julie Hawthorne, F&M Expressions, explains that decorators should be aware the term "fleece" can apply to a wide variety of items since it refers to the way a fabric is manufactured rather than the composition. "You can have fleece made of natural cot- ton, manufactured poly, a blend, or some third type of material," Hawthorne states. "Because not all fleece is manufactured from the same substrate, all fleece can- not be treated the same way when it comes to heat pressing it." Hawthorne points out that many fleece garments have decorated patches of non-fleece fabric ca- pable of withstanding the heat of a transfer application. Decorators can also consider the 100 percent cotton variety of fleece, which features a plush side and a smooth knit side. Alice Wolf, Madeira USA, says that embroiderers should consider add- ing fleece to their cache if they haven't already since it provides multiple op- portunities. She elaborates, stating that because of its moisture-wicking, soft, warm, and washable qualities, it works well with many embroidery applica- tions. "[Fleece] is one of the fastest-growing apparel categories out there," says Wolf. "Fleece has become a part of the athlei- sure wear phenomenon that places com- fortable active wear everywhere from the tennis court to the grocery store, from a yoga mat to a beach resort." FINDING THE MARKET When seeking out clients, embroider- ers in particular have a major advan- tage with fleece, explains Wolf, as the customization market for logos, mono- For year-round business, infant products like this baby blanket are a popular embroidered fleece item. (Image courtesy Company Outfitters – Say it with Stitches) Typically, sim- pler designs work better on fleece for screen print- ing. (Image courtesy Fruit of the Loom) Decorators can use the non-fleece panels of jackets and garments to successfully apply transfers. (Image courtesy F&M Expressions) Inset: Heat transfers that adhere at a lower temperature are usually best for fleece decoration. (Image courtesy F&M Expressions)

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