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 || 55 printers also stick to less-complicated de- signs for fleece. "Because the fabric is thicker, it can move under the squeegee; typically from front to back," Winters adds. "Fleece can also shrink under the heat of a flash." Both these factors, he says, make compli- cated, tight registration difficult at times. For embroidery, both Wolf and Davy suggest using a water-soluble topping hooped in with the garment and back- ing. The thickness of fleece can often cause smaller lettering to "sink" into the garment, and the topping helps hold the stitches above the fleece, providing a crisp and readable logo or design. Embroider- ers can typically use a 40-weight thread to start. For more intricate, detailed designs, Wolf recommends a 60-weight thread paired with a medium-weight cutaway stabilizer. "Like anything, it's mostly about having an understanding of how different materi- als will react when you're putting them on the embroidery machine," Davy adds. With heat transfer application on fleece, Hawthorne suggests using transfers that can be applied at a low temperature. With any transfer, however, it's best to check with a supplier to find the best option, since each company's transfers will have different time and temperature require- ments. She also recommends using a mousepad as a platform to elevate the decoration area of a garment. With this approach, Haw- thorne says, the remaining seams and zip- pers won't obstruct the pressure or adhe- sion process. While transfers can be more challenging than screen printing fleece, there are some benefits to this method. Hawthorne ex- plains that when compared to screen print- ing, a decorator doesn't introduce multiple applications of heat with the transfer. "The benefit of using heat transfers over screen printing when it comes to fleece, you are not heating the fabric every time you apply a layer of ink to a portion of the garment," she states. "This means that you Workwear and corporate logos are a popular request for embroidered fleece. (Image courtesy Company Outfitters – Say it with Stitches)

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