Category Archives: Clothing

Embroidery – Artwork (Part 2 of a 4 part series)

Embroidering garments is a great way to brand your promotional items.  Distributors that specialize in promo items are able to process orders quickly and use the artwork their customer provides to make an embroidered custom garment.  The artwork provided to a factory is able to be replicated to create your design.

Types of Artwork

Typically, companies require vector artwork to create items but when it comes to embroidery, they are able to be a bit more flexible.  High quality image files will do the trick, although vector artwork is encouraged.  The good news is that you have flexibility with embroidery and raster artwork such as a JPG will work.

Images work in most cases because they are digitized and then can be programmed into the embroidery machine.  Naturally, the clearer the image the better the finished embroidered product.  If you are concerned that your image may not be as high of a quality, then use vectored artwork so that you’re logo will look clearer.


In order for an embroidery machine to create your garment, you must digitize your artwork by creating a digital file.  This process is called digitizing.  When the digital file is uploaded then the machine is capable of stitching the logo onto the garments.  Digitizing lets the factory know the number of stitches required to recreate the design.

Policies and fees differ between factories when it comes to digitizing.  They usually offer their own artwork services and can digitize your design for you at a reasonable price.

Stitch Count

Factories decide the number of stiches it will take to create your design.  The stitch count is simply how many it will take to complete your logo.  The price of your garment increases as the stitch number gets higher.

The more quality the artwork, the better your embroidered garment will look.  Custom garments are popular, easy to order and embroidery adds a special touch to ensure the colors and logo are an exact replication.  Embroidered garments are customizable for your brand and will set you apart with your promotional items.

Athleisure –Popular by design

The athleisure clothing style continues to increase in popularity.  No age group is exempt from this newer and fashionable look.  Consumers want comfort but they want to look good too.

The athleisure style has become a staple for everyone.  Look around and you’ll notice yoga style pants, hoodie jackets and a variety of other athleisure choices in about any store, restaurant and event.  Companies have increased the color options, styles and even the fabrics to tap into this growing clothes phenomena.

Athleisure is an everyday wear type of attire that is casual but trendy. Comfort is essential to consumers and this style fits that perfectly.  These days you see people shopping, going out on a date and even heading to work wearing athleisure clothes.  We’ve seen an increase of acceptability over time and it’s just become an absolutely popular trend.

Polyester is essential when it comes to athletic wear.  This trendy style, athleisure, is no exception to this rule.  Often a polyester blend is used to make these articles of clothes because it provides a moisture-wicking quality that works well as athletes compete or exercise.

With the rise of athleisure clothing, manufacturers have said that customers simply like the poly fabric feel.  They are making products that lack the wicking and antimicrobial properties.  The style is so popular that people will buy it and simply wear it for a variety of occasions.

Future trends show that athleisure clothing will continue to become more accepted and embraced.  Unless you are working in some business like a law office, you’ll be noticing more of this casual style of dress.  There are several pieces that look a bit more dressed up.

In 2017, we will see popularity and interest increase for soft, light fabrics.  Bright colors are in now and will most likely continue to be the most preferred with athleisure products.

Fashion is quite cyclical when it comes to different styles and trends.  Manufacturers see athleisure both on the rise and here to stay for some time to come.  Talk about a great product and style that is attractive, comfortable and widely accepted.

Athleisure – Growing in Popularity

When it comes to clothing, consumers want to look good and feel comfortable at the same time.  One type of apparel that’s become quite popular is sports apparel known as “athleisure” clothing.  Technological advances in fabric have helped with this concept and the industry trend is on the rise for this type of everyday wear.

The idea of wearing your workout clothes for typical dress wear may be new to some.  However, take a glance around the grocery store, local coffee shop and gas station where you’ll notice what’s called athleisure style clothing everywhere.

The athleisure look includes a variety of styles and often has some sort of polyester in the fabric.  The reason for poly is because the clothing will hang and drape well, has wicking capability and makes the garment more lightweight.

Popular athleisure styles include:

  • Yoga style pants
  • Light poly jackets
  • Hoodies
  • Jogging pants

These days, athleisure attire is becoming more acceptable at the office, on a date and for weekend activity.  The market is booming with trendy, fresh product lines by Adidas, Nike or Under Armour that come in all styles and colors.  Consumers love choices and athleisure clothing allows them plenty of options.

There are three trends to note when it comes to athleisure products.

  1. Decoration

Embellishing athleisure clothing has become popular.  While the decoration makes the wearables more expensive, people are often willing to pay the increase in price.  Some companies are able to help the mark up because they create clothes and sell directly to decorators and then retail stores.

  1. Quarter-zips

Regardless of the type of clothing, quarter-zips have become most popular style wise.  You’ll notice hoodies, poly-fleece pull overs and even shorts with quarter-zips.  This style is in and seems to be quite versatile.

  1. Bright colors

Not only do consumers want soft, comfortable fabric but they want plentiful color options too.  Bright and bold colors are extremely popular when it comes to the athleisure style.

The athleisure look is quite prevalent and well accepted.  Consumers find these wearables to be comfortable, colorful and attractive.  New styles continue to come on the market and this trend is most likely to be around for quite some time.

Performance Apparel is Growing Quickly

Performance apparel is huge in the garment industry these days!  In fact, it is one of the fastest growing facets of the industry.  Performance apparel is clothing that performs a purpose.  What a novel idea!

Athletes need apparel that will help them wick the sweat off of them as they compete, perform and train. This type of clothing will ensure better comfort and give them the ability to stay more cool when it comes to long or short term physical activity.

A Few Options for Performance Apparel:

1. What is performance apparel made of?
Polyester plastic is used in performance apparel.  Basically, this clothing has the same material that you find in plastic bottles.  (Yes, as in your bottled Coke!)

2. Can you still print on polyester plastic?
Traditional screen printing is not a good choice for embellishing polyester. However, you can still decorate and ornament polyester plastic.  How?  Be sure you go with something like embroidery or vinyl.  You’ll find these are common ways to embellish this type of fabric.

Occasionally, you find that products that are embroidered will pucker up.  Don’t let this deter you.  A seasoned embroiderer should be able to handle this problem.

3. Other options?
Another option is that you can use laser etching.  The way this option works is that a light beam will peel layers back to allow for permanent markings.  You’ll find this is similar to a tattoo type effect and the water wicking capabilities will be retained.

Screen printing is ok but you’ll find that it messes up the water wicking shirt’s breathability.  No one wants to be soaked in sweat.  It’s best to avoid screen printing for performance apparel, although you do see those products out there.

Performance apparel product lines are on the rise!  There are many options out there but the products that stick with water wicking capabilities are far more popular.

We would love to hear your comments. Contact us today!

Tutorial on Laser Etch

When you want to create a laser-etched t-shirt, this is what you need to have ready.

  1. Choose The Right Material

      It is best for you to choose garments that are made from the right materials. Go with:

  • polyester for a sharp look
  • denim for a slightly bleached look
  • polar fleece gives a textured look

Some thinner materials like what is used to make certain types of running shorts can work. However, it      is important that you do not use 100% cotton or poly/cotton blends for this process.

  1. Give The Company The Right Image File Format

When you have your logo, branding, or designs put together, be sure you have a vector image file              created. It is important to provide the company that is doing laser-etching with the vector file.                      Otherwise, they will not be able to modify the size the way they need to.

Stick with AI, EPS, and PDF formats for your image file.

  1. Pick The Right Colors

With laser-etching, you should go with medium colors and tones. These colors make the etching pop.        Avoid too dark or too light tones to make sure the design is seen once the etching is done. If you are         unsure of the right color schemes, ask the company to give you some suggestions.

Steps the Company Will Need to Take

Once you decide on the right material and provide the vector image to the company, they will take it           from there. They have different steps they will take to ensure that the laser-etching turns out the way         you want.

              *  Edit The Color Of the Image

Laser-etching creates a tone-on-tone effect, which means that the image will need to be changed               to all one color. When they do this, it will tell the laser software where it needs to do the etching.

             *  Test the Material Before Etching the Design

They will need to test the material of the garments that you are bringing them to ensure that the                   laser-etching will work properly. It is better that they do a small test to make sure the garments will            not be ruined.

Laser-etching is a great option, especially for sports teams that want a specific design on their uniform. Plenty of other companies use this type of printing to create the designs they desire.

Artwork Ownership Basics – Who Really Owns Your Art?

When you have designers create artwork for your company, who owns the design? Are you allowed to use it anyway you like? Do you have to give credit? These are questions that might have answers that will surprise you.

In General, Who Actually Owns the Art?

As a general rule of thumb, you can assume that the person who drew the work actually retains the rights. Even if you were charged a fee for the artwork, the person who put it together actually owns the copyright.

The Copyright Act of 1976 (USC Title 17) was put into place in order to protect artists and their work. Independently contracted artists retain the rights to the work they create for their clients unless otherwise specified.

Exceptions to the Rule

There are some exceptions to the copyright act that was established. If an artist is work for hire, then the one who hired them owns the work.

For example, if a person is hired by a company and they pay an hourly or salary wage to the individual, then their artwork is owned by the one who pays the salary. That would be considered a duty or responsibility of the job.

If you hire a person on staff to draw or create artwork, then you have the rights to the work they create.

Agreements Should Be Made Ahead of Time

It is important that you understand that without an agreement, when you hire an independent contractor or firm, they have the rights to the artwork they put together for you. That is why it is very important to get written contracts ahead of time.

Be sure that you ask the firm or independent contractor to draft an agreement with you stating that you retain ownership of the artwork and that they relinquish the rights. The same goes with print shops.

If you do not own the rights to the artwork that is created for you, then the artist has the ability to charge you for its use. Basically, the fees you have paid to the artist is for their time, not their finished product. Get it in writing!


Performance Wear

Performance apparel is one of the fastest growing sectors of today’s garment industry.

What is performance apparel?

These are garments that perform with a purpose.  They help athletes and active people keep cool, comfortable, and dry through managing moisture.

Polyester fabric has become the fabric of choice by many of the manufactures as it can be engineered to wick moisture away from the body.  In its simplest form, Polyester is plastic.   The same material used in making beverage bottles.

So how do you embellish plastic?

Screen printing is one option.  But when you place ink on a water wicking shirt you terminate the breathability of the garment.  All of the sudden, you’re drenched in sweat!

Embroidery is a common choice by the corporate community.  They are looking for style, fashion, and notoriety.  The problem with embroidery can be the puckering effect.  Many embroiders treat polyester the same as cotton and are not making the necessary changes to their sewing process.

A relatively new alternative is laser etching.  Laser etching uses a light beam to peel back microscopic layers of the fabric to create a permanent toned-down marking.  Some of our clients like to refer to it as a tattoo effect.   The water wicking stays intact; now you are wearing cool and innovative clothing without the billboard effect.

View our video Embroidery VS. Laser Etching