Good, Better, Best

Learning how to choose what kind of t-shirt to use for your craft or screen-printing project depends on your crafting or screen-printing business needs. Some fabric and screen-printing choices make more sense for your bottom line than others. Or perhaps you’re looking for a different kind of t-shirt for your business due to changing needs.

Fabric and garment construction vary between t-shirts and, thus, yield different quality results. What kind of t-shirt you choose depends on your project’s price point, desired quality, and how you want the fabric to feel. Natural fibers tend to be more durable and age better over time than synthetic fibers, like poly-blends. This is because different fabrics have varying expiration dates, so a blend is only as long-lasting as its parts. However, this isn’t always the case, and, perhaps, a synthetic fabric blend may be better suited for your project. Some synthetic blends have superior elasticity and breathability. So, what kind of fabric you choose depends on your goals.

While several factors influence the quality of t-shirts, four stand out: the fabric used, how a screen-printing method has been applied, and which garment construction best fits your needs. Depending on the desired effect for your final product’s design, it may make sense to go with a more cost-effective fabric if the screen-printing application and ink are particularly well-done. Then again, if the fabric quality doesn’t stand up to constant wear, then it won’t matter how well-made a print may be.

Different kinds of cotton vary in fiber length and in how tightly those fibers are woven. The longer and tighter the fibers are, the longer the fabric will last. Long-lasting quality depends, ultimately, on a fabric’s softness and density rather than its weight.

 

What are some essential things to keep in mind regarding customized t-shirt quality? Below are some considerations:

  • Understand the durability and breathability of the fabric.
  • Check image quality or embroidered details.
  • Read wash and care directions for t-shirts.
  • Inspect hems, seams, and stitches for missing threads inside and outside of the garment.
  • Count a garment’s stitches – the more stitches; the more time was spent on constructing it.
  • Whether polyester, fleece, cotton or tri-blends, how will the fabric hold up to screen printing?

Here are some considerations on how to choose a t-shirt based on three levels of quality from Clothing Shop Online:

 

  1. Good

Perhaps you’re gifting a t-shirt to a friend or crafting with the kids. Or maybe, you’re creating a one-off t-shirt for a one-time event. Either way, you may only be looking for a simple t-shirt to do your at-home craft project.  Likely these types of t-shirts won’t be worn as often or needed for screen-printing, so you may not need them to be as durable or soft. Several low-cost options exist for budget-friendly craft activities:

  • Low Price Range: Several budget-friendly t-shirt options exist in the $1.99 – $3.99 range and are easy to buy for a family. Clothing Shop Online has dozens of budget options from companies like BELLA + CANVAS, Gildan, Anvil, Fruit of the Loom, and even Alternative.
  • Shirts that are made of 100% cotton: While these kinds of t-shirts are not as soft as tri-blends, and may shrink in the wash if proper instructions are not followed, 100% cotton tees are durable and don’t shrink as quickly as other kinds of fabrics.
  • Quarter-turned refers to a textile manufacturing process that rotates 1/4 of a turn to put a crease on a product’s side rather than its front, thus eliminating the ridge that appears down the front of a t-shirt and potentially causing it to drape oddly.
  • Shirt Fit tees are usually unisex, or box fit and do not conform to people’s body shape.
  • Budget-friendly t-shirt options that feature all of the above factors include tees from these brands:
  • Gildan – Heavy Cotton T-Shirt – 5000
  • Hanes – ComfortSoft® Short Sleeve T-Shirt – 5280
  • Fruit of the Loom – HD Cotton Short Sleeve T-Shirt – 3930R
  1. Better

One the other hand, if your project requires a better quality t-shirt on which to screen print or embroider that will last several years, there are several fashion basics to choose from. The main features of better-quality t-shirts include:

  • Mid-Price Range: Clothing Shop online has several mid-range fashion basics in the $4.00 – $8.99 range, which are priced for customers who prefer to balance a higher-quality end-product within their budget. Alternative, Jerzees, BELLA + CANVAS, Burnside, C2 Sport, FeatherLite, Comfort Colors, and Champion all offer several mid-range options.
  • Tri-Blend fabrics are made of polyester, cotton, and rayon, offering a higher quality t-shirt. Tri-blends marry the elasticity of polyester with the comfort and durability of cotton. Rayon gives this blend a beautiful drape, making tri-blends ideal for yoga pieces or higher-end fashion separates.
  • Ring-Spun cotton, in contrast to 100% cotton, is much softer. This is because its cotton fibers twist and thin in a way that makes it more durable than yarn. This cotton option is prized for its long-lasting softness and durability in the wash. In general, screen printing often looks better on 100% ring-spun cotton.
  • Side-Seams run down the sides of t-shirts. Because they help better conform to your body, t-shirts with side-seams also cost more to produce.

 

  1. Best

Businesses tend to choose the best-quality t-shirts because of employees’ need to wear t-shirt uniforms day in and out, like people who work in restaurants and grocery stores, or for special company events, like those who work at tech-companies or other kinds of businesses that have cool company-branded t-shirts made. Band t-shirts and sports teams also tend to make their t-shirts from the best-quality fabrics and screen printing or embroidery techniques, enabling them to charge top-dollar for their end-product.

  • High Price Range: Arguably, the most expensive option of the three in this line-up, t-shirts in the $9.00+ range can charge more for branded products because they feature higher-end fabric finishes that frequently cost more to make. However, the best quality fabrics and finishes tend to last the longest, offer the most attractive draping and new fabric technologies.
  • Durability: Shirts within this category are usually used for screen-printing, water-based printing, and sublimation. Ultimately, if you invest in your printing techniques, as well as ink, you want to make sure that your designs will last. How ink adheres to quality fabric often determines how long your designs will last with repeated washing. For instance, t-shirts used for activewear or as work uniforms require fabrics that can endure increased activity.
  • Specialized features:
    • Moisture-wicking (sports and outdoor-hiking wear)
    • Polyester blends
    • Anti-odor technology (activewear and uniforms)
    • Side Seams/ Retail Fit (band t-shirts and company branding)
    • Latest fabric technologies
  • Three high-range t-shirts that offer great-quality fabrics, specialized features, durability, and better fits include:

 

Whatever your t-shirt printing needs may be, consider some of the above details when figuring out what kind of t-shirt to purchase individually or in bulk. If you’re trying to economize your bottom-line as other business factors arise, you have several fabric options from which to choose.

 

Getting The Most Out of Your Wardrobe

There are all kinds of wardrobes to suit our needs. But what works for one person’s lifestyle, may not for another. So it’s important to remember that fashion is personal, a reflection of how we view ourselves and the world around us, as well as the times (and climates) in which we live.

Though styles change seasonally or with economic swings, you don’t need to run out and buy new clothes every season, a common approach in America and Asia. We can take a page out of our European neighbors’ fashion handbook and wear less, but better, ultimately resulting in a more sustainable way of thinking about fashion.

Too often we buy clothes on a whim because the sale was just “too good” to pass up or because it looked good when we tried it on in the store but didn’t give its wearability enough consideration. Are you saving your clothes for “one day,” but they somehow keep accumulating and you can’t remember the last time you wore them? Or, perhaps, you do remember, but you’re unwilling to part with an item because of sentimental attachment? How many times have you worn an item of clothing that you bought because you found them on deep-sale, but they didn’t quite fit and you’ve never bothered getting them tailored?

This doesn’t mean you have to give up on trends. After all, some become classics over time while other trends reimagine classics. But, you may discover that you can get more wear out of your wardrobe by creating a classic foundation and mixing in high and low pieces.

 

  1. Clean out your wardrobe

According to Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, in her book, You Are What You Wear, the majority of people only wear 20% of their wardrobe about 80% of the time. At some point, you’ll run out of closet space, and it’s time to figure out not only what you have, but what you’d like to keep and why.

  • There are several questions to ask yourself as you detox your wardrobe. Don’t hang on to clothes that no longer fit you. Unless you’re healing postpartum, you likely aren’t wearing most of your clothes that don’t again. In the event of being postpartum, wait a year to one and a half years before detoxing most of your wardrobe so that you don’t have to buy all of your basics again unless they no longer fit your new normal. If this isn’t true for you, don’t be afraid to be ruthless. If a garment is stained and you’ve sent it to the dry cleaner several times and it’s still not gone, get rid of the garment. If items are still in good shape, gift or donate your clothes. If you’re safe at home at the moment, give your partner or kids a fashion-show, asking them to be loving and truthful, and edit from there.
  • Take inventory of your wardrobe. Another strategy here is to lay out all of your clothes by type – dresses with dresses, pants with pants. What still fits? Does it fit well? What do you love? Do you need it? Will you ever tailor it so it does fit?
  • One-in / One-out Strategy. Thinking of buying something new? Then consider getting rid of (a.k.a. donating or gifting) a piece that no longer serves you. This way you can buy what you need without adding to your clutter and practice more thoughtful consumerism.
  • And if you’re the type of person that loves new clothes all of the time, consider rental fashion, or exchanging clothes with your friends on occasion.

 

  1. Create a foundation of classic, quality basics

Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Annie Hall, Blow-up, Sex and the City, Clueless. What do they all have in common? A style that transcends time and space. If you buy well once, you theoretically won’t have to replace your clothes as often – assuming you take care of them. Classic pieces don’t have to be expensive. Nor do you need to buy new for your wardrobe to be in style. After all, fashions that endure are the ones we keep around longest, especially for work or basic day-to-day style. Vintage pieces offer a sustainable approach to fashion that reveals how classics don’t age, assuming you’ve taken care of your pieces or buy well-preserved ones. Your wardrobe can consist of high and low pieces that you’ve sourced in a variety of price ranges.

 

And just because fashion stylists suggest everyone should buy certain investment clothing pieces – like black capri pants, a white button-down, a wool coat, a trench coat – doesn’t mean each piece is practical for your life. Consider what works for your style and local climate, and plan your foundational wardrobe pieces from there.

 

  1. Create a versatile wardrobe

Building a versatile wardrobe means having clothes you can wear in a variety of ways. This can consist of both classic and comfy items. You can take various garments from morning to evening, or from work to after-work events, without needing to stop and change if you’re short on time.

  • Create a capsule wardrobe if you really want to minimize the time and money you spend getting ready. A capsule wardrobe is a mini wardrobe that reduces your style to its bare necessities, changing seasonally or annually.
  • Reimagine basic items, such as your favorite tee or a basic white tee, seasonally.
  • Consider how to dress up hoodies for work, especially if you’re on a Zoom call.

 

 

 

  1. Taking care of your clothes

How you take care of your clothes is as important as what you choose to keep or buy. Make sure you learn how to care for your clothes with Clothing Shop Online’s Clothing Care Guide, which has already outlined research for you on how to read clothing care labels and how to care for different fabrics, from stain removal to ironing.

  • Pre-treat and wash your clothes according to care labels on time to prevent stubborn stains.
  • Learn how to care for a range of fabrics with this guide to different fabrics, as well as learning fabric care 101.
  • Rotate your clothes out by season and store them properly to prevent further damage.
  • Invest in a quality tailor. If a garment you love no longer fits you or you bought a high-quality classic, but it doesn’t quite fit you right, take it to a tailor. In the long-run, it may save you money to hold on to a piece that fits you well than having to find the perfect fit off-track, since most clothing in department stores are manufactured to fit only 25% of the population as with Victoria Secret’s undergarments.

 

Start detoxing your wardrobe this weekend to get the most out of your clothes! It may help you to rediscover or edit your style according to what suits you without having to be new clothes. Consider these tips on how to get the most out of your wardrobe with Clothing Shop Online!

 

 

The Vacation Packing List

You’ve saved to go on a vacation. You’ve booked your house rental or camping site. You’ve taken time off from work. The kids are even excited. But preparing for your family vacation, without a packing list, can leave important items behind or affect your vacation.

Before Packing, Some Security Considerations

Before leaving your home, securing it is crucial to both peace of mind and safety. Your home, regardless of where you go on vacation, will benefit from some consideration as much as your packing list. A few things to prepare before you pack:

  • Clean out your fridge so that you don’t return to a hot mess to disinfect when you’ll be exhausted from the return trip.
  • Create copies of important papers and identity information in case someone in your family loses their ID or bank cards. Or worse, your home experiences an unexpected break-in or natural disaster in your absence. How are you going to recover what you lost? Prove your identity? Or turn in an insurance claim without proof? Even though a vacation is the opposite of an evacuation situation, it’s more crucial than ever to be prepared. At the very least, it’s less work and emotional investment down the line if you have to leave in a hurry; you’ll have a document evacuation file on a USB key, as well as some important copies, in case you don’t have access to a printer.
  • Secure your home while on vacation.
  • Arrange for pet care or plan to bring them with you.

Organizing your Vacation Packing List:

  1. Checking the Weather

Whether you’re vacationing at the beach or in the mountains, check the weather during the time you’re expecting to be gone in order to know what to pack. This way, you’re less likely to overpack and to have appropriate clothing.

  • Download a weather app on your phone so that you don’t have to guess the weather by sticking your finger in the air.
  • Check the weather the week beforehand, the night before, and again the morning of your departure and address your packed luggage accordingly.
  • Even if you’re sure the weather will be stunning, always pack a small umbrella, long pants and a light sweater since nature is unpredictable and can shift quickly, but don’t go overboard and pack more than a basic, back-up outfit.
  • If you’re packing for cold weather, wear your heavy boots and coat to save space in your bags and carry less, especially if you have to worry about kids and keeping them on track.

  1. Choosing the Right Bag to Travel

However, you’ve chosen to travel, pack as little as you can get away with. A hard case rolling suitcase is best for flying since luggage gets tossed about, often violently, risking tears in luggage fabric. Pick luggage sized for how much you’ll bring. Whenever possible, try bringing only one big luggage for the family and separate bookbags or smaller pieces that each family member can carry on their own without assistance.

  • Make sure your luggage has four wheels and is made of lightweight materials for easier hauling. You can also use luggage for long car trips, but don’t bother bringing one camping. Between the uneven terrain and potential mud, you’ll be sorry you did.
  • A trusted, quality backpack for each member of the family may be all that you need if it’s a short enough trip. However, it’s also great to bring a backpack for small, personal items, spare clothes, and toiletries you may need immediately or in case your bigger luggage gets lost or damaged.
  • Or, instead of a backpack, consider a sturdy, quality tote

  1. Ways to Pack

How you pack is as important as what you pack. Using a combination of packing cubes and rolling techniques will help you fit more into your bag or luggage with fewer wrinkles. When planning on what to bring, lay your clothes out on the bed and then reduce by one third or even half if it’s just a short trip. Consider bringing some packets of laundry detergent or a laundry bar so that you can wash delicate items or underwear more often. If your budget allows, hotels sometimes offer laundry services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Beach Vacation

Make sure your family is stocked in sunscreen (mineral-based is safe for coral reefs and poses fewer carcinogens), lip protection, bug spray, sunglasses and swimsuits. For a beach vacation, consider packing:

  • One beach towel per family member.
  • A hat for each family member to protect the face, ears, and neck, common skin cancer areas.
  • A beach chair if you don’t like hot sand heating you up, a particular consideration for kids and people with lower heat tolerance.
  • Tote bags to carry snacks, books, sunscreen, and any other details.

 

  1. Camping

Knowing what to pack on a camping trip is a particular art form with its own, extensive considerations that will not only keep your family comfortable but safe from fluctuating temperatures, the elements, and lack of infrastructure. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a beginner, a camping packing list will be key to a positive, memorable experience. If you’re a beginner, it might be a good idea to rent some camping equipment rather than investing thousands of dollars in things you might not want to reuse and will take up space.

 

In general, you should pack as lightly as possible, especially if you’ll be hiking and carrying packs. And you might have to carry an injured family member’s pack or a small child’s if they get too tired. While each pack should have a small survival kit in case you get separated, you should pack versatile clothing.

 

The clothing you wear camping should wick moisture from your skin. Whether it’s hot, cold, or rains, moisture-wicking fabrics, like some poly-blends, will dry faster and prevent chafing, as well as protect you against the elements. You’ll also need to choose breathable, waterproof, and windproof fabrics. Remember that showers are less likely while camping unless you plan on glamping in an RV or bring a solar shower. Avoid denim and 100% cotton because they hold on to moisture and don’t dry quickly. Layering is a science that can help manage fluctuations in temperature. When camping, focus on function, not fashion, or you could find yourself overheated or hypothermic.  Besides sturdy hiking shoes, make sure to pack:

  • A jacket that’s well insulated.
  • A sweatshirt to the layer beneath the jacket as a middle layer.
  • Appropriate socks for the expected weather, either wool or poly-blends.

  1. Road Trip

When organizing a road trip vacation, pack light because you may not have a lot of trunk space and will need enough room to stretch legs out and be comfortable. Before packing for your road trip, make sure to prepare your car for the long drive.

  • If it’s not built into your vehicle, put a GPS app on your phone to navigate more efficiently since you won’t know the roads
    • Plan frequent breaks, particularly accomodating small children, elderly family members or family members with health considerations.
    • Bring age-appropriate entertainment depending on how many hours you’ll be on the road.
    • Download a music playlist onto your phone since radio stations frequencies change between counties.
    • Bring blankets for naps.

 

Be prepared for any vacation packing situation with these suggestions from Clothing Shop Online!

The Clothing Care Guide

Buying clothes created to last is one thing. Making them last is another. From knowing what fabrics last to learning how to care for them, sometimes clothing care can feel like a guessing game despite their fabric care instructions. Properly caring for your clothes helps you save money over the long haul, potentially enabling you to share clothes with friends or passing down clothes between kids or other family members over the years, even through generations. 

However, learning how to take care of your clothes isn’t just ideal for your wallet, but also the environment. The fewer clothes that end up in landfills, the fewer resources, and raw materials, from water to electricity, go to waste in making them. Fast fashion is on its way out as more brands invest in quality fabrics that can better withstand washes under harsher conditions, and as consumers become more eco-savvy. You may be done with last season’s trends, but their effects linger in their continued presence in landfills for decades. The Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) finds many textile factories so dangerous that it regulates them as hazardous waste generators – the chemicals used in making and treating fabrics lingering for hundreds of years in soil and groundwater. Clothing and footwear account for more than 8 percent of global gas emissions associated with the effects of human-made climate change.

Here are five ways to approach clothing care from Clothing Shop Online:

 

1. Purchasing Quality Clothing

  1. What to look for when buying clothes

No matter what you choose to wear, you should genuinely enjoy it, making it more likely you’ll continue wearing a garment. According to the E.P.A.’s 2015 data, the last year for which it has related information, the U.S. generated about 75 pounds of textile waste per person, which reveals more than ten times the population’s increase 1960. As important as your purchase’s quality is, ask yourself, will you wear that garment again? Or are you purchasing it for single-use? Purchasing quality clothing centers on a variety of issues that aren’t limited to fabric and structure. 

Does a clothing piece fit well? Does it feel pleasant to the touch? A good fit makes it more likely that you’ll keep wearing something, even if it may no longer be on-trend. 

Can you see through it? Can you pull it? If you can, it’s too thin, which means that lovely piece is too high maintenance. If you’re not committed to washing a piece of clothing by hand and letting it air dry or don’t want to invest in dry cleaning, it’ll end up buried in your closet or the trash. Generally speaking, thicker fabrics last longer than thinner ones, like silk, because they can withstand multiple washes and may take less work to clean. At the same rate, if you can tug at something and the stitches readily show, then it wasn’t constructed with durability in mind. Stitches should be even, at least eight per inch. 

Is it made from a quality blend? Does it feel pleasant to the touch? When buying new clothes, look for linings, high-quality cotton, and Tencel. Linings in work pants, work jackets, and some dresses help delicate fabric last longer by preventing the material from rubbing on itself, which can thin it out over time.

Unlike shorter-strand cotton, Pimas or cotton blended with polyester are longer, more durable, and less likely to pill. While this tendency also makes fabrics more expensive, consider how much you’ll save by not having to replace clothing often, or pay for costly dry cleaning. Buy clothes made from polyester with caution, however, since polyester is primarily plastic, creating microplastics that end up in drinking water. Natural fabrics also tend to pill less than synthetic ones.

    b. Purchasing Wardrobe Staples 

Versatility, or the ability to wear something with various things in your closet, ensures that you’ll keep wearing an item of clothing. As “capsule wardrobes” become more popular, versatile clothing options have come into vogue. Beyond their timelessness, wardrobe basics like quality denim, a unisex white t-shirt, a basic blazer, a little black dress for women, or durable boots for men can last years, if not decades, if you spend the time taking care of your clothing.

2. Reading Clothing Care Labels

Laundry symbols read like code for many people. Unlike writing code for software or websites, you don’t need several books or screens open to understanding clothing care labels. Washing and drying symbols indicate precisely how to maintain your clothing without the guesswork. Investing in a clothesline or drying rack can help you extend the life of your clothes significantly. But if you’re not willing to put in the extra effort, avoid buying clothing that requires this kind of maintenance in the first place since it will cost you time. 

When in doubt, you can also wash your clothes less often, like denim or blazers, which don’t require washing with each use. Unlike cotton t-shirts or athletic wear, which need to be laundered often to prevent bacteria buildup, you can get away with not washing some clothing items every time you wear it. 

Before purchasing clothing, always read clothing care labels to decide whether you can commit to its maintenance. 

    a. Washing Labels

Fortunately, wash labels help us immediately decide at which temperature or cycle we need to launder clothes. Most clothing off the rack comes with washing techniques indicated by symbols. Manufacturers usually designate temperature by the number of dots in the water symbol signified by waves. “Wash cold” ranges between 65 and 85F, often referring to more delicate fabrics like linen or silk, and some poly-blends, while “wash warm” goes up to 105F max. The line between washing fabrics in cold or warm water is often thin, but you can get it right by washing it on cold when it is doubtful. “Wash hot” reaches up to 120F maximum beyond which clothes may wear down faster or shrink. 

In contrast, a tub symbol represents various wash cycles with one or two lines drawn under it. Options include: “machine wash,” “hand wash,” “do not wash,” “dry clean only,” and “do not dry clean.” More simply, some labels clarify things by suggesting you wash on normal, permanent press, or the delicate cycle. 

    b. Drying Labels

To help avoid shrinking your clothes, drying labels offer symbols to help you navigate the drying process. Symbols like the square with a circle in the center indicate if tumble-drying is permitted, while the square with a cross through it communicates that you need to wring out the garment. A square with a horizontal line means you need to lay the garment flat to dry. Hand wash symbols appear as a tub with a hand sign. 

3. Removing Stains

While manufacturers may provide washing and drying labels, stain removal is more complicated. Get it right every time with this Stain Removal Guide from Clothing Shop Online. 

4. Ironing and Steaming Clothes

    a. Different Temperatures for Different Fabrics

Ironing applies heat to the fabric fibers, loosening them; however, if done incorrectly, there’s a chance you could burn or yellow fabric, especially delicate ones like silk and some synthetics. Different irons have varying heat levels, but this is a general guide:

· Linen: 445° F

· Cotton: 400° F

· Rayon: 375° F

· Wool: 300° F

· Polyester: 300° F

· Silk: 300° F

· Acetate: 290° F

· Acrylic: 275° F

· Lycra: 275° F

· Nylon: 275° F

    b. When you should steam clothing

You can steam clothing either with the steam function on your iron or with a separate, handheld steamer. Rather than worry about temperature controls, steaming uses heated moisture to release wrinkles while a garment hangs, saving a lot of time and ironing techniques. Steaming also deoterizes clothing, but be very careful with the steam itself as it can burn your skin as easily as a hot iron. 

5. Learning how to repair clothing

The best way to care for clothing is to prevent damage by making sure to rotate clothing and store different garments properly. For example, use the right hangers (wood or felt, never wire), give garments room to breathe, and fold heavier items like wool sweaters, so they don’t stretch out. In addition, learning mending basics – like replacing a button or sewing a fallen hem – can not only help your garments endure but can also save you a lot of money over the life of your clothes. Invest in a basic sewing kit with a variety of colors and needle sizes and research YouTube videos on how to sew if you don’t already know the basics. 

6. Caring for Different Fabrics

While many off the rack garments may have sewn-in care labels, get caring for different fabrics right every time with this guide to different fabrics, and learning fabric care 101

Caring for your clothes doesn’t have to be intimidating or confusing once you learn and practice the basics of clothing care from these tips from Clothing Shop Online. 

DIYs & Crafts with Clothing Shop Online

Do-it-yourself ideas and craft projects exist for every skill level and can help you to learn a new hobby. On the upside, new hobbies have been proven to better help us get into a flow, which can lead to enhanced performance in a variety of other areas of your life, either at work or home. Flow may also lead to increased skill development and improve overall creativity, as well as help us work through various mental health issues by giving us something to divert our attention in a positive way. Or it can just help us do more of what we love to do.

When it comes to the basics of screen printing, DIYing and crafting can be straightforward. Whether you’d like to create something for a family reunion or commemorate a special event in the life of someone important to you, DIYing your own screen printed t-shirt isn’t as hard as you might think.

  1. Basic Tools for crafting

    1. Basics supplies for screen printing

You don’t need a ton of expensive equipment to screenprint like with photography or extensive time and skills like with oil painting. A few basic screen printing supplies are enough to help you create decently professional-looking t-shirts once you get several techniques down. To screen print, you’ll need a blank silkscreen with about a 110 mesh count, a squeegee made especially for screen-printing, plastisol ink, an aluminum scoop coater, and a low-tech screen printing press.

  1. Where to purchase screen printing supplies

You can purchase basic screen printing supplies at either Michael’s or JoAnn Fabric stores. However, there are several places online beyond Amazon to source materials, such as http://www.Screenprinting.com. If you want to find more advanced screen printing tools once you’ve decided if you’d like to really get into screen printing, there sites like www.Anthemprintingsf.com that offer more advanced or particular screen printing tools.

  1. Kid-Friendly/Family Crafts/Beginner Crafts

Getting into designing t-shirts is a fun crafting activity for the whole family or even college roommates that you can do on the weekend. Tie-dying t-shirts is an excellent entry-level DIY craft. To get started, you need a few, high-quality t-shirts, preferably white, and some non-toxic ink that you can make from various vegetables, like red onion peels or kale, or regular, fabric ink. You’ll also need some tongs, rubber bands, a tarp, dye fixative, and Ziploc bags.

Kids also love finger painting with non-toxic fabric paint directly onto t-shirts or sweaters, which make sweet gifts for Mother’s or Father’s Day. Kid-made crafts are also particularly special gifts for grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, or godparents, who will cherish little handprints or finger paintings for years to come. Who knows? Your family crafts might even get hung up in a shadow box in someone’s home to be reminded of your little one.

  1. Clothing/Fashion Crafts

Crafting your own clothes ensures that you’ll have a unique, screen-printed piece to wear under a tailored blazer or bomber jacket. You can also upcycle your own garments or those from other people into new DIY outfits that reflect your passions rather than spending hundreds of dollars. Who knows? You might even attract someone’s attention for your street style and turn your DIYs into a revenue stream.

  1. Holiday Crafts

DIYed crafts are memorable gifts that you can give at the holidays, especially Christmas. Often the most sentimental and thoughtful gifts are the ones we invest time and energy on which lets our loved ones know, no matter how something turns out, that we’re thinking about them.

You can also DIY t-shirts for other special occasions, like a 4th of July BBQ cook-out or party, a Juneteenth celebration or birthday. And if you’re thinking ahead for a costume party or Halloween costume, remember that the best costumes, the ones that most often win prizes or respect, are DIYed Halloween costumes. Not only do they save you money, but they ensure you won’t show up looking like anyone else.

  1. How to Sell Your Crafts

Over time, you might find that you not only really enjoy crafting, but that other people want to buy your DIYed work because of its uniqueness or high-quality or both. More people are looking to crafters on websites like Etsy or eBay to scope out original, handmade gifts that are sometimes customizable because they want to give something more interesting than a store-bought object that loved ones may easily forget. Some crafters have turned their handmade businesses into stand-alone website driven businesses that have caught the attention of major blogs and magazines like Vogue.

Not only that, but more consumers have also become invested in supporting small, grassroots businesses that sell handmade crafts because it speaks to their values, culture, or interests. Rather than making corporations wealthier, these consumers are determined to buy handmade because it directly supports someone’s family or further fuels a seller’s business interests. Marketing your crafts on-line is as important as where to sell handmade crafts online. Whether your business is woman-owned, Black or POC-owned, or reflects your shared values or interests with a specific community, consider communicating your hard work to your buyers so they know that their purchases mean more than just bolstering corporate consumerism.

Getting into DIYing and crafting doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. There are so many ways to start DIYing that you don’t have to worry about having any set skills; only your imagination limits what you can make. Consider these crafting tips from Clothing Shop Online to get started on your crafting ideas!

The Basics of Screen Printing

Have you been inspired to create your own themed t-shirts as a fun family craft? Or are you a veteran printer looking to improve your skills? Read Clothing Shop Online’s various guides to screen printing. You’ll find below everything from screen printing tools, techniques, design insights, and even screen printing business insights. 

Screen printing is an easy, affordable, and unique skill that’s straightforward to learn. Whether you’re doing it as a fun craft or looking to earn income, screen printing is the fastest and most efficient way to decorate your tees. 

  1. For the Casual Crafters 

Perhaps you’re creating tees for a bachelorette weekend or for a family reunion. While you may want to showcase your design, your goal might be to create a fun tee for yourself or your family rather than trying to sell it. 

Get the tool: Besides being a resource to help your design needs, Cricut also has a large supply of tools that can help you to easily screenprint from the comfort of your own home. 

Get the design: Looking for design ideas? Here are a couple of favorites that provide you with design downloads you can use for yourself:

Get the apparel: Clothing Shop Online has a wide array of high-quality blank apparel in all types of styles and colors that won’t break your budget.

  1. For the Up and Coming Screen Printer 

Ready to take that next step towards opening up your own Etsy store to sell apparel? Or are you looking for some extra income? Then you’ll need to start building up your toolkit and screen printing knowledge. 

Get The Guide: To familiarize yourself with screen printing in order to achieve more professional results, read our downloadable guide, which breaks down the basics of screen printing. 

Get The Tools: Make sure that you have all the tools you need within your screen printing kit and know how to use them for the most professional results. Some of the basics you’ll need to get started include:

Perfect Your Design Techniques: From choosing the right colors to the size of your graphic, consider these steps before you dive into design. For example, what are the best programs for digitally creating your design? Here are a few kinds of software you can use to  imagine your designs: :

  1. For the Screen Printing Veterans 

While you may not be a screen printing newbie, there’s always room for improvement in terms of new screen printing approaches, ways to expand your screen printing business, or even just polishing your techniques.

Learn New Techniques: There’s always new information about screen printing, from comparing techniques like screen vs. digital printing to even learning how to screenprint on specific fabrics like fleece, cotton, and polyester.  

Become Business Savvy: If you’re looking to extend your business, then do it with confidence. Take some time and learn about how you can increase your sales or where are the best places to sell your products online. 

Gather Resources: Researching and staying up-to-date on screen printing news is the best way to improve your business. You can always lean on Clothing Shop Online as a resource for new techniques and developments in screen printing. 

Creating the Perfect Care Package

Life consists of small, brief moments that happen when no one is looking and momentous milestones that we’ve waited and planned for, sometimes over a lifetime. It’s hard to know how to show your appreciation for someone you love when distance makes it more challenging.

There’s never a perfect moment to show your appreciation. Time doesn’t stand still and we don’t get many opportunities to show our gratitude. Sometimes the best gifts you can give are crafted ones that are specifically tailored for your loved one. There’s a reason that battered T-shirts with the picture of you in the 3rd grade screen printed on the front never gets thrown away. Or perhaps it’s that fleece blanket your sister gave you for your first apartment in a wintery new city.

Celebrate your friends and loved ones, whether they live down the block from you or across the world, with a simple care package that holds the essential items they might need.

 

For Mom

You’ve caused her as much grief as you have joy. No matter where you went, there she was, cheering you on and sending you care packages in college, your first apartment, or perhaps your first baby. The moms in your life always appreciate your thinking of them.

 

For the mom who’s always on-the-go, athleisure and activewear free her to get her to-do list done without restrictions. Hanes, Adidas, Badger, BELLA + CANVAS, Champion, and several other brands at Clothing Shop Online, offer a variety of headbands, leggings, tanks, and tees. Once relegated to athletic needs, athleisure has become the style of choice for many busy moms needing to keep up with active kids or full days. With so many styles of athleisure on-trend, there are many options to choose from.

 

New moms also often choose athleisure as they transition into their new lifestyle after the initial postpartum phase, healing in pajamas when possible. With how many times babies spit up or make a mess of eating, new moms may also need a megaton of onesies and other baby accessories unless they can do laundry all the time. If you want to go a step further, you can also create custom screen printed onesies with special messages or designs.

 

For Dad

Modern dads wear fewer ties and more hats and Golf wear to keep them comfortable. Remember that screen printed tee shirt from before? You can make your own heart-tugging t-shirt with a special design letting the father figure in your life know that he might be physically some distance away, but he’s with you every step of every day. Learning how to screen print is straightforward, though it takes a few supplies and some patience to tailor your gift.

 

And if that dad of yours likes to sit outside, sports chairs are another way to show him you’re thinking of him.

 

 

For the College Freshman

On the edge of the next phase in their lives, however, it may look, the college freshman in your life needs everything (unless you don’t mind them borrowing yours as they break out on their own). Clothes are always a good option, such as sweatshirts to blankets to hats in their new school colors. If you want to take your care package to the next level, you can use a company like Cricut to customize it with a special message or graphic to show your support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Outdoor Adventurer

Or maybe your person appreciates the outdoors, even if your idea of the great outdoors looks like a bellini poolside. Fleece, waterproof outdoor jackets, and camo apparel can keep them dry, warm, and camouflaged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Ultimate Crafter

On the other hand, some friends and loved ones feel their best when they’re able to focus in on a craft project that keeps them engaged and in the zone. The gift of creation is an experiential gift that does more than sit on the shelf. Several clothing products, like t-shirts, are great items to start screen printing on.

 

Here are some tips on Screen Printing from Clothing Shop Online to help them get started:

 

For the Kitchen Enthusiast

For those of us whose idea of kitchen fun doesn’t look like taking out, provide them with the tools of their passion. Gifts like aprons and dishtowels are great and can be customized with screen printing. Learn how to customize your cuisine-focused gift with Clothing Shop Online’s Guide to Screen Printing or our quick How-to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For That Special Someone

Sometimes care packages also need to feel like a hug from a distance Whether your gift is intended for a family member, best friend, or partner, Clothing Shop Online has several comfy fabrics that “hug” like fleece blankets, while you both watch your favorite movie together from afar on Zoom or the phone. There are several sherpa, oversized fleece or reverse weave blankets to choose from that also fit the bill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choosing the right gifts to include in your care package is always a challenge, but tailoring it to the needs of your loved one or including a special message through design is a great way show them how you’re thinking of them from a distance!

The Tie Dye Guide

Tie Dying has been a go-to craft for many years and while it may be associated with memories of summer camp, it’s also an amazing craft to do at home. Not only is it easy to execute, but it just so happens to be one of the hottest fashion trends of the season. This truly is the perfect craft for both kids and adults.

We know digging into a craft can seem daunting, especially when supplies are limited, but we’ve pulled together some tips and tricks to help you tie dye like a pro.

 

Supplies that you need for tie dying: includes yellow, red, blue, purple, and green dye in plastic squeeze bottles, rubber bands, gloves, and a Tulip Tie Dying Kit

 

Here’s what you’ll need

Tools for tie dying

  • Apparel – While most choose to tie dye blank apparel, you can certainly use any old tees or sweats you have at home – especially for your first try! The key is to find an item that is either 100% cotton or uses all-natural fibers (like silk or rayon). These types of fabrics absorb the color of the dye much better than synthetic fabrics. Our favorites include these sweats and this unisex t-shirt.
  • Clothing dye – This is a must-have to get started and can be found at many craft stores or online businesses. Here are some popular starter kits – the easiest option is a full tie dye kit which will contain everything you need except the clothing item and tarp! You can also use bleach to tie dye colored garments. Pro tip: if you aren’t able to find clothing dye, food coloring is a great replacement!
  • Tarp – Depending on where you are crafting you may need to lay down a tarp or plastic cover to prevent staining
  • Rubber bands – These are the key to creating your pattern! If you can’t find traditional rubber bands, try using old hair ties!
  • Gloves – Gloves are a necessity if you want to avoid staining your hands. Try and find thin gloves (i.e. latex gloves) that will protect your hands without adding too much bulk.
  • Squeeze bottles – While many dyes already come in easy to squeeze bottles, having extras will allow you to mix colors together and will give you more control over where you place your colors on the garments.
  • Dye fixative – Using a fixative will help prevent bleeding and ensures your new tie dyed goodies stand the test of time (or the test of the washing machine). As with many of the items needed, this should come with a kit. If you’re not purchasing a kit you can buy a fixative here!
  • Large Ziploc bags – These will be used to store your dyed garment overnight.

 

Here’s what you’ll do

 

 

Steps for tie dying

  1. Setup

Before you get started, it’s important to pre-wash your garments. The item needs to be damp before you begin the tie dye process and pre-washing helps ensure dirt and dust have been removed. You will also need to ensure that you have all of your stations prepared, tarp laid out, dyes mixed and poured into squeeze bottles, and gloves on.

      2.  Create your pattern

While there are plenty of options when it comes to patterns and application techniques, we’re highlighting the two most common methods below:

How to Tie Dye prewash

 

The crumple

This is the least methodical method and certainly the easiest to execute. You start by bunching the item together (we recommend starting at the center) until you’ve made a ball. The more you crumble, the more patterns you will see on the final product. There is no rhyme or reason to this method – results will vary!

 

The swirl

This method results in that iconic rainbow spiral effect. To start, lay your garment on a flat surface. Next, pinch the middle of the clothing and twist clockwise until your shirt or garment is in the shape of a spiral. You may also use a cooking utensil, or fork – just place the tip of the object in the center of your garment and swirl. Once you have your spiral shape, you will secure it with three rubber bands. Be sure to place them evenly around the item in order to create an asterisk.

 

Person applying tie dye to each section of the tied up t-shirt.

 

      3. Apply the dye

Now for the magic! There’s no right or wrong way to apply the dye although a few tips to ensure you get your desired outcome.

If you’re looking to create the traditional rainbow swirl, you will want to apply yellow, red, and blue equally (each color gets it’s own 1/3 of the garment). Be sure not to leave any white spots. There will be white in the end – it’s hiding between the folds!

If you’re using the crumple method you can spray your shirt at will! Just don’t forget to add dye to both sides.

When you’re all finished place your items – still banded together – in their own Ziploc baggies and let it sit overnight.

 

  1. Finish the job

You’ve made it to the next morning – now what? Remove the item from the bag and prepare the dye fixative. Follow the instructions for the fixative you have – typically you will add the solution to warm water and dissolve. Once the fixative solution is ready, place your tie dye garment inside and let sit for however long the packaging recommends.

The final step is to remove the item from the fixative solution, rinse in cold water to remove excess dye, and air dry. Viola! You have your very own tie dyed garment!

 

Let us know how your creations turn out!

Tools That Every Screen Printer Should Have

While there are many styles and approaches to screen printing, you’ll need a handful of basic tools to produce a variety of designs. Screen-printing is a technique by which designs are reproduced by transferring ink through a stenciled, mesh screen onto a substrate. The technique is also sometimes referred to as silkscreen printing or serigraphy. To fill the open areas of the stencil, you move a squeegee (or blade) across the screen and then use a reverse stroke so that the ink wets the substrate along a line of contact. If producing a multi-colored design or image, color must print one at a time, requiring several screens, one per color, so that the colors don’t bleed together and become muddied. If producing a single-color design, only one screen is necessary.

First introduced in its earliest forms during the Song Dynasty (960-1279AD) in China, screen-printing was adapted by other Asian countries, like Japan. The printing press, invented in 1440, furthered rudimentary screen printing techniques through the use of movable type and screens. Screen-printing became more popular in Western Europe during the 18th century once silk mesh became more readily available, as well as affordable in light of the Silk trade. Andy Warhol then popularized modern screen-printing during the 20th century beginning with his 1962 “Marilyn Diptych,” an iconic portrait of Marilyn Monroe. Other artists further expanded the role of screen-printing in popular culture and art, such as Michel Caza, Sister Mary Corita Kent, Roy Lichenstein, and Arthur Okamura, among many others. The underground punk movement of the 1970s and early 1980s then brought screen-printing on a wider scale to t-shirts.

Screen-printing might seem straightforward, but it requires a lot of practice and technical knowledge to produce the best results. Like any form of art, screen-printing takes a while to learn how to use specific tools. Though screen-printing tools vary based on budget and space available in which to work, here are a few essential items needed to start:

 

Blank silkscreen with a 110 mesh count

Silkscreens come in a variety of sizes and mesh counts. However, screens with a 110 to 160 mesh count have proven to be the most versatile. Screens generally come in two sizes – 20×24 inches OD and 23×31 inches OD. For heavy coverage on dark fabrics, puff, metallic, solid under base prints, some shimmer inks, and for certain transfer printing, make sure to use a 110 mesh count, which is particularly good for high opacity inks on dark textiles.

 

Screen-printing squeegee

One of the most fundamental tools to screen-printing, you use a squeegee by pulling it across the silkscreen in order to evenly distribute your chosen ink. While there are automated machines that can do this, many companies use manual ink presses because it better helps control quality and is much faster for small batches.

Squeegees are chosen based on the inks being used, the mesh count, and the final design. They also come in different durometers, most commonly 60, 70, and 80. A 60 durometer squeegee blade is considered softer, which tends to print more ink than harder ones, such as the 80 durometer squeegee. A 60 durometer squeegee is best for printing white ink, or any high opacity color ink, on dark fabrics. A 70 durometer squeegee is the most commonly used and is especially good for printing on white or light-colored fabrics. An 80 durometer squeegee is the hardest of the three and should be used in combination with higher mesh counts, fine details, or halftones.

 

Photo emulsion

Photosensitive emulsions are used when creating a stencil. Essentially, you spread a thin layer of light-sensitive emulsion across the screen and then let it dry in the dark. Then, you take a blackened image on a translucent surface, such as tracing paper, place the image against the screen, and expose the screen to light. This will harden the emulsion wherever the light hits it; however, the design, or blackened areas, should block the light. The blocked areas won’t harden and, after exposed, you can wash them out with water. This technique lets you heighten the accuracy of designs, allowing you to mass-produce them more easily.

 

Plastisol ink

Plastisol ink, the most commonly used ink in commercial screen-printing, offers good color opacity on darker fabrics. This type of ink produces clearer details and a plasticized texture. You can also add specific additives to plastisol ink to make it softer or add several layers of it to make the final ink product heavier. To cure the screen-printed design, plastisol ink requires heat (approximately 150 °C (300 °F).

 

Transparency paper

 Transparency paper simply refers to a thin sheet of translucent, flexible material onto which you can draw designs or images, and then transfer them onto a screen coated with photo emulsion by exposure to light. To create a design with transparency paper, convert your design into a black and white image. Images that are already in black in white or those with gray scales will not work as well. You can also use Adobe or some other photo software to edit your design, which you can transfer onto paper later.

 

Aluminum scoop coater

 A scoop coater helps to directly apply liquid emulsions. It’s a trough-like tool that coats the screen with a smooth layer of emulsion onto your screen. You grab the scoop coater with both hands and place the sharp edge roughly an inch above the bottom of the inside of the screen frame.

 

Screen printing press

 There are different types of screen-printing pressed ranging from 1-color presses to 4-color presses. Single color print can use jiffy hinges, while multi-color presses make use of several screens.

 

Consider these insights on how to choose the right tools for your screen-printing project from Clothing Shop Online!

Five Ways to Wear a Classic White Tee

Marlon Brando channels a new sex appeal with it in A Street Car Named Desire. “The Rolling Stones” wore theirs with leather. Madonna wore it with pearls and black net stockings. TLC cut theirs at the midriff. Classic white tees have been a timeless staple of wardrobes for decades, even centuries.

From medieval times as an early undergarment symbolizing humility to the modern runways of Europe, white t-shirts have spanned eras, cultures and styles. As Vogue’s Laird Borrelli-Persson concludes, “Its very plainness, after all, leaves room for self-invention, the root of the American dream.”

In 1864, William Cotton, an English inventor, brought t-shirts to the masses with the introduction of commercial knitting machines. Around the same time, weekends were introduced into daily life and, as a result, workers required more comfortable leisurewear. The modern white tee made its debut, however, in 1901, when P. Hanes Knitting Company introduced a two-piece underwear set that looked similar to today’s white tee. Worn by soldiers, workers, athletes, families and edgy celebrities, the classic white tee has left its mark on unisex fashion the world over.

One of the few items in your closet that will never go out of style, a white t-shirt can be dressed up or down. No wardrobe is complete without one (or several). Clothing Shop Online breaks down five ways to style a classic white tee shirt for both men and women:

 

Young man with glasses wearing a white t-shirt with a burgundy suit jacket to show off how a plain white tee can be word with more formal clothing items.Wear with a suit

Pairing a white tee with a well-tailored suit elevates a classic style while lending what Italians call sprezzatura, referring to a certain nonchalance that makes style feel effortless but still elegant. The low-high pairing, popularized in the 1980s and seen on Miami Vice, works well in an array of business situations. However, to pull off this look in a business situation, make sure your white tee is fitted, rather than loose, so that it doesn’t add unnecessary bulk to a likely fitted suit. A simple white tee also looks more elevated if coupled with a neutral, solid-colored suit rather than one made of patterns like plaid, which are often more traditional, and may clash depending on the fit of both.

Men can wear a classic white tee with a neutral suit in grey, tan, even navy. If you’re wearing this combination for a non-business situation, or a more informal one, you can even wear a white tee shirt with cropped, suited paints and leather loafers or crisp, white trainers like Adidas Stan Smiths. Women can do the same, but they have a few more options. For example, women can wear a fitted white tee shirt with either cropped, tight suit pants or wide-leg options. Heels or leather booties pair well with cropped, suit pants, a blazer, and tee, elongating the leg while still looking chic.

 

 

Girl wearing a white tshirt, denim shorts, and black leather acccessories. For a relaxed look + denim

It worked for James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause. And it works for Kylie Jenner stepping off of a private jet. Channel your inner cool without having to try hard. An update on James Dean’s timeless look, men can wear a fitted white tee shirt under a bomber jacket with denim and white sneakers or tennis shoes. A men’s white crew-neck shirt, fitted at the waist, can emphasize a tapered waist. For an extra twist, try a white tee with a rounded drop-tail left untucked over your pants; however, make sure your crew neck’s collar lines up with that of your jacket to keep your outfit looking tailored rather than messy. This easy look transitions well from work to drinks.

Women can pair a white BELLA+CANVAS tee with cropped vintage Levi’s or wide-leg pants in a neutral color. A long cardigan with loose sleeves and sneakers or leather slip-ons can finish this look. From the 1960s to today, women can trust this iconic look in a pinch. If you want to dress it up, but still look casual, simply wear bold red lipstick and strappy heels.

You can also pair your white tee with a tailored wool coat and trainers for a relaxed look in colder weather.

 

Man wearing a black wide-rimmed hat, a white tshirt, a black leather jacket, jeans, and glasses.

Night out

Few things look better with a leather jacket than a class white tee. James Dean embodied post-war rebellion when he wore his with leather and selvage denim, influencing generations to come. Leather and a classic white tee lend an iconic, rock and roll look. Roll up your sleeves and tuck your shirt in or keep things untucked and rolled down. Women can pair this look with a bold lipstick or a smoky eye and nude lip. Add a mini-skirt or tight, black denim and heels or leather booties to finish this look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girl wearing a white t-shirt and burgundy yoga leggings doing a headstand.Athleisure

Worn to the gym or dinner out, we’ve shown before how the athleisure trend has evolved and continues to dominate fashion. You can wear a white tee with leggings or joggers. To elevate this look, throw on a tailored wool coat and pair with trainers. White tees look particularly striking worn with white or neutral bottoms under a camel coat or a bomber jacket. This look works out to dinner, a concert, or running errands around town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man wearing a simple white t-shirt, black chinos, and white casual tennis shoes. Classic white tee + chinos

Chinos, whether short or long, look really crisp worn with a classic white tee. Choose chinos in a light grey or tan with sneakers or trainers for warmer weather. To polish this look, add your favorite sunglasses and a denim jacket if you’re wearing it out. You can also wear black chinos with a fitted white tee tucked in or out and paired with black, short boots, and a bomber jacket or denim jacket. Just make sure your chinos are tailored and fit you properly so this look remains crisp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The classic white tee is an iconic look that will continue to be a global fashion staple. To keep on top of these trends and how to style them, consider these insights from Clothing Shop Online!