Screen Printing vs. Digital Printing – What is the right choice for your business?

With so many options, it’s sometimes difficult to know how to decide between on-demand digital vs. screen printing. Both techniques offer different advantages, but usually cannot be used interchangeably depending on your design and printing goals.

Consider Clothing Shop Online’s break-down of digital printing and more traditional screen printing in order to help you decide which method is best for your projects and business model. Various design goals depend on knowing the differences between the two printing options, which could potentially save your business a lot of money and frustration.

Screen Printing

Screen printing uses a large stencil that’s then burned onto a screen. You then push ink with a squeegee through the screen onto fabric. This can be done by hand or by automated screen printing presses that produce several hundred shirts an hour.

Though screen printing requires more upfront technical knowledge – between learning which inks are appropriate for your chosen fabric to how much heat to apply – it often provides more vibrant and cost-effective products. However, keep in mind that ink must often be applied in several layers, one at a time, to achieve your desired look.

Pros & Cons of Screen Printing

Pros include:

  • Higher quality.
  • Increased color vibrancy.
  • Better long-term durability when washed repeatedly.
  • The ability to apply the screen print to unique surfaces, such as curved mugs or water bottles.
  • Softer to the touch, when using water-based inks.
  • The possibility of creating bulk orders.

Some cons of screen printing:

  • Colors are applied separately, which increases the overall cost of production.
  • Individual screen prints are needed for each color further increasing production costs.
  • Lesser quality when reproducing photography on fabric since so many ink layers is required.
  • Difficulty printing small batches.
  • Time-consuming to clean and maintain materials.

Digital Printing

Digital printing, also known as ‘DTG’, or direct-to-garment uses a highly modified inkjet printer, which applies inks directly onto garments just like paper printer eliminating the need for several screens and inks. A tunnel dryer then heat sets the inks onto the fabric.

Since there’s little set-up involved, digital printing could be a great option depending on your business. The DTG method could help you avoid having to buy and store several inks. Digital printing can also permit you to create much smaller runs for designs, which better satisfies clients seeking only small orders, such as shirts made for bachelorette or birthday parties, or even one-off orders.

Pros & Cons of Digital Printing

Pros of digital printing:

  • Faster production turn-around.
  • Fewer resources and knowledge required to get your business running.
  • Great for small batch orders.
  • Does not require inks to be layered or separated by color to avoid bleeding.
  • Creates crisp photographs on fabric.
  • Less leftover inventory.

 

Cons of digital printing:

  • Less vibrant.
  • Lower grain quality.
  • May not be as soft to the touch.
  • Often requires a ‘pre-treatment’ or ‘underbase’ layer of ink on darker fabrics in order to prevent colors from appearing muddy; however, the pre-treatment sometimes reacts under heat by leaving a stain.
  • Can’t print on polyester or active wear garments unless it’s a poly-blend consisting of at least 80% cotton.

Whether you choose to go the more traditional route, and screen print your designs, or skip multiple, potentially confusing steps and go straight to digital printing, your business has several options from which to choose.

 

Consider these insights on how to choose between digital printing and screen printing from Clothing Shop Online!

5 Tips to Start Your Online Business

Online businesses offer several advantages over traditional brick and mortar ones, but they require no less preparation and even have their own unique challenges. The primary advantage of an online business is the significantly reduced overhead, but you will still need to address the core concerns of any business: building your brand and driving customer traffic.

Whether you’re starting an online business for the first time or looking to expand your online presence, the most important thing to get right is your web storefront.

  1. Create a Website or Etsy Shop for Your Online Business

Whether you choose to build a website or open an Etsy shop, growing an online business requires you list your products somewhere. You can set up an Etsy.com shop in a single afternoon since its set-up wizard creates a “shop” interface that builds sellers’ web presence without having to build and host a website. If your business model can sustain an individual website, you can use a more tailored approach. The latter option lets you shape the content as much as the look of your website so that ultimately your branding is tighter across all of your channels. Whether you choose to hire an agency or a freelancer, building your own website requires more maintenance and investment. If you don’t want the hassle of hiring someone, you can always build your own through Squarespace.com

If you’re just starting out, an Etsy shop might be the right choice as you learn what works for your business. You can always connect your website to your Etsy shop, as many online clothing shops do.

  1. Build A Digital Marketing Strategy

Whether you’re running all of the marketing operations yourself or you’ve hired a team to help you, a digital marketing plan can provide you with a map to follow. Online marketing strategies generally include some combination of social media, email marketing, and search/display ads. Most online businesses maintain a budget to support ad campaigns through Facebook Ads (includes Instagram) or Google Ads, which helps them reach new customers, especially when ad campaigns are aligned with holidays or special promotions.

Keep your marketing approach flexible by reassessing your strategy regularly as unforeseen market fluctuations and business needs arise.

  1. Invest in Excellent Photography

Have you ever noticed when you’re shopping online that you tend to glaze over products that don’t have clear pictures? Perhaps they’re too blurry or not bright enough, but for online commerce businesses, great photographs sell products.

If you’re just starting out and want to save money by taking photographs yourself, make sure you’re shooting with a DSLR in RAW. If you’re not yet Adobe Photoshop savvy, hire a photographer or graphic designer to clean up your photographs through Upwork.com or Freelancer.com. Alternately, you can also use the Weebly Photo Analyzer to tell you how to improve your photographs. Send your products to them and Weebly will even photograph them for you for a fee. If you’re scaling up, hire a professional photographer with a distinct look that echoes your product. 

  1. Website Analytics and SEO

Web analytics can give you crucial insights into how people are finding your products and who ends up buying them, which you can use to inform your SEO strategy. Squarespace, Etsy and Facebook all have built-in, but basic marketing analytics tools that give you general insights about how your business tactics are working and if your efforts are converting into sales.
However, if you have your own website, you’ll want to consider using Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools, which give you more in-depth insights. Similarly, SEO is a set of techniques that help your website rank higher in organic web search results. When used properly, SEO makes your products and blog posts more visible via search engines like Google.

  1. Create a Brand Identity

Building a brand identity takes time. You want your customers to believe that they’re buying an idea rather than simply consuming an object. How you frame your business’s story or mission can help customers connect with your brand. Similarly, echoing your message across all your digital platforms – from advertisements to emails – tightens and magnifies your narrative. Many people who shop online today believe the brands that they buy communicate a lot about who they are.       

However, you choose to create an online business, know that there are several options for your current business situation. You can scale up or down depending on what resources you have available. Whether you are using a more DIY approach or hiring people to help you, creating an online business has many layers that require constant maintenance.
Consider these insights on how to create an online business from Clothing Shop Online!

4th of July DIYs

Longer days, ice cream melting down a hand and fireworks, bigger than the sky. The 4th of July celebrates a history of independence during the acme of summer, with its small joys and heat expanding under our nails.

Donning red, white, and blue means different things to different people – coming to America, various cultures sharing a meal, harking back to the first settlers or several generations in a link of existence. Whatever the 4th means to you, its colors can be found from shop windows to BBQs.

Here are some DIYs based on this national holiday’s iconic red, white, and blue tricolor from Clothing Shop Online:

 

A Patriotic 4th of July Tie Dye 

How to Firecracker Tie Dye apply blue dye

A quintessential summer look, tie dye is the perfect 4th of July craft. It requires only basic supplies and some drying time. There are two tie dye techniques: using a pre-made kit or DIY bath. Assuming you’re into doing things the old school, low cost way, here’s how to tie dye using a homemade bath:

Gather materials. You’ll need the following to make your own tie dye:

  • (2) 3-gallon buckets (stainless steel or plastic, if you don’t mind it getting stained)
  • Fiber-reactive dye, such as Jacquard Procion or Dylon Permanent, in Red and Blue
  • Pre-washed, White 100% cotton unisex T-shirt
  • Rubber gloves
  • Steel tongs
  • Glass jar with tight-seal lid
  • Measuring spoon
  • Soda ash fixative

The DIY tie dye bath. Put your gloves on and fill the bucket with 1 gallon of cool water, then fill the jar half with cool water. Measure 2 to 4 teaspoons of dye into the jar; the amount depends on how dark you’d like the colors. Close the lid and shake until the powder dissolves; then add the mix to the bucket and stir. Next, filling the jar halfway with hot water, add 6 teaspoons of soda ash, close the lid, and shake. Pour the mix into the bucket to stir. Repeat for the second color.

Preparing the T-shirt. Tie dying works best with a pre-washed, 100% cotton tee, but will work with a 50/50 cotton poly blend. Tie the shirt tightly with rubber bands in whatever design you’d like and then immerse half of the shirt in the dye bath of lukewarm water mixture, and soak for 30 minutes (or longer for more vibrant color). Do the same to the bottom half of the tee, but with the opposite color in the second bucket of dye mix.

Wash the T-shirt. Removing the tee with tongs, keep your gloves on to remove the rubber bands. Rinse the shirt with warm, then cool water until the water runs clear. Launder the shirt in cold water and then dry it outside on a line or by machine.

 

Using Your Hands in The Design

These American flag handprint tees are super easy to make and are the perfect DIY shirts for the 4th of July!

Another family favorite, involve your kids in your designs, incorporating their tiny handprints. While not the neatest option, this might be the easiest DIY t-shirt design option since it requires the least supplies. All you need for this one are tees, paper plates, cardboard non-toxic non-washable acrylic fabric paint, newspapers and hangers.

Set the stage by laying out newspapers. Then, create stations for each individual by leaving three feet of space between each shirt. Make sure to insert cardboard inside of each shirt, since the paint will bleed through as paint is pressed down onto the shirt. Each station can either have its own set of paper plates covered in paint or you can share plates of paint; however, it first option might be less chaotic and easier to clean up.

If your child is small, help place their hand in the paint and press onto the fabric in their desired design, making sure to wash hands between paint colors so the paint doesn’t muddy. If recreating the American flag, you can use the handprint in place of stars, and paint stripes on with a paintbrush. You can also sew small, white buttons or sequins in place of stars over the blue square.

Turn your DIY 4th of July t-shirt into a fun holiday activity for the whole family with these patriotic craft ideas.

 

Creating Your Own Graphics

Get the kids involved and help them hunt around the house for various stencil options. Whether it’s a magic eraser sponge, cardboard, pencil eraser tip, star cookie cutters, or even an apple, there are so many ways to source stencils. Along with your stencil(s), you’ll need a few paper plates, hangers, a flat surface, newspaper, non-toxic non-washable acrylic fabric paint, and pre-washed, cotton tees or tanks, preferably in white, blue or red. If using a blue tee, opt for white and red paint; if a red tee, the inversed colors.

For stencils that you need to cut out, use a guide that you’ve either printed out online or freehanded and trace directly onto your chosen medium. Then, use scissors (or safety scissors if you’ve recruited the littles) to cut out your stencils. With apples, cut them in half and draw your design onto the flat surface. Then, gradually whittle away at the pulp either inside the shape or outside depending on how you want the paint to stencil onto the shirt. However, don’t reuse these between colors. Make sure to dedicate one carved apple per color since you can’t wash the paint off.

For premade stencils, like star-shaped cookie cutters, just make sure you have several. If you don’t, thoroughly wash the stencil with soap and water assuming it can handle washing like items made of rubber.

Next, set out your tees onto a flat surface covered in newspapers and press stencils firmly onto the shirt, making sure not to press the sides of your palms onto the fabric. Then, gently lift or peel off the stencil and continue until you’ve reached your desired design. When done, hang your shirts to dry for at least 24 hours so the paint has time to set.

 

No-Sew Ribbon or Fabric Designs

Who says you have to know how to sew to adhere to fabric? For this project, gather your favorite ribbon or bandanas in red, white and blue; scissors; an iron; a cotton tee, and no-sew adhesive tape, like Heat n Bond.

Before using no-sew adhesive tape, consider the design you’d like to make and cut your ribbons or bandanas the length of the adhesive tape. Take the adhesive off of one side of the tape, which is double-sided, and iron downwards, so that the tape sticks to the fabric, but not the iron. Then, take the paper off of the top side of the adhesive tape and place your ribbon or bandana strips/cut-out shapes over the tape, ironing the fabric onto it. You can weave the ribbon, cut out stars or stripes from the bandanas – there are many options here.

So have some fun and get creative with your 4th of July apparel. Whether it be repurposing old tees or adding some great touches with fabric paint, these ideas will give you some easy ways to show your patriotic spirit. 

Etsy Store Do’s and Don’ts

As the largest e-commerce website for handmade items, Etsy helps thousands of small business owners launch their products. Etsy’s simple online set-up wizard creates a “shop” interface that builds sellers’ web presence without the expensive hassle of building and maintaining an individual website. Etsy products are primarily craft-oriented or handmade items such as jewelry and clothing. As a C2C platform, Etsy’s business model facilitates small business growth.

With more than 54 million registered active users, Etsy is predominately used by women between the ages of 18-34. Check out four tips for using Etsy to connect with customers and sell your products.

 

Have a strategy 

To drive traffic to your online storefront that results in sales, create a marketing plan that considers how to target clients and build your brand, but most importantly, builds relationships between you and your clients. Because people may actively avoid promotional social media accounts, how can you build an efficient marketing strategy?

  • Create social media accounts that share unique content your target client audience will find useful rather than simply promoting your products across all posts.
  • Create campaigns that align with special holidays and offer discounts.
  • Don’t use generic seller hashtags like #etsyfinds. Consider what kind of hashtags your customers would use to find your products, like #rocktshirts.
  • Track analytics across Etsy and all social for conversion insights.

 

Don’t just promote yourself and your shop

Consider the 70/20/10 approach, which dictates that 70% of your posts share other people’s content, 20% shares your own unique content that doesn’t directly promote items, and the final 10% supports purely promotional posts that communicate information about specific items, and upcoming events or sales.

 

Get to know your customers

Building relationships with your customers can result in word-of-mouth recommendations that further drive sales and build brand loyalty, but how do you walk that tricky line between the annoying promotional spammer and engaged seller?

  • Consider what your customers’ values and interests might be. If your Etsy shop focuses on t-shirts that promote a specific environmental cause, like saving whales, what’s going to affect whales? Plastic pollution?
  • Respond to customer questions within 24 hours.
  • Ask your customers for feedback. Be open to criticism and using it as a way to strengthen your brand.
  • Offer clear guidance on returns or problems.
  • Interact with clients across social media in a respectful tone.
  • Offer unique content that focuses on what’s important to your customers. How is that content related to your branding?

 

Don’t post blurry or grainy pictures

Multiple studies show that online sellers only have a few seconds, at most, to capture potential customers’ attention. If your intended customers can’t discern much about the quality, color, or details of what you’re selling, they’ll move on as quickly as they found your Etsy storefront. After all, Etsy offers an ocean of items to choose from, as well as their competitors.

  • Consider hiring a professional photographer to capture your products in the best light.
  • Photograph items in high resolution. You can always crop pictures.
  • Photograph your products in in-direct daylight with an obscured or neutral background to showcase your work. Avoid harsh light, which may not be flattering depending on your product’s finishes.

Creating an online Etsy storefront for your growing screen-printing or clothing store can place your products in the reach of millions. Knowing how to use Etsy to the best of your abilities may better help you to connect with potential customers that drive sales rather than useless likes.

 

Consider these insights on creating an online Etsy storefront from Clothing Shop Online!

 

Maximizing Your Summer Sales

Depending on your screen-printing niche, summer can offer a boom in sales or a gradual slow down until the next season. For example, if your screen-printing business sells t-shirts with patriotic messaging or designs, the summer months feature several national holidays like Memorial Day and the 4th of July, which translates into a steep increase in sales.

Whether you’re gearing up your online business for the peak season or protecting against the summer slow-down, here are three tips for boosting sales this summer:

 

Follow Up With Old Leads

Out of sight, and often, out of mind, old leads don’t strike sellers as particularly useful depending on how much time has elapsed since they reached out to you. Perhaps you didn’t have the capacity to fulfill an order earlier or your inks or fabrics were held up in customs abroad. But never discount the power of a simple follow-up email, which can help to rebuild relationships or continue business conversations. Real-estate agents frequently send such emails directed at old leads in order to stir up new business or follow-up once they have new inventory that fits a client’s specific needs. Similarly, you can email potential customers with a brief message that reads:

“Hi __[first name of lead]___,

I hope this finds you well! Are you still looking for a bulk order of custom screen-printed t-shirts for your event? Our shipment of poly-blends came in, and I wanted to follow-up on our last conversation.

Sincerely/Best,

Your name”

 

Run a Special Promotion – celebrate special days

Your customers often have days off for particular holidays or they save all year with the intention of buying what they need or want at a price they can afford when special sales arrive. Rather than limiting your Internet storefront to running promotions just for specific holidays, consider an array of special days to offer discounts. Offer online promotions through email marketing campaigns, bots, and banners on your website, social media, and online ads. Some special days might include:

  • Seasonal sales tied to specific holidays (Memorial Day, Father’s Day, the 4th of July, Juneteenth, Eid al-Fitr, Labor Day, )
  • International holidays that commemorate particular demographics or beliefs, like International Children’s Day or Vegan Day.
  • Seasonal changes (from spring to summer, fall to winter, etc.)
  • Special events that encourage activism or signal particular values with which you’d like to align your brand (voting days, Indigenous People’s Day, etc.)

 

Advertise

Disney, Apple, and other major brands don’t miss out summer promotions, and neither should you. What marketing approaches may work at other times of the year, may not work during the slower, summer months. Approach advertising during the summer months by using different tactics beyond your usual marketing approach. From social media to email-blasts, or from Etsy to online ads, it’s crucial you ramp-up your advertising efforts whether summer is a peak or bust season for you.

Regardless of your business’s size and reach, Google Ads can help you tailor your advertising efforts. However, don’t rely on default settings, which likely won’t help to focus on your target audience. Instead, tailor Google Ad to better drive sales.

Maximizing sales during the summer can help you weather potential financial storms during other parts of the year. Whether it’s a hectic or slow time for your business, take the wheel and advertise, run special promotions, and follow-up with old leads to keep up your profits.

 

Consider these insights on maximizing your summer sales from Clothing Shop Online!

Screen Print 101: Choosing The Right Ink

Ink can make or break a screen printing project. From plastisol to water-based, various inks perform differently over time under the pressures of heat and multiple washes. To complicate things further, various fabrics require specific inks to be used to ensure longevity or a particular design effect.

Knowing which one to choose for your screen print takes some research and practice. In fact, inks used for screen printing are not always interchangeable. In other words, an ink that works for one fabric may not work for another. In general, the ink used for screen printing is often more viscous than regular ink used in pens or on newspapers. Screen printing inks have a variety of other properties to meet the different demands and expectations of the screen printing process. The most common inks used in screen printing are oil-based Plastisol ink, water-based, discharge, and expanding ink, among others.

People concerned with the toxicity of various inks may also choose more eco-friendly ink for screen printing, free of PVC and Phthalates.

Here are five tips for choosing the right ink for your project:

Durable and Versatile Designs: Plastisol Inks

In the United States, plastisol ink is most commonly used in screen printing due to its tendency to sit on the screen for longer periods of time. Plastisol ink, prized for its workability, is very flexible, withstands washes well, and is versatile. It also creates the brightest possible print for your design. Plastisol is a mixture of PVC particles and plasticizer, allowing it to be heat cured and remain relatively porous. This last factor permits the ink to better penetrate the substrate. You can also add various additives to plastisol to make it do different things; however, plastisol’s texture can vary greatly and it sits heavily on the fabric, creating a “puffed” or 3D look.

For Soft Vintage Finishes: Water-Based Inks

As the name implies, water-based ink has a water base rather than a PVC one, like Plastisol. Water-based ink also lacks plasticizers; unlike Plastisol, which gives it a translucence and lower opacity than premium standard or Plastisol inks. This means that less ink needs to be used on light fabrics; however, on darker fabrics, water-based inks may need an underbase to prevent the t-shirt’s darker color from affecting the ink brightness.

Water-based inks are also a softer hand, meaning they are much softer to touch than thicker Plastisol inks. While water-based inks still work on a wide variety of fabrics, you’ll have to avoid nylon and pure polyester fabrics, which prevent proper adhesion.

Long-Lasting Prints on Light Colors: Discharge Inks

Discharge is similar to water-based ink but has an additive, Zinc Formaldehyde Sulfoxylate (ZFS), which removes the dye used by the manufacturer. Discharge ink comes in three forms: clear, pigmented, and white. Clear discharge inks only remove dye from fabric, leaving either the color of the garment after interacting with ZFS or only removing the fabric’s dye. White discharge ink removes dye from the fabric and replaces it with pigment. Since discharge ink is also water-based, it may absorb deeply into the fabric providing a long lasting print. However, discharge inks can cause many color issues. It should never be used with t-shirts that are Kelly Green, Royal Blue, Cobalt, Turquoise, Teal, Lapis, or Purple because otherwise, the ink will cause the shirt color and ink to bleed together.

For Multiple Types of Projects: Premium Standard Inks

Premium standard blends multiple ink types. It often has a discharge ink underbase, as well a blended topcoat, which has Plastisol additives.  The topcoat is made of plastisol with additives in order to soften the ink and remove unwanted shine. As a result, though not eco-friendly, the ink can be used in a variety of projects. Like discharge inks, Premium standard can’t be used on the same colors as above.

For a Quick-Drying Bright Finish: Fashion Soft Inks

Fashion soft is a softened plastisol, but the key component is the discharge underbase. This simultaneously allows the same softness as water-based inks while boasting the same brightness that plastisol offers. Though as soft as water-based inks, fashion soft ink is not eco-friendly. Fashion soft inks also dry very quickly, requiring you to work very quickly to create your screen print.

Choosing the right kind of ink for your project is a crucial part of the screen printing process. Make sure to experiment with inks before mass-producing your work to make sure you are satisfied with the final product.

Consider these insights on inks used in screen printing from Clothing Shop Online!

T-Shirts 101 – Basics of Buying Tees

Around the globe, the humble t-shirt has evolved into the cornerstone of most people’s wardrobes. As a result, printing on t-shirts and selling them online has become a popular choice for many entrepreneurs. How you choose what kind of t-shirt will suit your project remains a crucial first step to ensuring your clients receive a high-quality product they’ll love and be able to use for years to come.

Size, fit, material, softness, and weight are all important factors when choosing what kind of t-shirt to buy. It’s also important to pick fabrics that are less likely to pill, shrink or fade. While two t-shirts may look exactly the same, they may not perform the same.

Learning the nitty-gritty of t-shirt lingo can be confusing at first, so here are a few clarifications on terms you’ll encounter when buying t-shirts in bulk:

What Does ‘Singles’ Mean?

The term single refers to the diameter of a yarn, which is based on the number of times the fiber is twisted into shape. In other words, the higher the singles, the softer the garment. This is because more singles increase the knit of a fabric. Similar to bed sheets, singles refers to the thread count of a t-shirt’s fabric. Lower-quality t-shirts are generally made from 18 to 20 singles, while higher quality t-shirts have 30 singles or more. A higher singles count also means fabric is less likely to fade, look fuzzy or tear.

Isn’t that like the weight of a fabric? Not exactly. A fabric’s weight relates to how much it weighs per square yard. Outside the United States, the fabric weight is given per square meter. Fabric can have a heavyweight, but still, have a lower singles count.

What Does CVC Mean?

Chief Value Cotton, abbreviated often as CVC, is a blend of polyester and cotton in which cotton dominates. Originally, CVC blends were invented to lower export and import duties. However, given their softness and dimension, CVC t-shirts are often mistaken for more expensive tri-blends. In contrast with tri-blends, CVC t-shirts don’t have rayon making them a more economical choice.

Choosing a CVC blend means you can offer clients a higher quality product by spending less than on a comparable, tri-blend fabric. It also means you can invest more in your design or other elements of your business, such as marketing.

 

What’s the difference between Carded Open-End versus Ringspun?

Carded open-end is a less expensive way to turn cotton into yarn. To do so, fibers are wrapped perpendicular to the bundle creating texture at the micro level. Carded open-end, at the micro level, appears more ‘fuzzy’ and uneven. In contrast, ringspun cotton’s fibers all run in the same direction giving the impression of a smoother, tighter knit. Simply put, ringspun is higher in quality because the fibers, more tightly knit and smooth, hold screen-printing ink more evenly and are less likely to fade. Though carded open-end was the industry standard for decades, ringspun t-shirts now dominate due to how they look better and last longer.

Image result for carded open-end

Choosing the right kind of t-shirt for your project has its own challenges, but make sure to read labels on fabrics and create samples of the final product before mass-producing your work when possible. Consider these insights on t-shirt quality from Clothing Shop Online!

Looking for more t-shirt tips? Our guide to finding the right tee will give you plenty of insight on what else to look for, and our fabric care guide will give you insight on how to make them last!

10 Upcycling Crafts for Spring

A new season means a whole new set of DIY projects to try out, and with Spring in full swing, there are plenty of opportunities to try out your crafting skills. Why is this the perfect time to get started on those Pinterest perfect projects? It’s because of spring cleaning! With all the excess garments you have just cleaned out of your wardrobe, you have plenty of materials to fuel your creativity. You can turn a plain old tee into a new fashionable tank top, or an old over-sized sweatshirt into a two-piece skirt outfit. The possibilities are endless. So, let Clothing Shop Online give some ideas on how to upcycle your old clothes into new closet favorites.

A Sweet Summer Dress

An old button-down in a cute striped pattern or a denim chambray shirt is the perfect fabric to create a sweet little dress for your little girl! Not only are you creating something useful out of something old, but it is also going to be something that your toddler can wear throughout the spring and summer season. Not sure where to start? Take a look at this pattern by See Kate Sew, and get some inspiration from her adorable patterns.

A Wrap Linen Skirt

Another way to re-purpose that old button-down shirt is to make it into a skirt. With some easy cuts and a little work, you can make a smooth and breezy wrap skirt that will fit perfectly in your spring wardrobe. Stick to upcycling a neutral or light colored button-down so that it can be a great basic bottom for your closet as well. Start by following this pattern by Trash to Couture and get creative by adding your own flair to it.

No Sew Crop Top

Looking for a little less work in your upcycling endeavors? Try out this super easy idea for a no-sew crop top. All it takes is a few cuts, and you have a new crop top. Maybe you have an old t-shirt that you absolutely love, but unfortunately, it’s worn out at the hem or may be too short. You can measure the length of the shirt and see where you want to cut off the bottom at and cut the sleeves off and Voila! A new top for your closet.

Dip Dyed Tank Tops

Already have a tank top that you like, but maybe want to give it a new look? How about dip dying? Dip dying your tank top is a way to get a cool ombre effect that you would see in stores, at home. Pick a fabric dye in the color that you want, tie a rubber band around the part of the shirt you want the color to end, and the original shirt color to begin. Then, scrunch up the bottom of the shirt and place the dye where you want. For a little extra originality, make it a fringed tank top by cutting slits up the bottom of the shirt! You can even add multiple colors as they did at Brit + Co!

Add a Little Lace

To add a little pizzazz to a t-shirt, maybe try adding a little lace to it? All you need is a pair of scissors, an iron, some adhesive, and a fun stencil pattern. Take a loose t-shirt and create a fun piece of fashion with it to add to your wardrobe. Mr. Kate is an excellent example of utilizing this upcycle project, by making this cute lace moon t-shirt.

A Light Patterned Scarf

While it is warming up a bit outside, there are still some chilly days. A gorgeous and trendy spring scarf look can be created with only a few minutes of creative fun. Check out this fantastic tutorial from Make and Tell for some inspiration on how to create your own unique scarf for the springtime.

Fun With Fringe

Looking to add a unique accessory to your closet? How about a fringe necklace? Take a t-shirt in your favorite color (maybe two if you want to mix up the colors in the necklace) and cut strips of your shirt. You can either tie them to a chain or on another piece of fabric and trim it to your desired length. Brit + Co has some great ideas on how to make your own custom jewelry out of a simple t-shirt.

A New Hair Accessory

As the weather starts heating up, it is imperative to have a way to hold back your hair that is both functional and stylish. The Pretty Life Girls have done a great job by utilizing their old t-shirts to create these adorable tie-dye headbands. Not only are they easy to design, but they are a perfect way to show off your favorite spring colors.

A Customized Tote

We all see and love those cute canvas tote bags that have fun phrases and adorable illustrations on them but don’t you know that you can create your own? With some fabric paint in your favorite color and an everyday canvas tote, you can have a new tote bag that you can take anywhere! Take a look at this example from Burkatron where DIYer Caroline did this exact thing!

So before you throw out or give away all those old pieces in your closet, see if there is a way to upcycle them into something new and fitting for your spring wardrobe.

The Clothing Shop Online Screen Print Guide

Ready to get your screen printing business started? Clothing Shop Online has compiled the best tips and tricks in our screen printing guide.

From gathering the right supplies to the best techniques for ink application, we’ve got all the information you need to get started with screen printing. Check out our easy to follow guidelines, checklists, and visuals that will make you a pro printer in no time!

Download it here for free!

Wardrobe Essentials: Spring Capsule Wardrobe

Ah, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and flowers are blooming. Spring is here and you know what that means…it is time to update your wardrobe!

We have all searched our Pinterest boards and have saved pictures of influencers in pretty pastels, lightweight sweaters, and adorable flats, and we are ready to start shopping. Instead of cramming armloads of new clothes into your closet, that let’s be honest, we won’t wear half of them, maybe it’s time to minimize.

Not sure how? Don’t worry! Here at Clothing Shop Online, we have plenty of tips to help you have that Pinterest worthy spring capsule wardrobe.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A term coined by boutique owner Susie Faux in the 1970s, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of pieces that you have carefully picked to work in multiple outfit combinations that will never go out of style. The idea of a capsule wardrobe is to fill it with a small number of pieces that you absolutely love. Ideally, you would keep the number of items in it anywhere from 37 pieces and below. This is including pants, shirts, jackets, and accessories.

But why should you minimize your wardrobe? Well, not only do you create a more organized closet by doing this, but it allows you to:

  1. Be more thoughtful in your outfit choices.
  2. Spend less on purchasing clothes
  3. Cultivate your personal style
    It is definitely something to practice if you are looking to get a better handle on your personal style and organization.

Decluttering Your Closet

Before you jump into getting rid of all of your clothes, take some time to declutter your current clothes situation. By taking the time to go through your closet, you may find pieces that you can utilize in your new capsule wardrobe. Yes, it may take more time than just starting completely over, but you will save a lot of money and find a renewed love for pieces already in your care. So, take the time to sort through your items, see what sparks joy ( à la Marie Kondo) and get to cleaning.

Need some suggestions on how to start detoxifying your wardrobe? Take a look at these easy tips to get you started!

Choosing Your Style

It’s important to know that a capsule wardrobe isn’t meant to limit your style, but it is meant for you to enhance your personal style. By minimizing the pieces in your closet to the ones that you truly love to wear, you are making choices in what you want your style to be.
Participating in this organizational technique, also helps you curate your wardrobe to your lifestyle as well. Maybe you live an active lifestyle and want to only have pieces that are versatile athleisure wear because you don’t have much use for a stiff button-down. This is just an example of how a capsule wardrobe is unique to you and only you.

Finally, you can also use your capsule wardrobe as a way to keep a consistent color palette within your closet. Because you are able to see the items within your closet, you can also take the time to make sure the colors within it compliment your style. Ask yourself questions like:
• What do I already have in my closet?
• What colors look best on me?
• What colors go well together?
• What colors are “in-season?”

Must-Haves for Your Wardrobe

So now that we’ve cleaned out our wardrobe and discovered our personal style, it’s time to talk about what you need to have in your capsule wardrobe…basics. Although they aren’t as exciting as the flashier pieces in your closet, having a good selection of quality basics is an important part of being able to form stylish and versatile outfits.

Some pieces that are a must-have for your capsule wardrobe are:
• A White T-Shirt
• A Breezy Tank Top
• A Light Jacket
• Comfy Sneakers
Check out our spring wardrobe must-haves and find basics that will be perfect for you!

Keeping It Up

In order to keep up the quality of your wardrobe, it is important to take good care of your pieces. Do this by knowing, the washing instructions of each garment and taking the time to hang up or fold each piece rather than leave it in your laundry basket to get wrinkled. Know the proper procedures for ironing the fabrics and also removing stains. Check out our post about fabric care to get a crash course in how to make your garments last longer.

As well as taking care of the clothes you choose to keep, you should also make a appoint to revisit the process of cleaning out your wardrobe at least once every three months. This way you can keep track of what pieces need to stay in your closet, be stored until next season, or be given away.
Less is more when it comes to the clothes you love, so start minimizing and follow our tips for getting that perfect closet that you see on every trendy blog! Also, don’t forget Clothing Shop Online when you’re stocking up on fashionable basics because we have plenty.