It may seem simple, but customizing and printing t-shirts is a complex process. That's why we've put together a must-know guide on how to check quality t-shirts before and after ordering.
Multiple variables affect the quality and durability of a personalized garment. Some of these are those:
Fabrics are used in ready-made clothing.
How the specific printing and customization method is applied.
The most suitable garment and production for your printing needs.
Consider the fabric used
Prints look better on cotton-based clothing. They also age better than synthetic ones. For this reason, products made from blended materials lose their shape and quality faster because each component has different expiration dates. However, cotton does not have to guarantee exceptional quality.
You should know that not all cotton is created equal. Here's a simple casting: Longer fibers and denser woven fibers produce longer-lasting garments. True quality is related to the density and softness of the material, not its weight or thickness. Therefore, rely on a cotton fabric that is soft and tight at the same time as opposed to a heavy and thick one.
However, synthetic fibers can also be of good quality. Natural textiles come in both good and bad forms, and the same can be said for synthetic.
Synthetic fabrics like polyester have a bad reputation, but they're not bad. They are involved in the fashion industry and have superior elasticity, impermeability, breathability, etc. they are known for their properties.
Consider the printing or customization technique
Just as a good chef knows the ingredients, so a good printer knows their techniques.
It is an easy process to turn a picture into vector designs and apply them to a screen for the printing phase. True quality in screen printing comes from a proper curing process in which the design is sealed to the fibers, allowing the ink to stretch with the fabric rather than crack.
As a reference; Poorly cured ink tends to adhere to itself and peel off or fall off completely during washing, while over cured ink will most likely crack.
Direct to Garment Printing (Direct to Garment, DTG)
It allows printers to work with many colors and complex designs in a highly detailed and cost-effective manner for their customers. The key to this digital printing technique lies in how sophisticated the machines are and choosing the appropriate garment in advance.
When using darker fabrics, we recommend applying pre-coated layers to securely fix the colors.
Transfer printing takes special cuts of paper, silkscreen or digitally printed pages, pre-existing designs or colored paints and transfers (glues) them to the formal wear. Cheap materials can result in worthless products after 1 or 2 uses.
With embroidery - most used when customizing fleece materials, polo shirts and jackets - what matters is needle and pacing speed. Whether you're embroidering a hat or a T-shirt, the top quality finish won't poke holes or create "feathers".
Finally; A lower number of stitches per minute will create higher quality products. So take your time in production speeds.
Decide on the technique that suits you best
One of the basic elements of producing personalized clothing is knowing which technique they will take. Printing and business professionals will tell you which fabrics, materials, and printing methods best suit your goals.
For example, for a summer concert or festival, t-shirts need to be lighter and more breathable.
Sportswear will need to be based on synthetic materials.
Your staff is more likely to use polos and ultra-durable T-shirts.
These are just a few examples of how the final decision can be made to meet special considerations.
How to check durability in printed garments?
Factors affecting the durability of a personalized garment are:
Good build for the garment itself.
Fabric quality used
Longevity of prints and elements
It is necessary to avoid customized clothing that will look cheap after use and wash, deteriorate, and the prints will crack, discolor or peel off. Below we will tell you how to check this like a pro.
1: Examine the Structure of the Garment
We need to use good textiles for a quality T-shirt, but knowing how it's made is equally important. After all, it doesn't matter how good the materials are, if a building is poorly built, it will still collapse. Many different types of knits and stitches willgive a shirt its strength and durability.
Examine the stitches and hems first to see if there is any missing thread.
Stitches are the muscles of a garment; they are the thing that holds everything together. Because manufacturers will always pay more attention to the outside of a T-shirt, the easiest way to tell if a garment is well made is to turn it inside out. Is it sewn evenly? Does he lie flat? Any loose threads?
Also, check how many stitches it has. As a rule; the higher the number, the better. This means more time spent on clothing.
Like the seams, the edges are an indicator of the care taken in creating the garment. When it comes to T-shirts, you should pay special attention to the collar, sleeves, and bottom skirt. There you can see clear signs of poor production.
2: How to Check the Quality of a Fabric?
The easiest test is simply to touch it. A quality T-shirt never feels plastic or chunky. If the fabric also feels soft but stiff then chances are it is good quality material. However, 'softness' can be easily deceived, so you should pay attention to the following details:
Check the density of the fabric; Point the garment at a light source and see how transparent it becomes. The higher the transparency, the less dense the fabric will be. As we mentioned above, you should look for soft yet robust fabrics.
Firmly crumple a portion of the garment in your hand and then release it. If there are a lot of wrinkles, it is probably poor quality, if there are no wrinkles, it is probably a synthetic material. Ideally, you should be looking for something between these two extremes.
Also, by measuring the length of the fiber, you can usually determine the quality of the fabric. The longer the fiber, the better the quality is considered. Simply put, the longer fibers make it easier to cut the material into a thinner thread. Therefore, it can be made durable and soft by sticking them together. If it does not wrinkle again, it is proof that longer fiber has been used.
Softness is another trait often associated with quality t-shirts, so there are a lot of scammers out there. Regularly, T-shirts are coated with a chemical (often starch) that softens the material to the touch but is not permanent. For this reason, many souvenir t-shirts sold on the streets start to 'harden' after a few washes.
3: How to know if the printed design will crack?
Regardless of the technique used - customization by screen printing, DTG, or transfers - cracking in printing or transferred materials is the most common type of distortion. However, if the operations are carried out properly, there will be no cracking. Since new clothes will always look great, you can check if the artwork will crack like this:
Stretch the part where the print is to know if it's curing properly. You should see that the ink stretches with the fabric. If it cracks, it was not done properly and will most likely be washed out soon.
Watch out for cracks and peeling throughout the design and at the corners. Screen printing amateurs often have trouble adjusting the time, temperature, pressure, or peeling for each technique during the printing process.
Tap the print to check how much ink and coated layers are applied. We're looking for solid print (some thickness) but not too much. Whether the garment is DTG or silk-screen printed, too much thickness can mean that too much ink has been printed or too much fixation has been covered, resulting in a higher likelihood of cracking.
In the case of transfer printing, using cheaper materials will also create cracks over time. Touching, stretching, and wrinkling the print will give you clues about the quality of the transfer.
Another thing that can happen with transference customization is that the artwork can be peeled off and separated from the garment. This is related to how well it adheres to the fabric due to pressing on the garment before transferring or removing unwanted moisture from the fabric. Take a closer look at the borders of the transferred area and see if some peeling appears. To be sure, run your fingers and nails across the borders of the transfer. If you think you can take it off, it will peel off itself after use and washing.
4: Find out if it will be colorless
If washed properly, good prints and transfers will not lose their color over the lifetime of the garment. You can understand this as follows:
Is it losing some color already?
Believe it or not, cheap printing can cause smudges and discoloration, even if it looks great at first glance.
Touch the print or transfer print and rub your fingertips into it. You will see if your fingers are smudged. If you notice that it comes off even a little, this is a clear sign that this garment was printed in the lowest quality.
Another way to find out is to check if other areas of the shirt are contaminated with the colors included throughout the garment. If this happens, be careful not to use and re-wash the garment as it may damage and dye other garments.