It sounds like a stupid question, but so many people don't know. Often I hear; "I never touch the controls I just turn it on". So I thought I would take this opportunity to offer some advice on the best way to look after your printed or embroidered clothes.
As a general rule, all natural materials need more care than man-made fabrics. Polyester, for instance, needs less attention as the amount increases when mixed with cotton. The hardest of materials is 50% Polyester and 50% Cotton, known as 50/50.
I mean by this mainly 100% cotton t-shirts or garments where the cotton content is high. So here is my best advice;
turn the garment inside out, so the print is inside the garment this will protect the print from the other clothes in the wash.
Wash no higher than 40 degrees centigrade. 30 degrees Celsius will give the best results and is eco-friendly too using less energy to heat the water.
Use mildest detergents and conditioners, do not use any whiters. These are usually some form of bleach which will fade the dyed fabric and damage the print.
Do not tumble dry. The tumble dryer reaches very hight temperatures to dry the clothes and will shrink the clothes or remove the print from the garment. Also, the rolling motion of the drum will act as an abrasive on the print.
Let the garment dry naturally either outside on a washing line (do people have these anymore?) or on a cloth horse. Try to keep the garment as flat as possible; it will keep its shape better this way.
Ironing: if you must, turn the garment inside out and iron on the reverse side. Use a cold to medium temperature and avoid the print when ironing.
If you can do all this, then the garment will last as long as the print and may the spirit of Widow Twanky guide your hand while you are at your laundry.
Below is a PDF of all the washing symbols you see in shop bought clothes. To aid you in your good washing practice.
This tip applies to all printed garments; all printed matter has a context. Let me explain. The owner of a restaurant or bar comes to me to print the business name onto some garments. So far so good, writing the name of the firm onto workwear marks them out as employees. Then they say that the address and telephone number needs to go onto the back.
"Why?" I ask.
This information is relevant for a business card or letter heading, but not for printed garment in this situation. Pointing out that if I were in the restaurant, then I would know the address, for some reason I don't need the phone number or would I need to phone number to call the waiter to get his / her attention? I can hear you laugh, but this happens quite regularly. Surely this space on the back of the shirt could be used for some better purpose!
Putting the name of your child onto his / her t-shirt is an advert to everybody who does not know their name, perfect for customer services, but for a four-year-old who doesn't understand that all not all adults are friendly. Over the many years printing t-shirts and such like, I have pointed this out to many parents. The prevalence for putting your name onto t-shirt is growing in fashion, especially on children's garments. This blog comes under; just because you can, should you.
I remember a parent in my office wanting to put the name of her child onto the back of a t-shirt. I consider it my professional duty to point out the wisdom of this action; I gave this illustration by saying "if a strange can up to your child and said 'Hi Johnny Mummy said it was okay to come with me' " she saw the sense and refrained. Think before you print.
Here is a constructon worker relaxing on a steel gerder. In early 20th Century it might have been observed that it was only working men who wore vests or singlets. I would added that working in shirts and waistcoats would have been uncomfortable, removing them would made it easier to work in. There could be other reasons ; the clothes would have been expensive to replace. As seen in the adjacent photo of a steel worker relaxing on the empire state building circa 1931.
Author: Simon Burdge
this blog is about printing and special designing for garments. I have come to believe that designing of printing t-shirts is grossly misunderstood. I hope to offer a few pointers.