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I have long had a passion for the screen printed garment. I have collected screen printed t-shirts from various musicals and events, even to the extent that I would hunt them down in second hand shops and buy tees that were far too big for me! Screen printing makes sense to me. It is cost effective, it is aesthetically pleasing, it’s trendy, it’s lasting and most of all, I am proud to wear it – anywhere!
But what about embroidery? Embroidery is something that older women do in their limit-less spare time. It is something that older men get on their bowling club polos. It looks messy. You can only get simple designs. Well, it turns out I’ve had to eat my words!
Recently I have become intimately involved with the embroidery process. I have learnt how to digitise the design. I have learnt how to run the embroidery machine. I have learnt how to change the tension and the stitch density to suit the garment type. I have learnt how to trim back and I have even learnt a lot of words I never knew existed!
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T-Shirt Screen Printing is a beautiful, intricate and occasionally messy decoration technique which crosses the border between art and fashion.
But what is so incredible about it?
At first, I was scared of screen printing. It seems to be a very permanent application of something onto something that actual people are going to wear. Unlike internet graphics, which can be changed in a matter of seconds if there are any mistakes, screen printing uses real ink on a real t-shirt and as a result leaves the printer with a real responsibility.
Not just the printer, in fact everyone who is involved with the printing process. That starts with the customer, continues with the sales assistant, passes onto the art department who hands the baton to the printers who oversee the final product.