Ok, raise your hand if you have bought an amazing hoodie and within DAYS, actual days, it started to develop all those pesky little balls, or pills on it. You first notice them on the forearm, then under the arm, and man it frustrates you!! Or the color on the ink starts to look a little dull!
Right?? I mean, I can't stand them and hoodies are one of my fave things! I seriously live in them! And when you throw down some hard earned money, well you want it to last, right??? So lets talk about fabric and some things to care for your items!
Now, the quality of the shirt and hoodies I print on is very important to the wearability over time. I will always strive to find the best products for my art. Some of the apparel items are sourced from Independent Trading Company, Bella Canvas, Royal Apparel and Threadfast. These are some of the leaders in the industry! I am constantly looking for new vendors and businesses I can partner with, trust me, it is an ongoing process!
But, there really are some rules to follow when washing and drying screen printed apparel! There are also somethings that just come with the garments, like it or not! Hopefully this information helps you with taking care of your clothes and favorite screen printed hoodies and tees (and maybe leggings!)
No.1 -- Always use cold water. It is kinder and way more gentle on fabrics. Don't worry, it will get your clothes clean. Unless you work in a hospital laundry, you do not need to wash your clothes with hot water!
No. 2 -- Turn your clothes inside out! Whatever you are washing, it doesn't matter, just turn them inside out. It will preserve the ink much better!! This can help with fading of ink and pilling of clothing! (Pilling is caused by friction!)
No. 3 -- DO NOT dry your clothes in a hot dryer! EVER!!! I cannot say this enough. Towels are fine, you can cook those babies. But no good comes to your tees, hoodies or jeans when thrown in a hot dryer. Now, if you are one that just has to put a garment in a dryer for "just a bit", that is fine. BUT, low temp, and always remove them from the dryer before they are complety dry to hang up or lay flat.
No. 4 -- Wash like items together. So, tees with tees, hoodies with hoodies etc. You ideally want a load to be similar in texture and weight. This will help to limit the amount of rubbing that happens between the items. Friction or fabric rubbing together, is the the QUICKEST way to create those pesky pills on your clothing. Custom printed items can start to crack and fade with to much friction.
NOW....let's talk about fabrics for a second!
What do you want in a hoodie? Most commonly I hear the words -- cozy, comfortable, fluffy. To me, a ultra soft hoodie is like a warm hug! What about a tee? Maybe -- silky, like pajamas, breathable.
The type of fabric and how it feels is very important. Fabrics that are loose, fluffy, cozy feeling will tend to pill more. This is just due to the fibers in the fabric coming loose. Fabrics that are more structured and tight, you will notice pilling a lot later (but trust me it will happen). Unfortunately, this actually happens a bit more on expensive brands. People love them because they are soft, but hate the bi-product that comes with that fluffiness -- pills.
Just be aware -- that places where there is more friction (under arms) will pill quicker.
100% cotton products are great and a staple in many closets. With advances in how cotton is processed, we are seeing garments that have long durability and hold fabric color well. They are a great choice for screen printing, however we have to be a little more cautious of possible shrinking and quicker fading of colors vs a blend.
Cotton blend (cotton/poly) -- this has become a leader in printing, because of how long these products last, how vibrant the colors are and the feel of the fabric itself. The moisture wicking capabilities and lightweight feel make it a favorite for many printers and customers.
Now, I primarily print on blends. It is just a preference. 100% cotton items are just not what I have found success in, but as they continue to make cotton products better, this might change.
In a perfect world our clothes would always look amazing and never wear out, but unfortunately they do. Like my favorite pair of jeans that finally gave out, because my thighs were rubbing together -- yep friction caused that (LOL!). There are things we can do though, how we care for our clothing can assist in how they look and last. Buy a clothing shaver, they work wonders!
At Crab Terror Island we will always strive to find the best products possible. These usually come with a higher price tag, but in the end I know it is right. Quality over quantity!! As we grow and evolve, Crab Terror Island will be searching out brands that are Made in the USA and use sustainable fabrics, with the end goal to print solely on these at some point.
Any questions, just leave them in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
Sina Sena is a small island, Alaska girl, who has BIG goals! She is a novice coffee connoisseur loves romance novels and is always down to eat sweets! She is married to her high school sweetheart, and they are trying to not get run over by their three boys! As a mom she believes that it is important to maintain her own identity and knows she is better because she works hard everyday to pursue her own goals. If you ever want to talk business, it is what makes her want to leap out of bed everyday (except in the winter, because Alaska is freaking cold then)!