Amy’s Rogue Valley tee


Amy’s Kitchen was the Grand Marshal at the recent Pear Blossom Festival parade in Medford, Oregon, so they designed some very nice t-shirts for their team to wear. The design was so pretty, it was going to require 12 ink colors (those gradations and drop shadows really add up). While that was totally do-able, Amy’s was open to re-working their art to a simpler version for the tees. Still great, less ink, less money, more good.

For this project, we used one of the “Original Bottle Tees” from Earthspun Apparel. In addition to being super-soft and a lovely color, this Water Bottle Blue shirt has a pretty nice pedigree:

“Each Original Bottle Tee™ saves the equivalent of 6.5 20oz plastic bottles from the landfill and 18 quarts of water by eliminating textile dyeing. The Earthspun® colors we offer are derived from recycled bottles and other recycled plastics we use to create our fiber. Green is made from green soda bottles, brown is made from brown beer and root beer bottles. Yes, the plastic beer bottles you get at the ball game or race!, Blue is made from blue water bottles, Grey is made from X-ray films, and black is made from black food trays. The recycled cotton we use is postindustrial waste and the recycled polyester we use is a combination of post consumer and postindustrial waste.”

To keep the tees soft – even after printing – and maintain an eco-friendly footprint, we used water-based inks and discharge for this project. Discharge is when you remove the color from the t-shirt fiber, rather than putting down a white ink under-base. Because discharge only works with cotton fiber, we knew that some of the blue tee color would still be in the shirt because the tee is only 35% cotton, the remainder being recycled plastic water bottles.

Amy’s was advised that there would be some color-shifting on their design and everyone was fine with that.

We were able to get a photo of the finished tee next to a white tee with the same imprint. Everyone likes the blue one better, even though the colors on the white are more true to the design. It’s a nice, unifying, effect when the t-color bleeds a bit into the decoration. In this instance, it also mellowed out the color a bit. Totally groovy.

Final design, on the "water bottle blue" tee and an organic white.

Final design, on the “water bottle blue” tee and an organic white.

Corporate Tees with a Retail Feel

Here are some cool new t-shirts we designed and produced for DPR Construction.

2526_Values Block-Womens

2522_Values Block-Men

For these vintage style tees, the text block was distressed in Illustrator with a couple layers of vector art “grit”. Screen printed in a technique using clear ink with just a hint of white added, so the imprint is somewhat transparent, very soft, and picks up a bit of the t-shirt color. The blanks are blended with a heathered color. Girl’s shirts are from the new “gravel” line at Sanmar which features some nice details in the yoke. The guy’s shirt is the District Perfect Weight, in Heathered Navy.

Here’s another new style, the lace-back tee, again in a heathered charcoal. We created a swirly decoration in black and grey to compliment the feminine feel of the tee.

Decorating with direct digital print

Digitally printed fabric patch

We were contacted by the folks at The Moxie Institute with regard to Tiffany Shlain’s newest project, “The Future Starts Here”, a mini-series on AOL-on. They wanted a jacket for their team and supporters, the decoration needed to be a full-color imprint to accommodate the film’s brand, and they wanted it to appear quite small on the garment. And, they wanted the garment to be black.

Screen print and embroidery were out of the question unless we could make significant modifications to the brand. We could have used one of those plastic-y heat transfers, but we don’t love the way those look or feel.

One of our favorite local decorators just got a new direct digital print machine. Typically, those machines are used for printing directly onto garments, but since they wanted a black garment that wouldn’t be possible. How about a fabric patch?

Close up of patch

After multiple iterations of the set up, and a couple false starts on the actual production, we figured out a final version at just 5.25″ x 1.25″, applied with a satin stitch embroidery all around. That little motor cycle guy is just under .5″ high. Looks pretty good, huh?

Now that we know this works, we’re going to dig in a bit more to find out if we can direct print on laser-cut patches. Imagine what you could do with a laser cut patch, applied to a garment, with some over-embroidery. Could be pretty cool….

E3 game-o-rama

T-shirts, buttons and signs for CBS Interactive/Gamespot at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. E3 is the annual video game conference and show at the Los Angeles Convention center.

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we get surprised by results. In this case, the T-shirts were our challenge. In an effort to balance the art size on the girlie tees, we spec’d a smaller imprint. But whoops… that didn’t work out. The detail on the small icons was pinched. Fortunately, our decorator was able to re-print more men’s tees in record time and everyone was happy.

On the plus side, the men’s tee really was quite fab and we’re reprinting it for ComicCon.

XL Construction 5 Year Jackets

For an employee’s 5 year anniversary, XL Construction presents a high-end leather jacket of their choice. They wanted a way to add a subtle commemorative message. The jackets would come from a variety of sources, most not designed to facilitate secondary decoration.

Our Solution? Laser engraved leather patches, hand-stitched into the jacket lining.