At Embroidery For You STL, one of the fun things about garment decoration is the fact that there are so many methods of decoration from which to choose.   We guide clients  based on what the project is.  Popular methods are embroidery and the popular vinyl process.   Traditionally, embroidery is the better option for apparel, but also the most expensive.   Vinyl has become popular for several reason.   First, a home crafter can easily turn out t-shirts and tumblers.  Second, the home use small vinyl cutters have dropped in price,  and the basic vinyl is economical. However, customers do not realize that vinyl is not for long term nor the time and labor involved to cut, weed and transfer the vinyl to the end product.   So,  how do you know which option is the right option for your project?  Here are some guidelines that may help you with that decision.   Of course, Embroidery For You STL prides itself on offering guidance and suggestions.

First of all,  while screen printing and heat transfer vinyl for t-shirts both work with heat,  the heat required for screen printing is much higher.    If you’re working on a low budget, have a low quantity and the shirt is more of a “novelty,  you are going to want to work with HTV (heat transfer vinyl), which uses a simple heat press. You might use HTV designs for a party (1st birthday, 30th or 50th party), vacations (Disney shirts are VERY popular), or for a milestone of some sort (sports team win, bachelorette party).  Screen printing works for giveaways for businesses, walks to support a cause, or team uniforms.  Minimum quantities for screen printing are usually 15 – 20 pieces. Printing can be in one color or in multi- color.   This discipline decreases in price as quantity of items increase and artwork will need to be vectorized.

Second,  what color is the items to be decorated and whay type of fabric?  It sounds like a silly question,  but screen printing at times will work best on light colored garments.    HTV,  on the other hand,  is not affected by the color of the item onto which it is put.  Color of a garment does not matter for embroidery but the weight / quality of item does play a role in getting a good outcome in this medium.

Third question,  what is the garment going to be used for.  If you want to put your logo on business wear for client meetings and networking events, embroidery is the more professional option.   You will need to supply artwork for the logo or design.   There is a digitizing or set up fee to convert the artwork to a stitch file the embroidery machine can read, and then embroidery fee per item which is based on stitch count.   Embroidery For You STL can also provide the apparel for you which makes us your one stop shop for decorated apparel. 

If your child’s basketball team needs shirts for the players, you would want to use screen printing.   A logo or team name can be printed on the front, with a number printed on the back.   Artwork would be converted to a vector file.   There is also a set up fee to create the printable file and then printing fee per shirt.   One color garments are less expensive than multi color apparel.

If you are doing a winery weekend for a friend’s birthday and most likely will never wear the shirt again, you would choose HTV.  A simple design or lettering can be cut, weeded, and then transferred to a cotton fabric garment, coolie, or  other accessory item.   Do note, due to burning or melting, some items just cannot be printed or vinyl’ed.

There sometimes are situations where you can combine two disciplines in a mixed media decoration.   

Embroidery For You STL offers consultation appointments to discuss your project and vision.   While we do it daily, in a perfect world, embroidery does not work well on thin cotton t-shirts.   Depending on the quality of the fabric, some dri fit sports apparel does not do well with screen printing.    Small script lettering or intricate designs are at times difficult to weed and transfer for printing OR to add to a favorite water bottle / wine class.

We would look forward to “Embroidering For You!”