Printing on the Outsider Tee

By Tom Davenport
June 5, 2018

We invited expert screen printer Tom Davenport of Motions Textiles to print on our new #1010 Heavy Wash Jersey Outsider Tee.  Check out Tom’s Outsider print below:

OutsiderTee_Macro_Grey 1 copy

A very soft shirt deserves a very soft print."     


Alternative Apparel makes some of the softest shirts around and their new #1010 Heavy Wash Jersey Outsider Tee is no different. It’s extremely soft and worthy of the right kind of printing. The “right kind of printing” starts with design and then takes the garment’s fabrication, silhouette, and color into consideration. The project at hand is to print a shirt for a rock and roll event on both the Royal and Green colorway of Alternative’s Outsider Tee.


The Testing Phase


Step 1: Discharge Testing

First, we manually print a large square of ink to test whether the shirt will discharge at all and to get an idea of what the discharged color will look like (some shirts discharge to a tannish white and some to a bright white.) Discharge ink gets catalyzed and printed and then run through a dryer to see how well the fabric discharges.

We place the Royal shirt on the press and flood and print the discharge ink.
















The discharge ink doesn’t look like much because it only works when heated and it needs to be put through the textile oven (dryer). The shirt is placed on the conveyor to pass through the dryer.










The shirt comes through the dryer and clearly discharges very well to a bright white. The same process is applied to the Green shirts.









Step 2: Dye Migration Testing

The second portion of the test is a dye migration test. A few drops of plasticizer (often called non-curable reducer) are placed on the shirt and a piece of white fabric is placed over it and then heat pressed at about 360 degrees for 5 to 10 seconds under medium pressure.


The amount of dye which comes on to the white fabric indicates how much the dye might migrate into the ink and will determine what type of ink you might need to use. Both shirts show no indication that there will be dye migration to deal with. The royal shirt discharges well, so discharge ink is the choice for a type of ink as it gets the very softest result.

















The Printing Phase


Step 3: Choosing the Right Artwork

A good print result always starts with artwork. In the case with a soft, vintage-styled tee like the Outsider, it’s important to achieve a corresponding soft, vintage-styled print    (a bright square of thick ink would not look good or feel good of a shirt like this).  To accomplish this, we distress the design and the fade it back. This will bring out more of the fabric and achieve a worn-in, vintage look.

A good print result always starts with artwork."


Step 4: The Print Run

The royal Outsider is loaded on to the automatic press with laser locator. Then the print is done with a print order of black and then discharge yellow and then discharge white (which discharges the shirt mostly to white and also adds some white pigment to make it even brighter).
























After we complete our print run of the Royal colorway, we move next to Green. The green tee is printed with plastisol which has had soft hand additives added. The print order is black, then yellow and then a flash cure to keep the yellow brighter, followed by the white.


IMG_1674 IMG_1677





















Step 5: Dry & Finish

At first glance the royal shirt looks a bit yellow and a bit white but it will not be as bright until it goes through the dryer. The royal Outsider comes out of the dryer with a soft print that is fully yellow and white. 


















The Final Product


In the end, the final prints have a vintage-inspired look and are soft to the touch to pair perfectly with the Outsider Tee.


Royal FinalGreen Final














We'd like to thank Tom for showing the off his skills on the Outsider tee. Make sure you get your own to try! Made for the ones who follow their own path & march to the beat of their own drum, our new five ounce 100% cotton Heavy Wash Outsider Tee is crafted with heavier yarns, making it the perfect transitional piece. As unique as you, this garment has been hand-treated with intentional imperfections for authentically worn-in softness and style.   





Tom Davenport is founder and CEO of Motion Textile company, a full-service contract apparel printer based in Sacramento, CA. With extensive years of industry experience, Davenport has a broad knowledge of textile screen printing.

Related: Fabrics, In The Making, Printing & Decorating, How To Tips

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