Printing imperfections are the most common result of printing over seams. Anytime an image hits a seam, or is very close to hitting a seam, ink deposit inconsistencies are possible and should be expected and understood as acceptable. Certain seams may cause worse inconsistencies, but all seams run the risk of causing imperfect prints.
There are five main places to keep in mind when deciding to print over seams.
1. SLEEVE TO CHEST – This is the most common seam that people run into printing imperfections. At Real Thread, we see a lot of rather large designs hit the press; the kind that where people want the entire body of the shirt printed on, but not the sleeves. When printing a size run of XS – 2XL, it’s always important to understand that the amount of print space varies. This means your design may print over the seam on sizes XS – S, but not on M – 2XL.
2. COLLAR SEAM – This seam is frequently printed over when using an all over printing method. Shirt collars are constructed in a variety of different manners, so some print much better than others. Being that this is also a much thicker seam, printing imperfections tend to be a little more drastic here than other places.
3. BOTTOM SEAM – This seam generally yields a nice smooth print result. It’s usually only two layers of fabric thick and has a nice smooth stitch. Inconsistencies are still common, but far less dramatic.
4. SIDE SEAMS – This seam is often times a hit or miss. Some shirts are manufactured using “tubular construction” and therefore won’t have any side seams. Others aren’t made this way, which yields a print imperfection. If you work with an experienced printer, there often times isn’t a problem printing over side seams.
5. SHOULDER SEAM – This seam comes into play most often when using the all over printing method. Being that it’s a thicker seam than most others, printing imperfections tend to be more drastic on occasion.
So how can you avoid printing imperfections? There are a few different ways. One way is to work with the seam instead of against it. Create a design that has a decent amount of distress on it so a number of breaks throughout your design already exist. This will make printing imperfections a lot less obvious. Another way to avoid printing imperfections is by working against them, but help lessen the amount of imperfections that occur by using a Seam Setup. This method includes adding a layer of foam to the pallets on a press to absorb some of the pressure and help disperse the ink across the shirt in a much smoother way.
Let us help you make the best decisions when it comes to printing to yield the highest quality product possible. Let us help you make the best decisions when it comes to printing to yield the highest quality product possible. Plan on how to #wearthedifference by visiting Real Thread today!