All the Wrong Ways to Decorate in a Misinformation Universe


Please find some links and notes from the 2 Regular Guys Podcast. We talk about misinformation in garment and product decoration now and then, so we’ve decided to discuss the most common inaccuracies (kindly put) that we see and hear. Aaron, Terry plus our show producer Erich Campbell will have a roundtable discussion. Hoping to hear from the Regulators (our regular listeners) on the not-so-true information they see in the industry as well!

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All the Wrong Ways to Decorate

Aaron: So today I’m going to be MCing this fun, as you guys are the true production gurus. I have a couple of things I have seen but am looking forward to learning from you guys. Reminder we only have an hour. 🙂 Before I turn it over, I wanted to share a note I got from Terri Sauers of CMO Screen Printings Supply, Inc. a while back that fits into this nicely. She suggested back then a segment on mishaps in shops and what they learned from it as well as crazy questions. Here are 2 –  “Can I cure my shirts in my clothes dryer”. followed with “Can I use my hairdryer?”

Terry: I’ll start with a DTG bit of misinformation that I’ve heard several times recently in seminars I’ve given.”You must pretreat all shirts, even white.”

And I have a Part B: You must use a pretreated shirt within 2 weeks.

Erich: The first and most well-known thing to be mishandled in embroidery is always stabilizer; You’ll notice that I didn’t call it ‘backing’ just now. Just because it looks like stabilizer, doesn’t mean you can use it as stabilizer. If the material you are putting behind your embroidery doesn’t provide dimensional stability, it isn’t stabilizer.

And I *also* have a Part B: You should sample your designs on stabilizer to save money on fabric. If you sample on stabilizer, you’ll certainly see if you have entirely gross errors, but you won’t see any interaction between the embroidery and the garment itself. Worse, some folks sample on heavy, stable cutaway stabilizers and then go on to sew on light stabilizers and super-stretchy performancewear. You can’t change that many variables and have a clear idea of how a garment will react.

Terry: Todd Downing: What about DTG and poly? Is that available yet?

Aaron: So funny story, while we were discussing this week’s show I got an email trying to get me to post their click-bait article. Here is what it said;

I’ve actually published a review guide on “Best Sublimation Printers You Can Buy in 2019”. If you check it out, I think you’ll find that my post is a lot more comprehensive and updated. I was thinking that my post might make a great addition to your article. If you were willing to add a link to my post, I’d be more than happy to feature your post on my social media accounts. I’m sure you’d get some nice publicity.

The first line of the review says “applying a dye on a surface with a low temperature”. That was just the beginning of it too.

Moral of the story. Please take all advice from anyone, my two go to folk here even and do your own research. It seems like everyone wants someone to just tell us what to do and that opens us up to people like this emailer who have ulterior motives. The links in the article are a bunch of click-bait affiliate stuff and they could probably not even say sublimation correctly. The tried to entice me with publicity, but my reply was we could not in good faith post clear misinformation.

Erich: Here’s one I get all the time and I answered a question on just yesterday, someone will say ‘I’ve got bobbin thread that started showing up on the front of my embroidery, what do I tell the digitizer to fix?” Nothing, unless he works in your shop and can clean your bobbins for you. Digitizers don’t have any control over tension, and that’s the problem you are having when you have bobbin thread coming up to the top of the embroidery; though a digitizer might cause some issues with excess density that can cause some looping at extremely dense points in a design, that’s not dragging up bobbin. If you have a problem with that white thread coming up, start by cleaning under the tension spring on your bobbin and if you have intermittent issues, check that you didn’t drop and bend your bobbin case out of round, and do all of that before you touch a tension knob. The most likely issue with tension is the bobbin, and it’s not your digitizer’s fault.

Terry: Here’s one in screen printing I run across regularly… How many coats of emulsion do you need to apply? Most of the answers involve “the Bandaid effect” of problem-solving. Yes, sometimes you need a thicker laydown of emulsion for one reason or another, but not if you’re trying to “fix” a problem.

Aaron: Figuring out the difference between hobby information and true business advice. Yes you could press a blanket with a small format press, but you probably can’t sell it for a profit because you didn’t pay yourself for your time.

Erich: I’ll follow this one up with a tried and true one from the world of embroidery- all embroidery should be priced at $1 per thousand stitches, across the board. The first joke I always make when I hear this is that I can’t take my Albuquerque wages and live the same way I do here in Manhattan; Overhead changes from shop to shop, equipment changes what you can charge, and honestly, the biggest thing I want to pound into everyone’s head is that price does not have to be pegged directly to the amount of labor and materials you put into a product. Let me say that again; We’ve all heard about value-based pricing, but this is the first step before any discussion of perceived value- price does not have to be directly proportional to cost.

Terry: I’ll jump back to DTG and talk about pretreat. If you’re question is, “Did I apply too much?” the answer is almost always, “Yes, that’s too much.”

Aaron: Closing thoughts – Look at the stuff we do every day and figure out if we are actually doing things that we picked up that in hindsight was misinformation. One of my favorite stories is during my first week at Coastal as the new “boss” posting this picture on my door. What are you still doing that needs to be changed?

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