Uhhm, a better (actually correct) custom printed shirt, please??
June 15, 2016 4:19 PM   Subscribe

I got a shirt printed through Spreadshirt and am less than happy. What are your favorite printers for these (uh, pretty basic) requirements for a single custom tank top for small women?

What I want: This amazing Star Wars Rebel Logo
(It’s my own, I made a high quality PNG and can also pop it into something to save as other file types if need be) that actually keeps it’s shape.
-Preferably a (lighter) gray tank top. Could maybe do a navy? Last resort is a tee but I strongly want a tank. Or a black tank and I can outline the design in white or something but .. meh.
-Fits my petite body. (Bust is 32” ish and the tanks that fit me best are about 13”-14” across the bust laid flat.)
-Not a iron-on/plastic feeling design that's true to color.
-Around $30.
-Reliable company with good exchange/return policy.
-Also I don’t have Flash installed on my computer so if their design software is flash free that’s helpful but I could install it if required.

Problem: See the photo.
It got all egg-shaped. I emailed Spreadshirt and they were less than helpful. Saying, “I am not sure a reprint will deliver a different result.  With the fitted tank, the stretch causes the elongation.” I also feel the gray is darker than the website.

Well, that’s crap. A circle should print as a circle no matter what it’s printed on. I literally can’t even stretch it to be the proper shape if I pull as hard as possible. No where on the website does it say that circles will come out as eggs. (I am a person that deals often with graphic design and printing though not clothing printing but that’s just crap to me.) They also have round design things available on their website that come on the fitted tank! Soo.. what, if you order that you get an egg-disco ball? Luckily my dad’s (mens L) shirt which has a half-moon on it turned out fine.

I asked if there were tanks or tees that won’t make this happen - however I may just take the store credit for another print that won’t matter if it’s stretched or get a tote bag or something, but I think I want to take this print to another company. Plus, their regular tank top looks too large for me, so that’s out.

It looks like Uber Prints has a nice American Apparel gray tank with no min. - is their company any good?

Cafe Press only has a very dark navy or black tank and I’d have to outline my design which I don’t really want to do.

Where should I print this shirt? I desperately need it. I literally designed this print to end up being a s shirt for myself because of the lack of awesome Star Wars Rebel symbol shirts for women.
posted by Crystalinne to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Also any experience with Design a Shirt? They have a gray juniors tank. (Don't have flash installed right now so I can't test-design at the moment.)
posted by Crystalinne at 4:29 PM on June 15, 2016

CustomInk? Has women's and junior's blanks from many brands.

All I can think of, with your original print, is that some noob stretched your square design to fit a vertical (ie, 8x10) live area which is a really dumb mistake to make.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:38 PM on June 15, 2016

I use Customink for my students' spirit wear and have experienced some really spectacular customer service and followup, including, every time I submit a design, a very thoughtful list of specific concerns/worries about how it may turn out differently on the different items I ordered.
posted by charmedimsure at 5:12 PM on June 15, 2016

It looks lie that service is using some kind of insert inside the shirt to feed it through the printer which holds the fabric smooth for printing but with that fitted tank is actually stretching the fabric laterally that causes it to snap into a different shape once it is off the printer.

Is this something you can't create on your own using an inkjet printer iron-on that would be suitable? Those are pretty high-quality these days.
posted by hippybear at 5:19 PM on June 15, 2016

I used to run a screen printing shop. He's pretty much right about the fitted thing. Your body is not the same as the printing platen, it's never going to be perfect on a garment like that. I don't know if that's what is happening in your photo but that is what happens on garments like that. The stretchier the fabric the more distortion you will get.

You're also not going to get a shirt that's not "iron on" like for a one-off. This is just a limitation of the processes involved. My suggestion to mitigate that is to order it on a lighter colored shirt, which depending on how it's printed, should require less ink. I'm not that familiar with direct to garment printers but that is how it would work with screen printing.

Printing shirts is not anything like printing on paper, there are a lot of factors involved. For a one off shirt, a lot of these variables can't really be controlled to the degree they could on a "better" process meant for longer print runs. At least, not at your budget. I would just try somewhere else with a better customer service reputation, surely you can get someone to try it a few times until it looks acceptable.

Also I have to say: all printed shirts, to my screen printer eye, are messed up in some small way. No one notices except printers or the people ordering one offs :).
posted by bradbane at 5:30 PM on June 15, 2016 [6 favorites]

I should clarify that I found the printing quality itself fine and that it's a digital print. I understand I won't get screen print but I had no problem with the colors or inks. It's just the shape that's the problem. The shirt in the photo is laid flat - worn on me it does not stretch or morph because I ordered the correct size. So while I totally understand things may be out of shape due to stretching of fabric, this shirt isn't satisfactory.

Also, Custom Ink has only 2 tanks that you can order 1 of (all others are min. 6). One is too large and one only comes in white.

I'm messaging Uber Prints now to see if they can tell me if the tanks I want will have issues with printing or not. Anyone else I should check out?
posted by Crystalinne at 6:58 PM on June 15, 2016

I get shirts printed through Society6. As you can see, all three of my shirt designs contain round elements and they've all come out fine. I'm very happy with the print quality and color -- looks just like it does in the photos, and they ship fast too.

They also have tanks, which come in both light grey and navy.
posted by ananci at 7:09 PM on June 15, 2016

idk, if you're happy with everything else about the garment, print, and price, and you only need to make the one, just stretch the design 133% horizontally and print it again at Spreadshirt? (based on your image, your 1x1 design printed at almost exactly 3x4 proportions).
posted by wreckingball at 7:56 PM on June 15, 2016 [5 favorites]

I've used CustomInk to print a round logo and it turned out perfectly. That said, it was on a standard t-shirt and not something quite so stretchy, which seemed to be the problem with your tank. I also found their support people to be very helpful and responsive.
posted by thejanna at 6:13 AM on June 16, 2016

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