Designer style shirts for home screenprinting...
July 30, 2007 2:55 AM   Subscribe

Where can I purchase "premium" blank shirts for home screen printing? Such as those sold by Express, Calvin Klein, Inc., ect...

I am a hobbiest screen printer. Makes for a decent hobby that is actually alot of fun. My problem seems to be that I can not find blank shirts that I like WEARING for printing on.

I've tried American Apparel, Hanes, Distinct Treads, ect.

I've tried abusing shirts ( washing with copious amounts of fabric softener and then tumbling extensively with dryer balls ) , sand polishing, and since I live in honolulu, even tried the old trick for softening jeans of leaving the shirts in sea water for a while and then washing. Still not right.

What I am looking for is the quality and silky feel of t-shirts such as those used by Express, Calvin Klien, ect for printing.

The best I've been able to do so far is use shirts purchased at Old Navy, but still... I'm looking for something better.

Price, of course, is an object. I'd like to keep it around 10$ per and have multiple color choices.

As this is for hobbiest printing, buying in bulk really isn't an option ( I don't need 100 blanks lying around for the maybe 10-20 shirts I print a year for myself and as gifts ).
posted by petethered to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You know there are too many questions on askmefi when . . .
posted by jeremias at 4:09 AM on July 30, 2007

jeremias - I read that thread previous to posting this one. It is more specific to shirts that are well constructed and can standup to punishment then shirts of fine quality, silky feel and more "premium" which is what I seek.

Thank you though for posting the link, hopefully it will help narrow down other responses to my question.
posted by petethered at 5:05 AM on July 30, 2007

I think you should give AA another try. They have plenty of styles of t-shirt beyond just basic cotton, at least for women, and it appears for men too. I suggest going into a store and trying on a few shirts then ordering those whole-sale.
posted by Brittanie at 5:16 AM on July 30, 2007

Tees from Alternative Apparel, in my limited experience with custom-printed shirts, have a nicer feel than American Apparel.
posted by sonofslim at 5:39 AM on July 30, 2007

I'm a screenprinter. Alternative Apparel is what you're looking for. AS Tees is also pretty good but you have to have a business license to open an account.
posted by bradbane at 8:31 AM on July 30, 2007

My company is involved in arranging a lot of silkscreening, so we have a lot of contacts who print shirts or posters or whatever else. One of the people we work with explained to us once that the trick for getting shirts to feel softer (perhaps like those higher-end shirts you described?) is to buy ones that are 50/50 and then use a chemical wash that burns out a certain percentage of the cotton. (There is a different sort of chemical wash for burning out a bit of the colour to create "fake vintage" shirts that you see places.)

And I agree that it's worth trying the different AA blends if you haven't already; some are pretty nice. There are also a lot of companies that used to work along Fruit Of The Loom lines going the AA route these days -- I think Anvil has an organic line now that I've heard is pretty nice, with more colours than the AA organic line.
posted by antigreg at 8:43 AM on July 30, 2007

I'm a huge fan of the Izod Rockwash T-shirts, they're the softest T's I've ever worn, look great and no logo. They do have a pocket though.
posted by nenequesadilla at 11:50 AM on July 30, 2007

I think maybe you're going about it the wrong way. Try washing those shirts without any antistatic hoodoo - those sheets are mostly wax, and coat the threads so as to prevent charge buildup. If you want soft sheets, towels, and yes, t-shirts, you need to skip it all.

Also, I totally dig the crew-neck tees from Banana Republic. They're about $7 per at the nearest outlet store for simple (white, black, grey) colors, available in about 10 colors and feel like high-quality "jersey" bedsheets. I haven't put any holes in them yet, either, which is really saying something.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 4:13 PM on July 30, 2007

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