T-shirt printing – Some unashamed celebrity endorsement

deviant bianca

October print for Deviant Rocks, who in their own words are…. offering unique, powerful fashion designs which pair quality fabrics with the finest Swarovski Crystals, to provide an unparalleled range of Luxury Casual wear.

Deviant Peter Andre

Our focus on strength, self-expression and individualism has gained us overwhelming recognition amongst the celebrity world with admirers ranging from Rock Stars to Royalty. Deviant Rocks…. Imperfection Perfected

We’d go along with that!

Deviant Peter Andre

Also visit out main site: www.october.co.uk
tshirt printing, screen printing, embroidery


I’m a bloke, and as such when it comes to taking out the recycling I’m unable to make several sensible journeys. Firstly I collect all the tins and cereal boxes, and build an eight foot structure that resembles the Manhattan skyline.

Then after some preparatory blowing I attempt what I believe in weightlifting circles is called the clean and jerk. Propelling myself at speed and fueled by foul language I then career towards the bins. There can be only one outcome, and within seconds I’m wearing a pair of cornflake box slip-ons and fully drizzled in tuna oil.

Marvellous – another day smelling like I’ve spent the night in Captain Birdseye’s bunk. And so it’ll come as no surprise to you to hear that although well intentioned, I’m not the world’s most successful eco warrior. To such an extent that I swore that the only article on green issues I would ever write would be the boys book of bogey flicking……and yet here I am, about to join Gordon Ramsay in discussing carbon footprints, (although unlike Rammers, I don’t have a restaurant at Heathrow).

Nowadays you’re supposed to know all about your biodegradables, your biomass and bio fuels: the carbon offset, the carbon tax, and as for carbon trading well that’s all pretty damn straightforward. Then all we need to do is have a quick look at our micro generation and our sustainable development, and it’s home in time for a bag of mung beans and a glass of goat wee. I’ve got energy saving light bulbs dangling from the ceiling like sci-fi haemorrhoids; I’ve sold the guzzler and travel to work by donkey: and all my printers are in a home made bum sling, piped up to a methane converter that runs two autos and a dryer….my work is done…well, not quite, and there’s a reason – I’m still trying to get my head around the idea of eco friendly inks, and before I go on, I ain’t no chemist but…..

You’ve purchased your planet saving T-shirt, a subject I shall leave to the learned Professor Charles of the Continental University, and then you arrive at your printer full of good intentions:

You want water based ink. And why wouldn’t you, anything with water in the title has got to be good right? In some ways yes, but has a printer ever told you that to cure water based inks we run our dryers at less than half the speed, I guess using double the gas? Does that mean our carbon footprint has increased? I presume it does.

And while we’re in our cloud of noxious water based vapour at the Joker’s lair, I’d better confess that no matter how good we think we are, when we use water based inks we spend more time colour matching, have more screens break down and generally faff about like grannies in a factory outlet. It can take us up to twice as long to run a job…….and so we use more gas…. and the sun sets over another melting igloo.

And when we’re not sloshing about in the water based we’re whipping up a discharge cocktail for all your lovely dark garments. It really is brilliant stuff – when you print it you can’t see anything and then at temperature in the dryer, abracadabra, the reactive dye is removed leaving a bright and texture free print….rub it on your face and go mmmmmmm, after you’ve waited a few minutes for the formaldehyde to evaporate of course. Ah good old formaldehyde, fairly harmless and great for embalming bodies, but it’s a skin irritant so printers beware.

And when our ink maestros have finished with the above, they pour the waste inks into air tight containers and rocket them into outer space where they can do no harm. Under no circumstances are water based inks washed onto the water table – if you had a blue cup of tea this morning, don’t blame your local T-shirt printer.

But water based is better than solvent based isn’t it – we’ll I guess so. Solvent based inks have PVC in them, which sounds unnatural to my un-scientific mind. And if that really bothers us I expect we’ll be insisting on the re-introduction of walnut dash boards on our motors and ripping out our PVC windows….and then it’ll get a bit draughty, we’ll put up the heating, and I think I just saw a Toucan in my back garden.

And if you can say it, don’t forget to ask your local printer about phthalates – there are 6 of them I believe, one of which appears in some solvent based inks. As far as I know they’re banned for use with children’s clothing – I’ve got kids and I don’t want any of them growing a third testicle, so right behind that one. Having said that phthalates are a plastic softener, so guess what your cling film is full of – quick, to the gents and inspect your wedding vegetables!

This is all serious stuff though, and my flippancy is only an unconvincing mask for my confusion on the subject.

The ink companies, of course! They will know the answers, and so I arranged to meet an ink guru in a lay-by on the A416.

’The water based is drying quickly in the screen’ I said…

‘But not if you spray it with a water mister from Wilco’s’ he said…



And we shook hands.

Well it wasn’t quite like that, but a document did fall into my pocket, genuinely, and at the risk of sending you into a coma may I quote,

‘With more than 10,000 raw materials, the majority being preparations and mixtures of substances, with long and complex supply chains, it is not feasible for us to obtain guarantees of registration and pre-registration for every single substance at each and every stage of the supply chain all the way back to crude oil or mineral or vegetable feedstock. To attempt to do so would imply a significant resource and added cost that would be unacceptable to our customers’….when I click my fingers you will regain consciousness.

Basically, I think this means that the idea of tracing what’s in stuff and where it’s from is just a touch complex, costly and at the moment unlikely. And on top of all that,

‘In many cases full compositional information is considered to be confidential business information’ So, I presume that means ‘If we did know what was in it, we may not want to tell you’.

Sounds a bit Bond villain perhaps, but is this just the harsh reality of where we’re at today, and is it more honest to admit this than just join in with the greenwash?

And the ink companies are hardly being helped by some of the certifying organisations – 50 grand to licence one product for 18 months! That just isn’t going to happen unless you want to start paying 100 quid for your printed T-shirts. So who’s really pushing the pedal and sending us into the piranha tank?

‘Organic’, as a chemist called Malcolm recently said, ‘is a vague and contradictory term. In it’s current context it is directed at produce manufactured without chemicals, in which case it can hardly be applied to chemicals. But peculiarly, most chemicals we use are organic, as they are carbon based’ ……at which point he stepped through my wardrobe and returned to Narnia.

None of this is a reason to stop trying; I live next to a river and would rather avoid the UK introduction of malaria. So by all means give the Soil Association a call (although as far as I’m aware they won’t accredit your inks). Buy yourself a Prius and plant a tree, it can only help, but if you want a final answer on inks all I can say is, we don’t print with spring water and mango juice, so perhaps the jury is still out.

That said, if you need me for anything I’ll be by the bins wearing a yoghurt pot.

Paul Stephenson

Tshirt printing, screen printing, embroidery
To be remarkable

D-Z of Embroidery terms

Part two. With the fast paced nature of embroidery production, many people come into contact with an embroidery logo from its inception right through to the post production finished article. This can cover designers, digitisers, buyers, embroiderers and sales people.

Duncan Yarnall from embroidery thread manufacturer Robison Anton gives a definitive list of embroidery terms to act as a point of reference for new embroiderers. Part three follows next month


Design: Stitches that compose a pattern or monogram.

Design Library/Catalogue: A computer program that catalogs a collection of digitised designs kept by embroidery shops, allowing an embroiderer to access the design by subject, stitch count, number of colours, or icon.

Digitise: The computerised method of converting artwork into a series of commands to be read by an embroidery machine’s computer. Digitising is extremely important and will determine the quality of the finished embroidery. Every action of the embroidery machine is controlled by the digitised program including the movement of the pantograph to form various stitches, thread changes, thread trims, and many other functions. See punching.

Digitising Tablet: A computer-aided design device used by digitisers to plot needle penetration for embroidery designs. Typically, a pencil drawing of the design is enlarged and then taped to this tablet. The digitiser then uses a mouse to select stitch types, shapes, underlay, and actual needle penetrations.

Disk Reader: An external or internal device used to read the digitised program that determines the embroidery machine movements.


Editing: Changing aspects of a design device via a computerized editing program. Most programs allow the user to scale designs up or down, edit stitches block by block; merge lettering with the design; move aspects of the design around; and combine designs or edit machine commands.

Emblem: Embroidered design with a finished edge; commonly an insignia of identification; usually worn on the outer clothing. Historically, an emblem carried a motto or verse or suggested a moral lesson. Also know as a crest or patch.

Embroidery: Embroidery is “thread art” used to embellish a garment, hat or some other product by adding a sewn pattern. Generally, this sewn pattern includes a design and can also include lettering and/or monograms.

Embroidery Machine: Today, embroidery machines can be defined as computer driven machines that move a pantograph with hooped items in various directions to form different stitches. Embroidery machines can be single-head units or come in multiples of heads with multiple needles per head for production embroidery applications.

Embroidery Point: Unit of measurement in embroidery in which 10 points equals 1mm or 1 point equals .1 mm.

Expanded Format: A design programme in which individual stitches in a design have been specifically digitised for a certain size. Designs punched in this format cannot generally be enlarged or reduced more than 10 percent to 20 percent without distortion because stitch count remains constant.


Fabric Grin Through: Where the fabric is seen through the embroidery design either in the middle of the pattern or on the edge. See also gapping.

Fill Stitches: One of the three most common stitches used in embroidery along with the run stitches and satin stitches. Fill stitches are used to cover large areas and they generally have a flat look. Altering the angle, length and direction of the stitched pattern can create different types of fill patterns.

Finishing: Processes performed after embroidery is complete. Includes trimming loose threads, cutting or tearing away excess backing, removing topping, cleaning any stains, pressing or steaming to remove wrinkles or hoop marks; and packing for sale or shipment.

Flagging: The up and down motion of the material with the needle that is caused by improper hooping, the presser foot not being properly adjusted (too much clearance with needle plate), and improper fabric stabilisation (incorrect backing).

Named because of its resemblance to a waving flag. Flagging generally causes improper needle loop formation that can lead to skipped stitches and thread breakage. Flagging can also negatively impact the appearance of the finished product resulting in poor design registration.

Flat Embroidery: Embroidery that is cut in panels or patches that is framed in hoops on a flat surface above the embroidery machine’s hook assembly.

Frame: Holding device for goods to be embroidered. Ensures stability of the goods during the sewing process. May employ a number of means for maintaining stability during the embroidery process, including clamps, vacuum devices, magnets, or springs. See hoop.

Frame Sash: Part of the pantograph to hold the frames. Also called a sash. Varieties of sash types include: border, frame, tubular, cap, and sock.

Framing Press: Machine used to aid the framing or hooping process.


Gapping: Where the fabric is seen through the embroidery design either in the middle of the pattern or on the edge. See also fabric grin through.


Hook Assembly: Stitch forming devise used to interlock the needle thread with the bottom thread. The hook assembly consists of the following components: hook base, bobbin case holder, retainer or gib, deflector plate, bobbin case, and bobbin.

Hoop: Device made from plastic, metal, or wood that grips the fabric tightly between an inner and outer ring and attaches to the machine’s pantograph. Machine hoops are designed to push the fabric to the bottom of the inner ring and hold it against the machine bed for sewing.

Hooping: Also called “framing”. The process where the item to be embroidered is loaded into a hoop. This hoop will later be loaded or attached to the pantograph for sewing.

Hooping Board: Board designed to hold the outer portion of the hoop while the goods to be embroidered are placed over the board to be hooped. Once the goods are aligned and placed correctly over the outer hoop, the operator inserts the inner portion of the hoop. Then the hoop is removed from the Hooping Board and attached to the pantograph for sewing. Helps ensure uniform placement of the hoop onto the material.


Jumbo Rotary Hook: Rotary hook, which holds a bobbin case with a much larger thread capacity than a standard hook.

Jump Stitch: Movement of the pantograph and rotation of the sewing head without the needle moving up and down. Used to move from one point in a design to another. Also, used to create stitches that are longer than the machine would normally allow.


Lettering: Embroidery using letters or words. Often called “keyboard lettering.” Usually computer generated either on the machine or a stand-alone computer.

Locking Stitch: Commonly refers to a series of three to four very small stitches (1mm or less) either just before a trim or at the beginning of sewing following a thread trim. Also referred to as Tie In or Tie Off stitches. Used to prevent the stitching from unraveling after the embroidery is completed.

Lockstitch: The name used for a stitch that is formed with a needle and bobbin thread. The needle thread is interlocked with the bobbin thread to form a stitch. Also referred to as ISO4915, stitch number 301. On apparel sewing applications other than embroidery, a well-balanced lockstitch will use the same amount of needle thread as bobbin thread. On embroidery applications, this is not true because you never want to see the bobbin thread on the topside of the sewn product. Therefore the needle thread is held on the underneath side by the bobbin thread.

Lockstitch Machine: Machine that forms a stitch using a needle and hook assembly. Most embroidery machines are lockstitch machines.

Logo: Name, symbol or trademark of a company or organisations. Short for logotype.

Looping: Loops on the surface of embroidery generally cause by poor top tension or tension problems. Typically occurs when polyester top thread has been improperly tensioned. Looping can also occur as the result of a skipped stitch.

Low Speed Function: Setting on the machine that allows the machine to run at a lower speed than that set by the speed control knob.


Machine Language: The codes and format used by different machine manufacturers within the embroidery industry. Common formats include Barudan, Brother, Fortran, Happy, Marco, Meistergram, Melco, Pfaff, Stellar, Tajima, Toyota, Ultramatic, and ZSK. Most digitised systems can save designs in these languages so the embroidery machine can read the computer disk.

Marking: Marking of goods to serve as an aid in positioning the frame and referencing the needle start points.

Mirror: A program menu option that allows reverse imaging of a pattern to be sewn. See also rotate pattern.

Modular: Machine system where many separate stitching heads or configurations of heads are controlled by a central computer.

Monogram: Embroidered design of one or more letters, usually the initials in a name.

Moss Stitch: See chenille.


Needle: The stitch forming devise that carries the thread through the fabric so it can be interlocked with a bobbin thread. Sewing machine needles generally have nine basic parts including the butt, shank, shoulder, blade, groove, scarf or spot, eye, point, and tip. Needles are available with various points. These include: Sharp points for piercing heavy, tightly woven fabrics; Ball pointed needles for sewing knits; and, A variety of specialty points for sewing leather and vinyl. Needles also come in many sizes. Two of the most common needle size systems are the metric size (i.e.,60, 70, 75, 80, 90); and the Singer numbering system (i.e.,9, 12, 14, 16).

Needle Bar: Bar that carries the needle up and down so a stitch can be formed. Each embroidery machine head can have up to 15 needle bars that can be selected to form the embroidery stitch pattern.

Needle Plate: The metal plate located above the hook assembly of an embroidery machine. This plate has a hole in the centre through which the needle travels to reach the hook and form a stitch. Also know as a throat plate.

Network: 1) To link embroidery machines via a central computer and disk drive system. 2) A group of machines linked via a central computer.

Nippers: See thread clippers.


Offset: The ability to move the pantograph out of the stitching area with a specific movement and then return to the original point. Used for placing appliqués.

Origin: The starting point of your design.


Pantographs: A part of the embroidery machine that rests on the tabletop and moves the hoop to form the embroidery pattern.

Pantograph: The bar, rack, or holder on which frames or hoops are attached. The pantograph moves in X and Y directions to form the embroidery design, controlled electronically or mechanically depending on the machine.

Paper Tape: Media that is made from a continuous reel of paper or Mylar tape containing x-y coordinate information used to control the pantograph movement. Computer disks on newer machines have replaced paper tapes. Pattern storage media that is made from a continuous reel of paper or Mylar tape containing x-y coordinate information used to control the pantograph movement. Computer disks on newer machines have replaced paper tapes.

Pencil Rub: A low-cost way of producing a “sample” of an embroidery design. Accomplished by placing a piece of tracing paper over a sewn pattern and then rubbing lightly with a pencil to produce an impression of the embroidery.

Presser Foot: A metal ring around the needle that touches the fabric inside the hoop while the needle is down and beginning to rise to form a needle loop. The main function of the presser foot is to hold the fabric stationary until the hook point catches the thread loop formed by the needle. It helps to minimise flagging and therefore indirectly aids in loop formation.

Pre-Tensioner: Thread tension assembly that is located before that main tension assembly in the thread path. The function of the pre-tensioner is to apply a light amount of tension in order to remove any kinks in the thread prior to entering the main tensioner. See tensioner or tension assembly.

Puckering: Result of the fabric being gathered by the stitches. Causes include incorrect density, loose hooping, insufficient backing, or incorrect thread tensions.

Punching: Conversion of artwork into a series of commands to be read by an embroidery machine’s computer. Derived from an earlier method in paper tapes or Jacquards punched with holes controlled the movement of the pantograph and other commands. While still capable of producing paper tape, most computerised digitising systems now store this information on a disk format.

Push and Pull Compensation: A degree of distortion built into a design by the digitiser to compensate for the push or pull on the fabric caused by the embroidery stitches. This can help prevent a digitised circle from looking like an egg shape when sewn out. Generally, it is necessary to extend horizontal elements and reduce vertical elements.

For more information contact Duncan Yarnall on:

Tel: 0161 766 1333 Web: http://www.robison-anton.com/

Published: 04 April, 2008 Printwear and Promotion Magazine

Also visit our main site on:

t shirt printing, screen printing, embroidery
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Super Indelible Graphics

Super Indelible

Chris, Arran and Max of Super Indelible have created yet more beauty at the Chateau Roux shop in Newburgh Street.

Some of Chris’s past work includes projects for X-box, Zoo York, Jones Lang Lasalle, Pernod, Asos, Don’t Panic and Rough Trade, while being featured in Dazed and Confused Magazine.

Super Indelible3

See more at www.superindelible.blogspot.com and www.chateauroux.co.uk

t shirt printing, screen printing, embroidery

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The British Garment Decorators Federation (BGDF) website has a new face. They have revamped the forum, made great improvements to the design and navigation. The refined topics and a better user experience should provide a greater level of social networking.

Its forum is a free internet networking resource portal for garment and promotional product decorators with no administrative charges, membership fees or any other hidden costs.

The BGDF is run on behalf of all British and European promotional textile and promotional product decorators and embroiderers and their associated suppliers.

The BGDF offers free membership to all sectors of the promotional goods and garment decorating sector, either those acting as a decorator or as a supplier to the industry. The BGDF seeks to further encourage good business practices and ethical trading policies for the betterment and greater reward to those operating in the industry it serves.

The BGDF is not acting as a trade association as trade associations charge membership fees. Therefore we do not seek to represent the industry but have formed the Federation to assist those working within the industry. We freely give our time over to the running of the BGDF and we do so because we are passionate about helping others to build better businesses.

t shirt printing, screen printing, embroidery