Sublimation Sportswear : The Complete FAQ Guide

Before sourcing for your next sublimation sportswear, read this guide.

It has all information that will help you choose high quality and durable sublimation sportswear.

So, to learn more about sublimation sportswear, read this guide.

What is Sublimation Sportswear?

In simple terms, you can define sublimation as the process of transferring a design to a cloth using ink and heat.

Therefore, sublimation sportswear is apparel which you will print through the sublimation printing process using ink, heat and high pressure.

Sublimation Sportwear

 Sublimation Sportwear

Which Types of Sportswear Can You Produce through Sublimation Printing?

You can produce any type of sportswear through the sublimation printing process.

Here is a list of some of the sportwear that you can print through the sublimation printing process.

In short, you can make all sportswear using sublimation printing technology.

It is cost effective, fast and a better alternative especially when you want to explore printed jerseys market.

Which Fabrics Do You Use to Make Sublimated Sportswear?

Sublimation printing is only suitable for specific types of materials that can withstand the sublimation printing heat.

In sublimation printing of sportswear, the most suitable type of material is 100% polyester or a blend of polyester materials.

Polyester has the capability of withstanding the sublimation printing heat and produces very clear prints.

Apart from polyester, you can have a blend of polyester with other materials to provide it with proper sportswear characteristics. For instance, you can blend polyester with cotton fabric to come up with a material that is soft, comfortable, and printable.

Polyester is not the only material that you can use to manufacture or make sublimated sportswear. You can also opt for cotton materials which can withstand the sublimation heat but will produce terrible and non-durable prints.

What are the Benefits of Sublimation Sportswear?

The freedom that you will have with your design is one of the benefits that you will enjoy from sublimation sportswear. In other words, you will enjoy the freedom of having any type of design and print it on your sportswear.

This kind of freedom does not come with other types of sportswear such as the screen-printed sportswear.

Apart from that, here are the other benefits that you will enjoy with sublimation sportswear.

High Durability

You can rest easy knowing that sublimation sportswear is highly durable with prints that last as long as the materials. The prints adhere to the material and becomes part of the sportwear material with no possibility of fading, cracking or peeling off.

Suitable for Small Orders

Sublimation sportswear is very affordable especially when you are producing very small batches of the sportswear. You will pay less for the sublimation sportswear especially when you have a small team requiring smaller batch of sportswear.

Practical and Comfortable

Polyester fabric is one of the most comfortable materials that you can use to make sublimation sportswear.  Other than being comfortable, it is also one of the most practical materials with breathable and flexible characteristics.

Moisture Wicking Properties

Polyester which is the main material for manufacturing sublimation sportswear resists water droplets thus wicking moisture away. In other words, it will wick sweat away from your body rather than absorbing it to keep your body dry.

Retains the Original Shape

While other materials can lose shape and develop wrinkles, polyester is wrinkle resistant and does not require ironing. It will maintain and hold its original drape, shape and rigidity thus remaining straight and flowless the whole time.

What are the Limitations of Sublimation Sportswear?

Despite the numerous benefits of sublimation sportswear, there are quite a number of limitations.

Most of the limitations are associated with the choice of materials that you use.

Here are some of the limitations that you might face with sublimation sportswear.

Suitable for Specific Materials

You ought to understand that sublimation is only suitable for specific types of materials thus limiting your choices. Implying that, you will only use 100% polyester materials or a blend of polyester and other materials to get best results.

White Creasing

Another problem that you should look out for is white creasing especially in areas where the print design fails to reach. The most common causes of white creasing include accidental folding as well as moisture accumulation on transfer paper.

Difficult to Print on Dark Colors

You can print different designs on dark color backgrounds through sublimation printing process with a lot of difficulty. You will have to spend more time in acquiring more techniques in order to print a design on dark backgrounds.

What is the Designing Process of the Sublimation Sportswear?

You will begin the whole designing process by figuring out why you need to have the sublimation sportswear. Apart from that, you have to identify how many of the sportswear you need under a particular budget.

With that in place, here is a step-by-step process that you can use to design the sublimation sportswear.

Step One: Designing the Sportswear

Firstly, you will begin the whole process with brainstorming and research activities to come up with a proper design.

It is the fun part because you will be figuring out exactly what you want to have on your sublimation sportswear.

You should have a pen and paper with you to scribble all the design details that you have for the sportswear.

Take your time and make your design as unique as possible in order to distinguish your team from the other teams.

You should also remember to play by the designing rules and the rules of the sports you are designing for.

In addition to that, you should also keep abreast with the current trends within the sport you are designing for.

Step Two: Choosing a Design Template

You will proceed to choosing the right design software. You can choose from the numerous design software available online depending on the most familiar design for your operations.

The designing process will proceed with choosing of a relevant design template that fits your sublimation sportswear requirements.

Jersey Design Pattern for Sublimation

 Jersey Design Pattern for Sublimation

Step Three: Designing the Sublimation Sportswear

As soon as the stage is set for the designing process to begin, you will proceed with the designing of the sportswear.

You will begin with placing a single detail on the design software and following it with another detail altogether.

As you proceed with the designing process, you will have an easy time when you consider following the guiding steps.

Usually, your design software of choice will guide you through every step of the designing process.

Apart from that, the design software will also allow you to size the design according to the sportswear requirements.

As soon as that is complete, you will do a review on the complete design and make sure every detail is in place.

After the review, you should consider making the necessary adjustments on the design.

Finally, you will save the design using the right format and then send it to the manufacturer for final review.

How Does the Sublimation Printing Process of Sportswear Work?

Sublimation printing uses heat, pressure, and special type of ink to bring a design to reality. Implying that, it is a method that will transfer a design from a transfer paper on to the desired fabric.

To understand the whole process better, here is a step-by-step guide on how the printing process works.

Step One: Printing the Transfer Paper

You will begin the whole process by making sure that the design is proper and is worth printing. After that, you will proceed with the printing process by printing the design on a transfer paper.

This is the point where sizing details is very important as you will dictate sizing in relation to fabric size. As soon as you complete the printing process on the transfer paper, you will proceed to sublimation printing.

Step Two: Sublimation Printing Process

After completing the print on the transfer paper, you will proceed with the sublimation printing process. Here, the process begins with preparation of the sublimation printing machine, polyester fabric and transfer paper.

You will set the printing parameters from the control panel and load the machine with the polyester materials.

In this case, the printing parameters are pressure, time and ultimately the printing heat as follows.

  1. Sublimation printing heat should be as high as 403 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Sublimation printing pressure should also be high to maintain
  • Sublimation printing time ranging between 30 and 45 seconds

After that, you will also place the special transfer paper in the most specific position over the fabric. As soon as all the details are in place, you will proceed with the printing process.

Usually, the sublimation printer places the special type of fabric and the transfer paper in very close proximity. In many cases, the transfer paper and the polyester fabric usually remain in touch as the printing process proceeds.

After that, the heat will melt the ink from the transfer paper and the ink will sublime from solid to gas state. With the printer remaining under high pressure, the gaseous ink will not evaporate but transfer into the materials.

It will create a complete print on every fiber of the polyester fabric thus becoming part and parcel of the fabric. Essentially, the heat usually opens up the pores of the fabric while changing the ink into gaseous state.

You will depend on the high pressure to cool and control the printing ink on to the polyester fabric. The end result is a complete transfer of the design from the transfer paper on to the polyester fabric.

Step Three: Final Stage

After a period of between 30 and 45 seconds, you will proceed to remove the transfer paper and the printed fabric.

You will allow the design or the print to hibernate within the polyester fabric and dry out.

It will create a complete print of the design on the fabric that will not fade, peel off, or crack.

Which Designs Do Not Work for Sublimation Sportswear?

Despite the narrative that you can print any design on the transfer paper, there are a few exceptions to this narrative.

Implying that, there are particular types of prints that will not work or will present great difficulty on the sublimation sportswear.

Here are some of the designs that will not work well with the sublimation sportswear.

Designs with Block Designs and Colors

You may not succeed in the printing process of block designs that have block colors which require excruciating exact placement. Sublimation sportswear require specific types of designs such as direct to garment sort of printing to work best.

Direct Logo Placement

You may also go through a tough time in case you only need to place only one logo at the center of the fabric. The reason behind this is the expense as it will be more expensive to print one print rather than placing a whole design.

You will succeed at sublimation printing better with proper knowledge on the limitations and wise pick of the relevant designs.

What is the Difference Between Sublimated Sportswear and Screen-printed Sportswear?

You can literally choose between sublimation sportswear and screen-printed sportswear by looking at the benefits.

Well, you will be in a better position to make a choice by comparing the features of both types of sportswear.

Here is a comparison between the screen-printed sportswear and the sublimation sportswear.

Printing Mode (How they Work)

Screen-printed sportswear is the type of sportswear that you will print using a stencil, ink, squeegee, and fine mesh screen. You will make the print either manually by hand on manual screen-printing press or automatically using a machine.

Sportwear Screen Printing

 Sportwear Screen Printing

On the other hand, you can make sublimation sportswear through digital printing with a special type of sublimation printer. You will have to print a mirror image of the design on a transfer paper before you transfer the design to the fabric.

Order Volume

In case you are looking for cheaper option of ordering high volume sportswear, you should opt for screen-printing method. It is cheaper to order large volumes of screen-printed sportswear than smaller order volumes of the same sportswear.

On the flip side, you can order as low as a few sublimated sportswear at very cheap and affordable prices.

In other words, the price of sublimated sportswear increases with increase in the order volume of the sportswear.

Substrate Versatility

Screen-printing is the most versatile of the printing process as it allows you to print your sportswear design on any fabric.

In other words, you can choose any type of fabric and use it to screen-print the sportswear design.

On the other hand, you have the freedom of sublimating any sportswear design on any fabric except for quality variation.

Implying that, sublimation sportswear will work best only for polyester fabric or fabric with polyester blends.

Job Setup

You will have quite a difficult moment trying to set up the printing of the screen-printed sportswear. This is mainly because of the limitation of applying one color at a time before you apply the other color.

On the other hand, you can simply design and print the sublimation sportswear once and for all with minimal interruptions. As soon as the design is ready, you will proceed with the printing process that applies many colors all at once.

Comfort and Durability

You can get comfortable prints with very soft feel on the skin by using both sublimation and screen-printing methods.

Sublimation sportswear have more permanent prints that permeates through the fabric thus reducing weight and increasing comfort.

On the other hand, screen-printing creates a print on top of the fabric thus increasing overall weight and discomfort. Apart from that, sublimation sportswear has durable prints that do not crack, peel-off, or fade easily.

On the flip side, screen-printed sportswear has prints that will crack, fade and peel-off thus affecting durability.

Do You Have to Use Pure Polyester for Sublimation Sportswear?

No, you do not have to use pure polyester for sublimation printing of sportswear. Essentially, you can use any type of fabric such as cotton to manufacture sublimation sportswear.

The only problem comes with the quality of the print which is never clear on such materials.

It is the reason why you should consider using pure polyester fabric or a blend of polyester and other materials.

Polyester will produce the best type of prints that are of very high quality that are very durable.

Can You Sublimate Sportswear Using Cotton Materials?

Yes, you can make sublimation sportswear using cotton materials even though the quality will be low.

Cotton has the ability to withstand the sublimation printing heat and absorb the print design accordingly.

Despite that occurrence, you might have a very low-quality type of print that has wrinkles and will not last long.

The best way is to print the sublimate sportswear is on a blend of 50% cotton and 50% polyester for better properties.

Which Type of Equipment Do You Use to Produce Sublimation Sportswear?

You will need a dye sublimation printer to produce sublimation sportswear of high-quality within a short period.

It is a special type of printer that you will use specifically for the printing of the sportswear through sublimation printing.

It employs the use of disperse dyes which is proper for printing the design only on a transfer paper.

After that, the sublimation printer has the capability of subliming the design from the transfer paper to the fabric.

 Roll Heat Press Sportwear Sublimation Machine

 Roll Heat Press Sportwear Sublimation Machine

Do You Have Special Type of Paper for Printing Sublimation Sportswear?

Yes, we do have special type of paper that you will use for sublimation printing of sublimation sportswear.

This type of paper has the capability of withstanding the high sublimation printing heat without burning.

Apart from that, you will use this special type of transfer paper to print the design on the polyester fabric. It has the capability of absorbing the special type of ink and allowing the ink to sublime into the fabric.

Which Kind of Tape Do You Use to Produce Sublimation Sportswear?

Well, the manufacturing process of sublimation sportswear will require to have special type of equipment. Among the equipment that you will need include special type of tape that is heat resistant.

The tape will hold the garment and the transfer paper in position to prevent folded parts on the fabric.

It is capable of withstanding the high sublimation printing heat without burning or losing the grip.

What are Some of the Safety Measures for Sublimation Sportswear Printing?

During the sublimation process of the sportswear, you must be very careful to avoid injuries. One of the most convenient ways of protecting yourself is by ensuring that you wear heat gloves.

You will wear the heat gloves to protect you from the heat of the sublimation printer.

You should also think of wearing face masks that would protect you from inhaling dangerous sublimated ink fumes.

What is the Best Graphic Design Software for the Sublimation Sportswear?

When starting out your sublimation sportswear printing business, you will need to have a graphic design software. In case you have software that is working, it would be important to stick to it as you explore other options.

The other options that you can explore and learn more about include photoshop and Corel draw.

Other than that, you should always stick to the design software that will work best for your designing process.

What Kind of Ink Do You Use for Sublimation Printing of Sportswear?

You will need a special type of ink which is generally known as the dye-sub inks.

This type of ink has the capability of subliming from solid state to gaseous state at high temperatures.

Apart from that, it also has the capacity to blend easily and simply into the fabric thus making the print.

The type of ink that you use for sublimation printing of sportswear will vary according to the printer type.

For instance, in case you are using specific printers, you have to use the recommended type of ink for warranty purposes.

You should also use the closed ink system that are not refillable even though you might spend a little bit more. In the long run you will save a lot more by avoiding repair issues with the sublimation printer machines.

Do You have White Sublimation Ink for Dark Colored Sportswear?

No, we do not have white sublimation ink for the dark colored sportswear. It is one of the reasons why it is increasingly difficult to print a design on dark colored backgrounds.

How Much Do the Sublimation Sportswear Cost?

You should have a lot of considerations especially when you are looking at pricing the sublimation sportswear.

In such a case, you have to look at your market and the types of resources placed invested in the projected. Implying that, the higher the quality of the sublimation sportswear the higher the price you will pay.

Apart from that, the lower the order of sublimation sportswear, the lower the price you will pay. On the flip side, the higher the order quantity of the sublimation sportswear, the higher the overall cost.

In general, you will spend between 6 and 35 US dollars for a piece of the sublimation sportswear.

What is the Durability of the Sublimation Sportswear?

Since sublimation printing involves chemical bonding of the ink to the polyester fabric, the print is permanent on the fabric.

Implying that, the sublimation sportswear print will last for as long as the materials which the ink bonds to.

Apart from that, the ink does not fade, crack, or peel off thus increasing or extending the durability period.

You should, however, note that the fade resistance will also vary from one type of ink to another.

What are the Best Conditions for Printing Sublimation Sportswear?

Depending on the type of sublimation sportswear you are customizing, the customization conditions may vary.

Typically, there are specific conditions that will work best for the different types of sublimation sportswear.

Here are the best conditions for printing sublimation sportswear.

  • Printing temperature for polyester printing fabric is usually 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Printing time should be between 30 and 45 seconds preferably 40 seconds
  • Printing pressure should be as high as possible to help in cooling the print on the polyester fabric

What are the Characteristics of Sublimation Sportswear Printing Ink?

Dye sublimation ink is a specific type of ink that you can use to print specific types of materials. It will change from liquid into gas easily without passing through the liquid state on application of heat and pressure.

One of the most noticeable characteristics is the high quality of the ink thus making it water-proof. Apart from that, it is highly durable in comparison to other types of inks.

It also forms part of the fabric thus eliminating possibilities of cracking and peeling off from the fabric. The only limitation to this type of ink is the fact that it works specifically for particular types of materials.

Is Sublimation Printing of Sportswear Environmentally Friendly?

Yes, sublimation printing of sportswear is the most eco-friendly and sustainable printing method you can use. It does not produce any waste materials and you will not need to use water thus making it a clean procedure.

When Should I Use Sublimation Sportwear?

You should consider using sublimation sportswear especially when you are printing very few quantity orders. It is cheaper to print fewer orders using the sublimation printing process than it to print very large volume orders.

You should also use it to make sublimation software that you will use for a very long time. This is because the sublimation sportswear is highly durable and will last for a very long time.

How Do You Apply Print Sublimation Designs on Colored Sportswear?

Sublimation printing is the most suitable type of printing that you will have for white or light garment. In case you are looking to print designs on colored backgrounds, you might go through a series of challenges.

To overcome such challenges, you will have to use other versions of sublimation printing including:

All Over Print (AOP)

Here, you will take a white material and the design which you will press together under very high temperatures.

Cut Sew Print

In this case, you will have to cut the part that has the design and then sew it on the colored background.

Is Sublimation Printing Sportswear Permanent or Does it Fade?

Sublimation printing on the sportswear is permanent and does not fade easily.

The sublimation print will chemically bond and become part and parcel of your sportswear. Implying that, it is as durable as the durability of the polyester materials.

 Sublimation Sportwear

Sublimation Sportwear

How long does it Take to make Sublimation Sportswear?

Well, the time you will spend in making the sublimation sportswear will vary according to the stage.

Usually, you will spend more time in the designing process or stage of the sublimation sportswear.

As soon as the design is complete, the sublimation printing process takes between 30 to 45 seconds. After that, you will also spend some time cutting and sewing the materials to make it a complete apparel.

How does Direct to Garment Printing compare to Sublimation Printing Sportswear?

Direct to garment printing is a special type of printing that uses special types of ink jet technology. It has special parts that hold the garment in place while the ink jet sprays the design on to the garment.

Here, you can use any type of garment to print the design thus making the sportswear.

On the other hand, sublimation printing involves direct placement of the design on particular types of fabric.

The most specific types of fabric that you will use in this case is polyester fabric.

Apart from that you must also use a transfer paper with no need of having an inkjet for spraying.

The main factors that lead to printing of the design is high temperatures and high-pressure systems.

How does Heat to Garment Transfer compare to Sublimation printing Sportswear?

One of the most significant similarities between the heat to garment transfer and sublimation printing is presence of heat.

You will use the heat transfer vinyl to transfer the print from the printer on to any type of materials.

On the flip side, you will use transfer paper, sublimation printers, high pressure and temperature for sublimation printing.

Apart from that, you must have specific types of materials for sublimation printing of sportswear.

At Goal Sportswear, we design and manufacture a range of sublimation sportswear, depending on your unique needs and requirements.

So, for all your sublimation sportswear, contact Goal Sportswear right now.

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