“INCONCEIVABLE!"
"YOU KEEP USING THAT WORD. I DO NOT THINK IT MEANS WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS.”


- INIGO MONTOYA / THE PRINCESS BRIDE

GENERAL DECORATION TERMS


DIRECT TO GARMENT (DTG) PRINTING

A 4-color process of printing directly from a computer file onto a garment or product.

DEBOSSING

A process in which products are engraved with the use of a die under pressure to produce a concave or sunk in design on the fabric surface.

EMBOSSING

A process in which products are engraved with the use of a die under pressure to produce a raised design on the fabric surface.

EMBROIDERY

Decoration consisting of needlework created using a special machine that is programmed to stitch a design combining texture, pattern and color.

HEAT TRANSFER

The process of transferring a design from a specially treated paper to a product using temperatures around 375 F (190 C).

LASER APPLIQUÉ

A laser beam is used to cut single or multiple fabric layers revealing a fine, detailed design.

LASER ETCHING

A process that uses laser technology to etch or burn a mark on a product surface.

PAD PRINTING

A design is cut out of a flexible die (usually rubber) then dipped in ink and stamped on the product. (Think rubber stamp)

PRINTED TRANSFER

Printed transfers use many of the same inks and techniques of printing to create a design that is transferred from a sheet to a product using heat. (similar to HEAT TRANSFER)

SCREEN PRINTING

The process of printing by squeezing ink through screens allowing color to pass through open areas to create a design. Multi-colored designs are achieved using one screen for each color in the design.

STUDDED TRANSFER

Colored metallic and rhinestone studs are arranged on a sheet that is used to transfer the studs to a product or garment using heat. (think bedazzle)


EMBROIDERY TERMS


APPLIQUÉ

Decoration or trimming cut from one fabric piece and stitched to another to add dimension or for design techniques.

BACKING

Material used beneath the embroidered fabric to provide stability and support.

BEAN STITCH

Three stitches placed back and forth between two points. Often used for outlining because it eliminates the need for repeatedly digitizing a single-ply running stitch outline.

CONNECTING STITCHES

Threads that connect short distanced objects in embroidery. Distance of 1/16” is the industry standard for using a connecting stitch.

CROSS STITCH

Two stitches that cross to form an X.

DENSITY

Number of stitches per given area.

DIGITIZING

Conversion of artwork into a series of stitch commands read by an embroidery machine’s computer.

TAPE

The computerized embroidery designs read by the embroidery machine’s computer.

EMBLEM/PATCH

Embroidered design with a finished edge, stitched independent of the garment.

FELT

Non-woven fabric made by layering thin sheets of fibers, then applying heat, moisture and pressure to shrink and compress the fibers into a thick matted cloth that will not ravel or fray. Used for appliqué designs, letters and numbers.

FILL STITCH

A series of running stitches commonly used to cover large areas.

FINISHING

Processes done after the embroidery is completed, including trimming loose threads, removing excess facing or backing, and pressing or steaming to remove puckers and hoop marks.

FRAME

Holding device for inserting the hoop beneath the needle to maintain stability during the embroidery process.

HOOP

Wood, plastic or steel device used to tightly grip the fabric and stabilize it between an inner and outer ring. Attaches to machine’s frame. Designed to hold fabric taut against the machine bed for embroidery.

LETTERING

Embroidery using letters or words. Lettering, commonly called “keyboard lettering,” may be created using an embroidery lettering program on a PC or from circuit boards that allow variance of letter style, size, height, density and other characteristics.

LOCK STITCH

Formed by three or four consecutive short, tight threads stitched at end of embroidery to prevent raveling.

LOOPING

Loops on the embroidery surface generally caused by poor top tension or tension problems. Typically occurs when polyester top thread has been improperly tensioned.

MONOGRAM

Embroidered design composed of one or more letters, usually one’s initials or name.

PUCKERING

Result of fabric being gathered by the stitches. Possible causes include loose hooping, lack of or improper backing, incorrect tension or a dull needle.

PUFF EMBROIDERY

Stitching a dense motif over embroidery/ craft foam to create a three-dimensional effect.

REGISTRATION

Correct registration is achieved when all stitches and design elements line up correctly.

RESIZING

The ability to scale a design to different sizes. May cause density problems unless stitch count can be altered.

RUNNING STITCH

A single stitch between two points, used for outlining and fine detail.

SATIN STITCH

Formed by closely arranged zigzag stitches. Can be stitched at any angle and with varying lengths.

SEQUIN EMBROIDERY

A technique in which sequins are embroidered directly onto a garment or cap.

SPECIALTY FILL

Fill stitch capability that produces a design in relief.

SPECIALTY THREADS

Threads designed for effects such as shine, glitter, iridescence or thickness. These threads are often made from synthetic materials including rayon, mercerized cotton, metallic and textured nylon.

SPI Stitches per inch

System for measuring density or the amount of stitches in an inch of embroidery.

TACKLE TWILL

Letters or numbers, cut from twill fabric that are commonly used for athletic teams and organizations. Tackle twill appliqués attached to a garment have an adhesive backing that tacks them in place; the edges of the appliqués are then zigzag stitched.

TENSION

Thread tautness.

THREAD

Fine cord of natural or synthetic twisted fiber used for stitching. Machine embroidery threads come in rayon (high sheen), cotton (duller finish), polyester (strong and colorfast), metallic (synthetic core wrapped with metal foil or thin slivers of metal foil) and acrylic (sheen similar to rayon).

TOPPING

Material hooped or placed on top of fabric to hold the embroidery stitches above it.

TRIMMING

Operation in the finishing process that involves trimming the reverse and top sides of the embroidery, including jump stitches and backing.


SCREEN PRINTING TERMS


ABRASION-RESISTANT

The ability of a surface to resist deterioration by friction. Commonly describes the durability of cured ink.

BLEEDING

The migration of ink, pigment or dye into unwanted areas. Typically occurs when one ink spreads or mixes with another ink, forming an unwanted third color. Also can occur during high-temperature curing where a low-opacity ink is placed on a dark poly/cotton garment. Also known as color migration.

BLEND

A printing technique using multiple inks in one screen.

BONDING AGENT

An additive that gives ink better adhesion to such substrates as nylon.

CLEAR SOFT-HAND INK

Clear ink that has no pigment but creates a darker, tonal look when applied to a garment. It also features a uniquely soft hand. Best results occur on color-wash and medium color garments. Not recommended for White, Navy, Dark Brown, or Black garments.

COLORFAST

The ability of an ink to retain its color on a printed garment through laundering, exposure to light and normal storage.

COLOR SEPARATION

Separating a multicolor design into its primary colors of yellow, cyan, magenta, and black. Individual screens for each color then are prepared, with each color applied where needed to recreate the full-color design.

CONVEYOR DRYER

A dryer that incorporates a conveyor belt that moves garments through a heating chamber. Sometimes called tunnel dryers.

CRYSTALINA INK

A clear glitter ink that is printed on white or over a color to give a sparkle effect. Crystalina ink may change the look of base color.

CURING

An essential process typically associated with plastisol inks whereby temperatures between 280-320 degrees F (137- 165 C) are necessary to fuse, or cure, the inks.

DISCHARGE

The one-step process where special inks that are applied to a substrate – most often a black T-shirt – chemically bleach out the substrates color to create a printed image. The process is accelerated and completed as the garment passes through a curing dryer.

DISTRESS

To make something appear worn. A variety of distressing techniques can be applied to artwork resulting in different looks.

FLASH CURE

A partial curing (fusing) process of plastisol inks most often used in multicolor printing between color applications.

FLOCK

Very short individual fibers that are applied via adhesive to a backing to form a velvety surface.

FLOCKED TRANSFER

Colored fibers are adhered to a transfer sheet to create intricate textured designs that are transferred by heat to a garment.

FOUR-COLOR PROCESS

The process of reproducing a full color design from the original artwork to the screen printed surface. Special process-color inks, which are transparent, are used. See “COLOR SEPARATION.”

GLITTER INK

Colored ink with small flecks of glitter.

HALFTONE

A print that is photographically reproduced using a series of small and large dots to represent the varying shades or tones of a design. In screen printing, details and dark and light tones are represented by dots of varying sizes: small dots form light tones, large dots form darker tones.

HAND

The feel of ink on a substrate’s surface. A “soft” hand has a light feel; a print with “no” hand feels like nothing has been placed on the fabric. “Heavy” hand examples are puff inks and the rubbery-feeling letters on football jerseys.

HIGH-DENSITY INK

A specially formulated ink that adds height to a design with a clear, sharp edge. Creates a 3-D appearance.

MESH

The woven fabric used to make screens. Usually composed of synthetic fibers.

MESH COUNT

The system used to designate the number of threads per inch in a woven fabric. A high mesh count means the fabric has smaller holes and is more tightly woven. A low mesh count means the fabric has larger holes and is more loosely woven. Mesh count affects design reproduction detail, the tighter the mesh count, the better the print quality.

METALLIC INK

Powdered metals, such as aluminum and bronze, processed with ink to give appearance of gold or silver. Has a smooth finish.

OPACITY

The quality or ability of an ink to keep light from penetrating. To completely cover a substrate, thereby fully hiding the color of the garment underneath.

OVERALL

Refers to a print whose image or images cover the entire substrate, front and back. Also referred to as “ALL OVER.”

PALLET

A surface that supports a garment during the printing process. Also called a shirt board or a platen.

PLASTISOL

A family of inks popularly used by screen printers. The inks contain a plasticizer, such as polyvinyl chloride, or PVC.

PROCESS COLORS

Primary printing colors of magenta, cyan, yellow and black that are printed one over another to produce different hues in a multicolor print. The inks used are transparent, exhibiting very low opacity. Requires color separations. See “OPACITY” and “FOUR-COLOR PROCESS.”

PUFF INK

An ink that expands when heated, giving it a three Dimensional look.

REGISTRATION

The aligning of screens using special marking guides or pins to ensure proper color/design placement and crisp detail on the printed surface.

SHIMMER INK

A very fine glitter ink with a powdered shimmering appearance.

SIMULATED PROCESS

Process uses spot color inks and special separations using halftones to achieve a similar photorealistic look as four-color process.

SQUEEGEE

A tool that forces the ink through the screen onto the printing surface.

SUBLIMATION

A type of transfer in which dyes, rather than inks, are used to transfer a design onto a substrate with a combination of heat and pressure. The dyes vaporize and are absorbed by polyester fibers. The process can be used to print textiles, as well as mugs, plates or other specialty items.

SUEDE INK

Inks with a soft textured suede-like hand.

WATER-BASED INK

Inks that have a water base, as opposed to a petroleum or plastisol base.

POLICIES

"TODAY, POWER IS GAINED BY SHARING KNOWLEDGE, NOT HOARDING IT."


- DHARMESH SHAH

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