Road to the Reversible Jersey PART 3
Welcome to Part 3 of the Road to the Reversible Jersey! This iteration of the process is going to be a tad more technical, so grab your notebooks and listen up! Here's how we create our Reversible single layer short sleeve custom jersey!
Before we get highly technical, we suppose it would be fair to define ‘sublimation’. It’s a word that's thrown around in our line of work, but what does it actually mean? Sublimation is the process of ink transitioning from a solid state to a gaseous state. It’s simple science, baby!
By using specialized inks and paper, we print a full-size version of the jersey artwork for every panel (front of jersey, sleeves, back of jersey, etc.). Once printed, the papers get pressed onto pre-cut fabric panels and heat makes the ink bond with the fibers.
The colours and images created for the jersey become part of the fabric, instead of sitting on top (like with screen printing and vinyl). That’s why sublimation only works on white or light-coloured fabrics. Since the image is going into the fabric, it takes on the base colour of the garment.
There are a couple advantages of sublimating your jerseys. First, the sublimation process allows you to print whatever you want on your jersey – whether it be photos, full-colour images, fine details or realistic textures. Second, all customization aspects are sublimated at the same time. This means there aren’t any extra costs for names and numbers; it’s all printed at the same time! Finally, sublimated designs won’t crack, fade, or peel over time like a screenprinted jersey might.
Reversible Jersey Construction
Now that the science lesson is over, let’s move on to how we actually construct the reversible jersey.
Like we mentioned in our first Part of the Process, we started this process by creating a reversible tank. This experience helped give us insight on what needed to be done to create a perfect reversible sleeved jersey.
Here are the things we learned. We now know that we need a cover seam stitch at the seams, binding at the bottom hem and sleeve hems. We also saw that the exposed stitching and binding actually adds a contrast accent to the design. We learned that using a raglan cut sleeve (sleeve seam goes up the shoulder to the collar) helped simplify the elaborate sewing process. Unfortunately, we also learned that the iconic rubber label isn’t quite possible with a reversible jersey.
Pictured above is an example of the raglan-style construction, as well as how the stitching adds a colour accent to the whole design.
Artwork Setup & Considerations
The nature of this product is that there will be visible artwork bleed. This means that where light and dark areas overlap, you’ll be able to see a ghosted image from the reverse side. We spend tons of time setting up and press-testing artwork to minimize this effect. We do this by pressing a miniature version of the art on both sides of some scrap fabric.
Here's an example of the press testing we do. We print a miniature version of the jerseys on scrap fabric to see colour discrepancies.
It’s impossible to get a truly white side because of the bleed. It’s better to use a light or bright colour, which will help minimize the visible bleed. Busy, all-over prints work really well. Even where you see artwork bleed, it works for the overall design. We’re still learning the tricks to getting the best artwork possible and the more we do, the better we get!
We decided to go with a unisex pattern so that we could focus our efforts on one style of jersey that will fit most customers. The reversible jersey is based on the sizing of our tanks, with a little bit of extra width to accommodate the sleeve. The sleeve length falls right between our current relaxed and fitted jerseys.
Here is a medium Reversible Jersey (top) compared to our Classic Jersey (bottom). Note how it fits a bit smaller.
We're getting very close to releasing our reversible jersey to the masses. That means it's time to start thinking about designs you'd love to see on your next team order! If you have an idea or any questions about our reversible jersey, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sooner we get the ball rolling, the better!
PAST ROAD TO THE REVERSIBLE ARTICLES: