Hand Sewn vs. Pre-Made Shirt Dye Sublimation

Curious about the differences between a shirt that’s printed on first before being hand sewn versus pre-made and printed on after?

You’ve come to the right spot.

Pre-Made Shirt Dye Sublimation

Many shirts are created by laying a pre-made shirt flat on a printing surface. This shirt is fed into a printer, where it is then printed on much like an inkjet printer. Here’s a video of a pre-made shirt being printed on:

This process—which is distinct from traditional screen printing—allows designs to more easily span the width of the garment. Once the ink is allowed to dry, the shirt can be taken off, flipped over, and re-inserted to be printed on its opposite side.

It’s the action of taking a shirt off the press and flipping it over that becomes problematic for most pre-made dye sublimated shirts. By adjusting a shirt from its original print position, it becomes super difficult to realign edges and parts of designs that would otherwise be continuous. Moreover, the area under the arm and wrinkles in general can wreak havoc on a process that needs a clean and flat surface. In many cases, the end result is a shirt with colored edges that overflow and white streaks.

Brown and red ink going where it shouldn’t because the ink prints all the way to the edge.

White streaks are even noticeable on this shirt wherever color is involved.

Designs that are lighter in color and patterns that are spaced out, as seen above, are more isolated from these problems as they’re harder to discern. Any kind of design with colors that are not light, however, will have these noticeable artifacts from this printing process.

Hand Sewn Dye Sublimation Shirt

When a design is printed on a completely flat sheet of fabric, the aforementioned problems go away. White streaks and overflow issues disappear because the fabric isn’t wrinkled or bunched up.

Because these shirts are cut with precision and then hand sewn, seams are crisp. Front and back designs also line up much better than they would if they were printed on a pre-made shirt. The result is a quality product that you won’t have to fix when you receive it.

As a fellow cosplayer, I know you have more to worry about than white streaks. Hopefully, this post helps clarify the differences between the two processes. If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.