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Fashion Fabrics Spotlight

Digital Printing vs. Screen Printing; How Do You Print Your Fabric?

You know that feeling when a certain topic or issue seems to present itself in your life on several occasions over a very short period of time?  And, more often than not, it’s something you haven’t really thought much about until that point, when every time you turn around, there it is again? Well, I currently have that feeling.  The battle of Digital Printing vs. Screen Printing has come up now four times this week.  It’s only Tuesday.  So guess what today’s post is about?

It has been revealed to me that a lot of textile industry newcomers and veterans are not really clear on the benefits and the shortcomings of two processes that are used to create the same thing: Printed Fabrics.  So I have decided to lightly touch upon this issue and hopefully help giver a clearer picture for some of you.  Rather than continue this dialogue in paragraph form and risk the possibility of confusion and boredom I have put together a few key points for your quick reference.

Screen Printing

  • Screens are created using chemicals and light technique. They are then used as stencils for each color of the design.
  • Cost: Screens can run anywhere from $30- $150 each, depending on how intricate the detail.  Tiny, delicate line work can cause the screen charge to elevate.
  • Clear, crisp, clean edges are more easily achieved

Digital Printing

  • The design is scanned into the computer and printed directly on the fabric without any need for screen engraving.
  • Cost: Digital printing makes sense if you have several colors within one design as there are no screen charges.  This can mean huge savings.  However, the actual cost per yard can be double the amount as screen printing. So yo have to do the math.
  • A hazy, ethereal aesthetic is more easily achieved

As I said, these are just a few basic tidbits to help you make a decision when it comes to creating fabrics for your collections.   I have always enjoyed the process of screen printing but that doesn’t mean I haven’t utilized the advantages of digital printing.

How about you?  Which method do you use most often? Tell us why!

Fashion Fabric Sourcing Manufacturing Resources

Time to Tour the World’s Largest Knitwear Resource

I was lucky enough to come upon Stoll Fashion & Technology Knitting Center . I will be the first to admit that of the three textile design genres, knitting is the one in which I have the least knowledge. So it was a good thing that my curiosity got the best of me and I went in.

Fashion Fabric Sourcing

A Little Textile Insight

Textile Insight MagazineSo, am I the only one who didn’t know that Textile Insight Magazine offers an online mini-mag between issues?  As I mentioned in Selvedge: In Print and Online,  I’m a big fan of glossies and usually not all that into online magazines.  While I don’t mind them, I just really like to tab pages, take notes, and hold the shiny surfaced publication in my hands.  But I have to say, in this case, I’m kinda hooked.   The set up is clean and easy to read with a pretty major zoom option, clickable advertiser links, and the ability to type notes and thoughts as you read through the pages! You can even download a PDF for reading later.  I’m not sure about you but I’ve always found Textile Insight really informative and the interim issue proves no different.  The articles are relevant and interesting and I really love the idea of getting a little teaser with updates about an industry for which I have such a passion. Don’t you?


Fashion Fabrics Spotlight

Are Your Undergarments Made From Castor Beans?

Castor BeansIn honor of Earth Day, I have decided to focus my efforts and write about … Castor Beans.  Huh?  Well, I have decided to write about a pretty interesting new nylon yarn made from Greenfil, a polymer that comes from Castor Beans.  As you may remember from some of my past posts, I love to hear about new discoveries in textile technology and am always excited to share them with you.  Upon my initial reading, it wasn’t immediately obvious to me why this yarn is considered “envro-loving” (is that a valid phrase??).  Anyhow, I did some homework and upon stumbling  on an EcoTextile.com write up, I found out that “The castor plants are from Africa and Asia and are grown on land which cannot be farmed. There is no irrigation of the crops, they are not produced from genetically modified seeds and they are 100% renewable biomass.”  Awesome!  The yarns are currently made in 3 counts (22, 44, and 78), are round bodied and lustrous, and are being used in undergarments.  I heard that the fabrics containing the fiber were shown at Premiere Vision in Paris last autumn.  Did anyone happen to catch a glimpse?  Do share!

Fashion Fabric Sourcing Manufacturing Resources

Serving the Fashion Industry, One Embellishment at a Time

New York Embroidery StudioOk, so I know that I promised to start highlighting some of the companies that I happily discovered @PrintSourceNY last week.  Well, the time has come.  I have decided to start with New York Embroidery Studio.  First, because I like the idea of starting with a trim company and second because I felt as if the people in the booth were truly interested in sharing their story.

As I mentioned, I was first introduced to the NY Embroidery Studio at Print Source.  Upon introducing myself, I was immediately invited to visit the space and see firsthand just what they are all about.  Taking them up on their offer, today I strolled over to 36th street, rode an impossibly slow and frankly slightly frightening rickety old elevator, and entered the year 1952.  Well, not actually but it felt like what I can only imagine was the garment district in its hay day; countless shelves filled with multi-colored thread, the constant hum of various sewing machinery, the textile-dusty air, and the hustle and bustle of seasoned industry pros.New York Embroidery Studio

The company, which deals in both domestic and overseas business for the fashion industry, specializes in trims; hems, elastic, rosettes, heat transfer, mending, embroidery, labels, and more (I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Sorry.)  Anyway, it is one of the very few trim companies still left in the city specializing in so much.  During my visit I was given a tour of the work room, was able to see the well made quality and master technique that goes into the various trim offerings, and chat with the owner Robert along the salesperson Wanda about where this industry has been, where it is now, and where it is going.  New York Embroidery Studio

I have to say, I was really excited to find the New York Embroidery Studio.  I honestly didn’t think there was anywhere like this left in New York.  It brings a smile to my face to know that a place like this still exists and continues to create for the designers we all know and love!



Fashion Fabric Sourcing Manufacturing Resources

Getting the Color Just Right

PantoneColor.  It sets a mood.  It is often the backbone of fashion and interior collections.  But how do you keep on top of the trends? How do you ensure that you are creating a collection right now that will be relevant in the market place six months down the road?  Who decides this information and makes it available to designers at those critical moments of the creative process?  Pantone, of course.  I know we’ve all heard of Pantone.  We remember the color books that we used in college and continue to reference now when we’re trying to match that just perfect shade of lilac or turquoise.  But how much time have you actually spent on their website?  I hadn’t spent much of any until recently.  I received an email about a webinar they are offering on Home  and Interior Color Forecasting and quickly found myself happily stumbling from page to page, soaking in the beautiful color displays, the impressive use of new media and social networking,  and all the many services and resources they have to offer.   Such as, did you know they offer custom dye- to-match services of cotton fabric?  They can do anything from 10 to 150 yards.  I had no idea.   Then there’s the swatch color card, the trend report, color forecasting, the books, the iPhone app for instant access to the online color library, and even a list of well chosen articles of interest.  Pantone has really made itself an informative, important,  and undeniably relevant resource for every design based  individual and business.  Go ahead, spend some time on there.  You won’t be disappointed.  I promise.  Oh!  Don’t forget to download your free Fall 2010 color report.  I’m loving it!

Fashion Trade Shows

PrintSource a Textile ReSource

PrintSource a Textile ReSource

As many of you know this past Tuesday and Wednesday was the PrintSource Show in New York. And, as I really enjoy strolling from booth to booth and being introduced to new and exciting textile work, I went.

The show took place on the 11th floor of a building right off of 5th Avenue. When I arrived there were all kinds of hustling and bustling going on in the lobby. I took the elevator to the up and when the doors opened I was treated to brightly colored walls covered in unique textiles designs and the feeling of pure creativity permeating the air! I headed to the right side of the room and slowly made my way up and down the aisles taking in the work, chatting with the designers and artists, and learning about new companies.

The overall spirit of the show was great. I not only asked the designers about their work but also how the show had been going for them, what kind of connections, networking, selling they had been doing and how business has been lately in general . To my surprise and delight the responses were all very positive! The tone was optimistic and encouraging. Designers shared their recent triumphs, their happiness with the turnout of the show, the information that they had in fact made sales and connected with a lot of new industry folks, and their excitement for all the post-show possibilities.

I attended Print Source wanting to openly share my role, not so much as a textile designer myself, but as someone who writes for an industry resource blog and loves to highlight and share worthy textile companies and designers with her faithful readers. For the most part, this explanation of self was warmly accepted, however I would be lying if I said some people just didn’t get it and were not at all interested. Can we really be surprised though? I don’t know about you, but I feel that the textile industry, even more so than the fashion industry, is having a hard time embracing social media and networking. Not any of you of course. Or else you wouldn’t be my faithful readers now would you? Anyway, back to the point. I wanted to pen this little blurb about the show, share with you how inspiring I found it to be, and let you know that I am compiling my notes, setting up some appointments (including a tour of one very cool New York embroidery house), and will little by little be introducing you to some of the amazing textile and trim industry companies and professionals that you may have yet to know about. So stay tuned!

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