2016 was a pivotal year in my wife and I’s shop. We took on several new pieces of equipment and a whole slew of challenges, signed a lease on a new building, got approval to initiate a Direct To Garment Demo Program in our Shop, and joined Ryonet in founding Allmade. There is already a lot of great information out there about what Allmade is, so I won’t drag that out. I will tell you, however, that it is amazing what Allmade has done for orphan prevention and management in Haiti. You should have become a part of this movement, like yesterday. Instead of giving you an in depth background about Allmade, I want to tell you about how our DTG and our relationship with Allmade has made for one incredible pairing.
Our First DTG
By April 2017 I had possession of our first Epson F2000 DTG. Screen printing is where my heart lies, but I recognize that it’s a changing landscape out there and to ignore digital is to not give credit where credit is due. I’m growing as a DTG convert. My initial textile pairings with the machine were of course the tried and true Gildans and Anvil tees. They didn’t quite perform well with this piece of equipment, and it left me wanting more. My next step was trying the better brands, like Bella +canvas and Next Level. Performance of those two products have been relatively nice, especially Bella + Canvas. The amount of Short fibers, a.k.a. fibrillation, was minimal on both, and dye migration was relatively small on the Bella+Canvas garments.
Getting our Hands on the Allmade Product
In July I got my hands on the Allmade product, in quantity, for the first time. It was magnificent. I couldn’t believe how wonderful this product felt to touch and to wear. This fact made even better because I was there when the product was made. My wife and I made the trip over to Haiti with Ryonet in the beginning moments of Allmade. We were able to have a say in the cut and the feel of the garment, as well as the fabric, colors, and content. To say the product turned out to be exactly what I wanted it to is an understatement, because in fact it was so much better.
Printing on Allmade
We knew that the Allmade product was good, but the quality of the product was made even clearer when we screen printed on it. What we didn’t know during those times in Haiti and back home was how well it would perform in the digital sector. I had an upcoming trip and wanted to take the opportunity to be the first person to ever direct to garment print on an Allmade blank. I had one of our blue tees in stock in my size, and thought hey I’ll just throw this on and see what happens.
The first step was pre-treatment. Those that have experience with direct to garment printing know that to get bright light colors on a darker garment requires the use of a pre-treatment and then a white under base. The Epson F 2000 handles this process perfectly and I thought that was something I should try. I utilized a ratio of pre-treatment and distilled water. One that I have been testing with great success on other garment brands. The ratio is a secret, but maybe if you call me I’ll tell you. Once the pretreatment was set, it was time to get onto the unit and print. I thought nothing was more fitting than throwing the Allmade logo onto the garment. I used Garment Creator, the fairly robust EPSON RIP program, and my adjustments were as follows:
- white density +25%
- color density +5%
- reduced white pixel 3
The Results of Printing on Allmade
What came out was absolutely wonderful. Fibrillation was not noticeable through the ink, and the handfeel was soft and pliable. I was also impressed with an accident; I had the platen height set at a “1”. Every garment we run on the F2000 is run at a “2” height. So, the higher you run the platen, like in my accidental finding, the closer you are to the head nozzle on the machine, and the better the print quality. You can get too close, which will cause the printer to say no way in an attempt to save itself from accidentally striking the tee. Surely it had to be close; I bet if I’d ran a double underbase (White quality “high” two pass), then I probably would have seen a Platen height error. But regardless, that height setting is proof that the Allmade garment doesn’t trigger the sensor in the same way a fuzzy, fiber rich gildan does.
A Perfect Combination
After printing I was in awe of my creation. It was a landmark print of the first DTG Allmade tee. I of course had to try that piece of art. A trip down my conveyor tunnel set the ink, and to date, the shirt has been worn dozens of times. There have been no problems and zero hints of migration.
Months have passed since that first printing, and a lot of Allmade shirts have crossed that DTG machine. Allmade has been used when demoing during our classes, as well as when printing for friends and other employees of my wife’s and I’s shop. This holiday season, for Christmas, we are even hosting a print your own pajama party. We will be able to get the word out about Allmade and the work we are doing in Haiti, show off this amazing textile printer, and have some fun at the same time. If you own a direct to garment printer, of any brand, I recommend you give the shirts a try. I know that your customers are going to love them and I know I love them. When you pair the love of a garment like this, with the amazing story of what it does with sustainable manufacturing and the humanitarian side of it all, well, it’s a home run friends.