Placing pocket prints or left chest prints perfectly on a shirt can be tough. You don't want the print to end up in the armpit or on the neckline of the shirt. With a little bit of planning and know-how, this doesn’t have to be stressful. Here’s how to get the perfect left chest placement on press every time.
DRAWING LINES ON THE PLATEN
The first step to successfully loading a shirt so it’s perfectly lined up every time is to draw lines on the platen. Draw a vertical line down the center of the platen and another about 4” over from the middle line to the left. This way, when you load the shirt, you can line up the left chest over that line.
Standard t-shirt collars are 8” across. When you draw a vertical line 4” from the centerline, it’ll line up with the edge of the shirt collar. Your 4” line doesn’t have to fall at exactly 4 inches. It can be 3.5”-4”, depending on what you’re printing. Standard left chest prints are about 4” wide.
Vertical lines are important to get the shirt lined up to the print. Horizontal lines do that too, but they also help you line the collar of the shirt up in the right place. While you can draw any kind of lines you’d like, it’s recommended to draw horizontal lines 1”, 2” and 3” down from the front of the platen.
Pro Tip: Draw your lines directly onto the platen. This way, you won’t have to redraw them every time you set up for a job. Draw lines that work for your process.
PRESS UPGRADE: LASER GUIDING SYSTEM
Laser guiding systems are great for left chest or pocket prints. The laser produces two, bright crosshairs that are visible on platens, garments, and screens. It’s a great investment to make sure your prints are aligned every time.
The Riley Laser Guiding System works for the Riley Hopkins AERO, WIN, 250, Juniors, 300, and 350 presses. If you're just getting started in screen printing, learn about which Riley Hopkins press is best for you.
Pro Tip: When adjusting the laser system, make sure to move the entire system rather than the laser itself. If you tilt the laser to point at the left chest, the lines will be crooked. Instead, move the entire system so the laser is above the chest rather than angled to it.
Once you’ve drawn guiding lines on your platen, loading shirts is super easy. Simply line up the center of the collar with the centerline on the platen. Make sure that the left chest of the shirt will line up with the line you drew there.
Different shirt sizes will have a little variance in the placement of the left chest print. If you’re printing a wide range of sizes—say small to 3XL—you’ll notice this a little more. Adjust your shirt placement to accommodate the difference in shirt sizes.
Left chest placements might seem scary, but once you do it a few times you’ll get the hang of it easily. These types of prints can be a great way to spice up a T-shirt without being too in-your-face. Whether you have a fully upgraded printing machine or a one-station press, you can print left chest prints with a little bit of technical know-how.