A Complete Guide to Custom Hoodies & Sweatshirts
Right off the bat, when you hear the word - sweatshirts, you must be thinking of that one coveted sweatshirt in your closet.
That’s because custom sweatshirts or also commonly called custom hoodies have conquered American wardrobes. They are versatile, stylish, and can be worn throughout the year. In this guide, we will walk you through how to choose the most memorable and unique sweatshirt for your team or staff.
What is the history of custom Sweatshirts?
Although custom sweatshirts are a huge trend now, they actually date back to 1926. Benjamin Russell Jr. who was a football player, saw a problem. The football jerseys of that day were made from itchy and warm wool fabric. He and his team truly needed something cooler and more comfy.
So, he researched and tested an all-cotton practice football jersey that was both soft and cool.
Eventually, his brilliant idea became a reality with the production of the unique crew neck sweatshirt by the Russell Athletic mills in 1930. Soon after the custom sweatshirts were invented, custom hoodies were brought into the industry keeping the previous technology intact but infusing a hood.
What fabrics are typical in Sweatshirts?
Original cotton is still the go-to fabric most commonly used in custom sweatshirts. This natural fiber extracted from cotton plants (think, more environmentally friendly) is often used in creating fluffy and soft material, hence the softness found in sweatshirts.
Cotton is also biodegradable and breathable. Because it breathable it is cooler than many other fabrics like wool and polyester.
Unlike Cotton, Polyester is a durable, synthetic fiber that is made from chemicals – think of it like plastic you can wear. Polyester fabric can therefore be manufactured at a low cost. The plastic synthetic fabric provides strength and keeps the fabric wrinkle-free with a quick-drying quality making it the ideal choice for sports material.
As the name suggests, this fabric is made using both cotton and polyester fibers. A common sweatshirt blend is 65% polyester and 35% cotton. As mentioned earlier, because of the cotton fibers, custom hoodies that are made out of poly-cotton are pretty light and fluffy. The twist is, with polyester also, your custom sweatshirt remains wrinkle-free and pretty durable.
Tri-Blend is a fabric that is a combination of 3 materials including Cotton, Polyester, and Rayon, hence the name. Rayon is soft and cool material on the skin. Therefore, this blend brings out comfort (rayon), durability (polyester), and breathability (cotton) simultaneously. If your custom hoodie is made out of this fabric, chances are it's going to last longer without being ripped or fading.
Which is the best type of printing for custom Hoodies?
Direct to garment printing
Custom hoodies printed with Direct To Garment printing, A.K.A. digital printing, often end up with a top-notch, low-priced, full-color image printed on them. DTG printers use water-based ink, so they tend to look best on 100% natural fibers like cotton. Before printing though the garment, say your custom hoodie, usually undergoes a pre-treatment process prior to the final printing. This way the fibers on the garment get flattened (think, a crisper looking imprint) and allows the water-based inks to bond onto versus into the garment (think, a more vibrant imprint).
In screen printing, the ink is transferred onto your custom sweatshirt’s fabric through a mesh “screen” by a squeegee being pressed and stroked against it. The stencil on the screen blocks the ink according to the design and determines where ink passes through to print your garment. Screen printing is the best way to print custom sweatshirts in large volume orders as it does not require pre-treatment and automatic presses can print thousands of shirts an hour. However, the set-up process is intensive as each ink color requires its own screen so it more common for large orders and simple one-color logo imprints.
Heat transfer printing
If you wish to customize your polyester sweatshirt, heat transfer printing is a great way to go which is easy and affordable. Here the design is printed with special ink on a transfer paper and later heat pressed onto the garment.
Embroidery is not a printing method per se, however, it gives an elegant look to your custom sweatshirts. If you think that a printed sweatshirt is great, hands down, embroidered sweatshirts is the next step up. Unlike a 2D print, custom embroidered sweatshirts bring out a pre-eminent 3D look and feel to the piece.
Embroidery logo decoration is mainly done using needles and threads which are customized to run according to your design via a special programming language for computerized embroidery machines. Hand down, the most popular file type is .DST which is used for Tajima Embroidery machines.
Which custom Sweatshirt styles are most popular?
Sweatshirts that come with no collar and round necks are known as crewnecks. These are ideal for customization with unique designs at a cheaper price because they use less fabric than say a custom hoodie.
In a nutshell, hoodies are sweatshirts with hoods sewn on. These can give you light protection from wind, snow, or rain. Some Hoodies come with a drawstring to cinch the hood closed while others may just have a hood.
Pullovers refer to both hoodies and crewneck sweatshirts that can be “pulled” over the head. The hoodies often come with a center pocket to keep your hands inside and protected from the elements as well. Pullovers fall into a category of more casual, cool, and comfortable style.
Full-zip, 1/4 zip, or 1/2 zip
Zip-up style custom printed hoodies or embroidered sweatshirts exude a cool fashion statement. These can be layered easily due to fashionable zips with different colors that can be either kept opened or closed. The zips come in full, quarter, and half-length.
Which custom Hoodie brands are most popular?
The North Face
Bella + Canvas
The Bottom Line
Yes, you can opt for a run-of-the-mill plain jane sweatshirt that will give you a fresh, put-together look. But, does it scream your personality? No.
That’s exactly why custom printed or embroidered sweatshirts are the most unforgettable piece of clothing for the gym, office or even at home. Customized, they are perfect at spicing up wardrobes with a pinch of personality, style, and fun.
Seriously, who doesn’t have a sweatshirt from their Alma Mater or child’s Football or Cheer Team? So, whether you are commemorating a family reunion, outfitting your team with uniforms, or rewarding staff and donors, custom hoodies are a great option that are sure to be kept for years to come.