September '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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34 || P R I N T W E A R S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 8 T he custom cheer market is a niche entirely its own. From exploring cut-and-sew proj- ects to dealing with the mar- ket's standards on cheer styles and decorations, there are some elements to be considered when working in this special- ty sector. With opportunity in both sideline cheer and competitive cheer, the experts fill decorators in on what they need to know about the custom cheer market as a whole, what fabrics they can expect to work with, as well as dominant designs and decorations. FABRICS AND DESIGNS, AND DECORATIONS, OH MY! Fabrication, design style, and decoration vary depending on the different cheer sec- tors—sideline cheer and competitive cheer. Sideline cheer involves high school and rec- reational cheer teams. These are the teams you'll see at Friday night or Saturday morn- ing football games. Competitive or all-star cheer involves cheering against other teams in front of judges and consists of a lot more tumbling and stunting. So, why does this matter for decorators? With uniform styles and decoration, what's standard for sideline cheer is not nec- essarily the case for competitive cheer. Laura Estle-Jewell, Victory Cheer Uniforms, says the cheer market as a whole is starting to drift away from lightweight polyester. For sideline cheer, decorators should expect and want to work with 14-oz. double knit poly- ester as well as twill braid. Megan Kellner, GTM Sportswear, adds to this, naming traditional twill the "most commonly requested decoration method on cheer uniforms…" She says it offers du- rability, as well as an authentic cheer look. For all-star cheer, decorators should ex- pect to work with four-way stretch mesh, as the added stretch in the fabric is nec- essary for the amount of tumbling and movement done in the sport. All-star cheer also calls for flashier fabrics and designs. It's a little more specialized than sideline in that it often involves more cut-and-sew projects. According to Estle-Jewell, the popular option in all-star cheerleading is fabric lettering. Fabric lettering is using the same fabric from the uniforms to cre- ate the lettering application. The major note of importance here is fabric choice as it it must be stretchy and quality to look its best. For example, if a four-way stretch shine-on material is used for the uniform, then having the same shine-on material for the lettering will look best. In terms of uniform options, Kellner says decorators need to have an assortment of colors and apparel products to increase B Y A L E X A N D R I A A R R O Y O GO! FIGHT! WIN! Decorated apparel opportunities in sideline and competitive cheerleading If decorators use a poor quality heat press, applique, or the wrong fabric, the dec- oration will likely peel when worn. (Image courtesy DE-Infinity Cheer)

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