2020 Sublimation Report

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 30 of 31 • Spring 2020 • The Sublimation Report 31 There are garments, known as "bleeders" in the industry, that include camohex, reversible jerseys, and tri- blends that are 100% polyester or have a high heavy polyester content. These require special care during the heat- transfer process. WHAT IS SUBLIMATION AND DYE MIGRATION? Dye-sublimation is a decorating method used to put patterns and designs directly on a polyester garment. It may be dyed in the manufacturing pro- cess, but the fabric is also dyed using a special printer and solid inks that trans- form to gas and are transferred to the garment. Dye migration, or bleeding as it is most commonly called, occurs when the ink used to dye the fibers of a polyester garment are reheated to temperatures above 280 F. At this temperature, the inks are reactivated and released from the fibers. When they are released, the dyes will come through heat-transfer vinyl and cause discoloration, like a faint red (or pink) number on a red jersey. HOW TO AVOID DYE MIGRATION There are a few things you can do to avoid dye migration and keep your apparel from getting ruined. Check the Label. Dye migration will only happen in 100% polyester fabrics or blends with a high polyester content because of poly- ester's dyeing or a sublimation process. Heat and pressure are used to dye these fabrics, so heat and pressure reapplied may risk re-releasing the dye. A garment's care label tells you what the fiber content of your garment is, When heat applying on sublimated items, it's important to test the heat your garment can withstand without causing dye migration with the specific heat- transfer vinyl you'd like to apply. Decorating polyester and polyester blends presents challenges for the garment decoration industry. Be prepared by reading the garment labels, and testing garments and materials.

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