Evolving technology means that there is now a number of printing techniques available to the textile industry.  Therefore we thought it would be appropriate to blog about what these techniques are, what advantages they have, and also what restricitons can apply.

Sublimation printing, also known as heat transfer or paper print, is one of the most popular processes in the industry due to the following advantages.

//  No screen set up costs
//  No minimums (depending on producer)

//  Ease in creating panel prints due to small press machines
//  Highly detailed prints can be achieved

Unlike screen printing, the detail which can be achieved in sublimation printing artwork is unlimited.  Check out this great video below of a designer in action creating a placement print for fashion in Illustrator:

Basicaly, the artwork is printed onto paper first, then transfered onto fabric using a heat process.  In more technical terms, a sublimation printer is a computer printer which employs a printing process that uses heat to transfer dye onto medium materials such as a plastic card, paper, or fabric. The sublimation name is applied because the dye transitions between the solid and gas states without going through a liquid stage.

There are two restrictions to mention.  They are not necessarily disadvantages; it depends on the way you look at it. 

1.  You can only sublimate on Polyester fabrics:  This is due to the temperatures needed to achieve a high quality print and depth of colour. 

Recommended printing temperatures and times are:
//  195-205 degrees
//  No higher than 205

//  No longer than 40 seconds

Trust me, if you use nylon at these temperatures, you have a lot of cleaning to do as the nylon will actually melt in your machine!  When polyester is made, it is exposed to  higher temperatures than those recommended above.  Therefore it will not melt during sublimation printing.

2.  Grin through:  Sublimation printing does not use a traditional wet process.  As the paper is placed on top of the fabric for the dyes to be transferred, the dye remains on the surface and does not penetrate entirely through the fabric.  This will create "Grin Through".  The fabric's knit construction affects the result, especially for circular knit fabrics, unless they have a fine gauge knit and are made specifically for sublimation printing.

 Trial and error is recommended as sublimation bases can react differently from machine to machine due to the settings and variation of papers available in the market place.

The range of polyester print bases available from Eclipse includes fabrics for each market you are catering for.  Each fabric has been individually selected and tested to ensure premium printing results.  Have a browse through each description to form an idea of what you can achieve in a performance based garment.

SUBLI-SPORT LYCRA® Subli-Sport Polyester is a warp knit non-transparent fabric containing ceramic core technology.  The Polyester yarn contains ceramic within the central core of its filaments.  This technology prevents the “see-through” effect, in turn creating a UV blocking fabric.  Due to the yarn construction, it also creates a cooling effect by reflecting the heat rays, thus keeping the wearer cool and refreshed. Subli-Sport is the perfect solution for sublimation printing when working with large white areas due to the non-transparent effect it creates.
SUBLI-COOL Subli-Cool Polyester is a warp knit fabric with performance features that are perfect for the serious athlete. Providing superior performance properties, Subli-Cool is sweat absorbing, quick drying, plus cool and comfortable to wear due to its advanced technology yarn construction.  With an exceptional weight and handle, Subli-Cool also gives you deep and vivid colours when sublimating, which is essential for the sports wear industry.
MATT POLYESTER LYCRA® Subli-Cool Polyester is a warp knit fabric with performance features that are perfect for the serious athlete. Providing superior performance properties, Subli-Cool is sweat absorbing, quick drying, plus cool and comfortable to wear due to its advanced technology yarn construction.  With an exceptional weight and handle, Subli-Cool also gives you deep and vivid colours when sublimating, which is essential for the sports wear industry.
AQUALIFE Aqualife Polyester fabric is a breakthrough in chlorine proof swimwear, providing chlorine resistance without compromising on elasticity and wearability.  This sublimation base dries quickly, is pleasant to wear, and prolonged contact with chlorine does not cause it to lose its elasticity, which frequently occurs in classic Elastane fabrics.  Aqualife is the perfect solution for a high quality sublimation base, with the ultimate performance in chlorine resistance.
SPIDER LYCRA® Spider, the innovative bi-elastic micro mesh by Carvico, features both great stretch and breathability, and ensures at the same time maximum comfort and perfect fit.  Its special structure makes it extremely moisture wicking so that your skin will stay fresh and dry while you are training or practicing your favourite sport.  This new techno-fabric is perfect for the production of ergonomic and aerodynamic sublimation garments that suit all sportswear applications.
SUBLI-AIR Subli-Air stretch Polyester eyelet’s construction creates a natural airflow, cooling the wearer whilst still holding its shape and retention due to the high Elastane content.  Subli-Air not only has an effective quick drying effect due to the Polyester content, but is also hard wearing, and has maximum durability.  Its high quality composition of Polyester and Elastane withstands the high temperatures of sublimation printing, creating a fabric with an outstanding crisp printed finish and excellent retention of its body and shape.
DOLOMITI LYCRA® Dolomiti Polyester Lycra® fabric is an innovative bi-elastic brushed techno fabric, developed specifically for high-performance sportswear.  Soft, comfortable and with a pleasant hand feel, Dolomiti offers excellence in breathability, high resistance to pilling and abrasion as well as an exclusive anti-bacterial treatment that blocks the proliferation of bacteria.  The perfect sublimation base for a soft, brushed, comfortable fabric.
GARDONE LYCRA® Gardone is a high performance stretch bright Polyester designed specifically for sublimation printing.  Its high quality composition of Polyester and Elastane withstands the high temperatures of sublimation printing, creating a fabric with an outstanding crisp bright printed finish and excellent retention of its body and shape.  Due to its supreme lustre and outstanding quality, Gardone delivers perfect results from sublimation printing and maximum comfort for the serious athlete.
BRIGHT POLYESTER XTRALIFE LYCRA® Carvico’s Bright Polyester Xtralife Lycra® yarn technology offers greater chlorine resistance, wearability and shape retention than fabrics made with ordinary Elastane.  Combined with the natural benefits of Polyester, this sublimation base is hard wearing, quick drying and has maximum durability. Creating a bright crisp printed finish, whilst still holding its shape and retention, this fabric meets the highest quality standards for sublimation technology.
JOLIE LYCRA® A European Jersey Lomellina elasticised circular knit polyester fabric with a shiny, brilliant effect, Jolie is the perfect sublimation base for high-end designs.  It is light, fresh and breathable, guaranteeing quick drying, perfect fit, and a beautiful drape and handle.  Soft and extremely comfortable, Jolie’s performance means it will meet the needs of swim wear, intimate apparel and active sportswear.
CRETA LYCRA® A European Jersey Lomellina extremely light, very fine elasticised circular knit jersey fabric ideal for sublimation printing, Creta ensures an optimal yield from all printed colours.  Breathable, fresh, soft and quick-drying, it ensures a perfect fit due to the high quality performance features of LYCRA®.  Creta is the ideal fabric for the creation of casual leisure wear, as well as youthful swim wear, intimate apparel and active sportswear in general.
OLYMPIC LYCRA® Jersey Lomellina’s Polyester Lycra® fine gauge circular knit fabric offers a smooth second skin sublimation base with unique performance benefits.  Olympic is soft and comfortable, yet strong enough to assist in muscle control; it is a quick drying, hard wearing, ultra flat Polyester, with the perfect fit of Invista’s Lycra® technology.  Olympic is a high quality print base with minimum grin-through due to the fine gauge knit.
ECLIPSEPAQUE LYCRA® Eclipsepaque Polyester is a non-transparent fabric containing ceramic core technology.  This means that the Polyester yarn contains ceramic within the central core of its filaments which prevents the “see-through” effect, in turn creating a UV blocking fabric.  Due to its construction, this fabric also offers a completely new handle, creating a powdery feel with a graceful drape.  Eclipsepaque is the perfect sublimation base when working with fashion swimwear in pastel pallets and large white areas due to the non -transparent effect it creates.
CHIFFON Through combining traditional chiffon and modern technology, our Anti-static chiffon is now the essential industry standard.  The Anti-static feature assists the designer in creating a natural free-flowing garment to enhance any beautiful range.  The perfect sublimation base for fashionable swim wear cover-ups, or fashion items requiring a beautiful drape and flowing effect.

Contact us to request your FREE Polyester performance sublimation base sample card today!

Now that we have given you food for thought, I hope you have fun picking your next perfomance sublimation basecloth, and topping it off with your unique amazing design.  Have fun!

Until the next post,

Vanessa
And don't forget ...stretch your imagination...

 

 

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