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What is sublimation printing and what are the limitations?

On-demand printing on fabric is an exciting way to customize textile products. As new technology emerges, the possibility to print and create your own unique clothing only grows. While sublimation printing is a very versatile process, there are some limitations that affect print outcomes that are good to know about before placing your first order.

Sublimation is a process in which ink is set into synthetic fabric using very high heats. When heated, the ink instantly because a gas that in turn is trapped in the fabric fibers. The transferred ink cannot be rubbed off and is evenly distributed within the fabric. You cannot feel the print on the fabric surface and it has amazing washability. While sublimation printing is a great way to reproduce artwork on fabric, there are some limitations to the process. Read on to better understand the limitations that we work within when printing your custom artwork onto fabric.

Printing basics and disclaimers

What is sublimation printing and what are the limitations? My legging design is mostly solid black. Can you print that? What colour fabric do you print on? How does the print look after sewing? What colours of thread do you sew with? Who decides the thread colour? Are your seam allowances always exactly the same? I see small dust marks on my print. Is this normal? My design placement is not the same as in the mockup. Why is that? How small of text can I print? Will my colours print the same as I see on the screen? There’s a small shadow on my black text. Why is that? I placed 2 different orders of the same product and the colours are a bit different between the 2 orders. Why is that? I ordered a pair of yoga leggings printed mostly with black and there is a difference between the band colour and the legs colour. Why does this happen? Will by sublimation printed fabrics and clothing fade? Will sublimation printed products shrink? Can I provide my own fabrics for sublimation? What is pigment printing? What fabrics are printed with pigment inks? I know silk is a natural fabric. Does this cause problems? How do I care for my printed silk? What are the benefits of nano-pigment inks? How do I optimize my file for printing with pigment inks? I designed leggings and a silk scarf with the same artwork. Will they print the same? Why is there a number inside my leggings? What is it for? How are the silk scarves finished? Why does the stitching overlap on hems?