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Glossary

If you’re having problems understanding some of the language used in the clothing and printing industry then this handy guide is perfect for you. Below is a brief glossary of the most used terms and processes in our industry to help you brush up on your general knowledge and decipher your ‘WARP’ from your ‘WEFT’.

3D Embroidery

A technique of inserting foam aka padloft under the top stitch of an embroidered design to give a raised 3D effect. It is a difficult procedure to complete and is normally only used on heavier fabrics. For example caps, jackets, and outerwear garments. To avoid the padloft being seen it is best to use padloft and thread of the same or similar colour and to use extra stitching to standard embroidery.

Binding

Binding is a folded piece fabric which covers a seam or raw edge as a method of finishing a garment.

Blank Garment

A ready made plain garment. Blank Garments include t-shirts, polo shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts, workwear, hospitality wear and more. 

Brand Label

A woven or printed brand label which can be sewn into garments bearing the manufacturer or fashion brand’s name. This is usually done together with wash care instructions, fabric content and size. Also to be found in the waistband of trousers, joggers and shorts.

Care Label

Care Labels show how a garment should be washed or cleaned, and are usually located in the side seam or waistband of garments along with fabric content details. Care labels often include symbols called Ginitex symbols. The inclusion of washing instructions is not mandatory in the UK; however, it is strongly recommended and encouraged.

CMYK

Also known as process colour or four colour, CMYK refers to the four ink colours used in printing: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key (Black). When CMY primary colours are combined at full strength, the resulting “secondary” colours are red, green and blue. An imperfect black is created by mixing all three together.

Colour Separations

The process of simulating full colour images and gradients with screen printing. Instead of using CMYK, multiple colours are printed separately, one on top of the other to give the impression that the image is full colour.

Colourway

Any colour or range of colours in which a style or design is available.

Combed Cotton

A cotton that has been combed to remove the shorter, more coarse fibres. Combed cotton is known for being finer, smoother and stronger giving a better printing surface and a softer fabric to touch.

Country of origin

The Country in which the garment has been manufactured from raw materials. This may not apply to any later customisation.

Cotton Labels

100% cotton printed labels for relabelling your garments. 

Crew Neck

The name given to a classic round neck garment. For example crew neck t-shirts, sweatshirts and jumpers.

Curing

By passing screen printed garments through a drying tunnel at a predetermined temperature a chemical process occurs that dries the ink and bonds it to the fabric. Curing makes the print washable and durable.

Customisation

The printing, embroidery and re-labelling of a garment according to a customer's individual requirements.

Custom Made Garment

A garment made from various fabrics to a specific design requested by the customer. The process includes pattern cutting and grading, fabric cutting and sewing, trimming and customisation. This is often sourced from production facilities outside of the UK and is not offered by Fire Label Merchandising.

Cut and Sew

A relabelling process where the manufacturer's label is cut out near to the seam and a new customer brand label is sewn over the top.

Digital Printing

A CMYK method of printing from a digital based image directly onto a variety of products. This process is used for the printing of Swing Tickets where short run quantities are required.

Digitising

The process of converting artwork into a stitch pattern or file that can be read by an embroidery machine for the purpose of automatically sewing a design onto a garment.

Discharge Printing

A screen printing process where the same techniques and equipment are used but instead of plastisol ink, discharge inks are used, which remove the shirt's dye from the print area before printing the required design and colour. The ink is absorbed into the fabric instead of putting a color on top of the garment. Disadvantages are that colour migration from the garment dye can occur changing the ink colour. This service is not currently offered by Fire Label Merchandising.

Direct To Garment Printing (DTG)

A process of printing full colour images onto garments using specialised inkjet printer technology. As screens are not used for this process one of the benefits is the low set up cost. DTG can be used on most cotton fabrics with best results being found when printing onto white or very pale coloured garments. However, when printing onto dark colours and black a special pre-treatment has to be applied to the garment which can be seen around the edges of the printed design. Washing out is currently the only way to overcome this problem which is done by the customer after delivery of the order. Pre-treatment is not used on white garments.

DPI (dots per inch)

In printing, DPI refers to the output resolution and dot density of an image when  it is, for example, printed onto paper.

DST

Once an embroidery design is digitised a DST file is created and kept on file for future use. This ensures that the design will look exactly the same as previous each time it is embroidered. The DST file is the property of the customer.

Embroidery

This is the process of decorating fabric or other material with needle and thread to create a design. Originally a handcraft, it is  now completed on high speed computerised embroidery machines. The finished designs are of a high quality but very fine detail is difficult to achieve.

EPS

Encapsulated Postscript Vector graphics (Adobe Illustrator) or EPS is a file extension for a graphics file format used in vector-based images in Adobe Illustrator. An EPS file can contain text as well as graphics.

Ginitex

This is the International Association for Care Labelling that provides the symbols used on Care Labels. The symbols, known as Ginitex symbols, are protected trademarks that are used under licence from Ginitex.

Glitter Print

A process of introducing a glitter effect to print. It can be completed with ready made glitter inks or by applying an adhesive resin to the garments before glitter is passed through a wide mesh screen onto the adhesive before curing. Glitter printing is more suited to bold designs rather than intricate designs and we currently recommend ready made glitter inks.

Gloss Print

Gloss Print is achieved by printing a high gloss clear coat of ink over the top of the standard plastisol screen print. This is an additional process which gives the print a shiny appearance. There is a surcharge for this process.

GSM (Grammes per Square Metre)

GSM is the unit of weight used for determining the weight of a fabric. GSM relates simply to the weight of the fabric and gives no indication of the fabric or garments quality.

Inner Neck Print

This is a screen print or transfer print that can be found on the inside of a garment just below the back neck seam. It usually specifies the garment brand, size and fabric content. It is used as an alternative to woven or printed neck labels. Manufacturers neck labels need to be removed before printing in this area.

Jersey Fabric

Jersey knit fabric is a smooth fabric, perfect for printing, and is most often used for t-shirts.

JPEG

A raster file originally designed for compressing digital photographs. As it compresses the original image it is not recommended for print applications.

Kimble

A plastic strip that it used for attaching swing tickets and price labels to garments, applied with a kimble gun.

Lead Time

The amount of time required to produce and deliver an order.

Metallic Print

Metallic inks such as Gold or Silver are plastisol based products that produce a metallic look when screen printed. A limited selection of other colours are available.

MOQ

Minimum Order Quantity refers to the minimum amount of any process that can be ordered. For example our embroidery MOQ is 10 units.

Overlock

A stitch used in manufacturing to prevent the raw edge of fabric from fraying. The edges of the fabric are concealed with stitch threads. Overlock is also used for joining seams - for example the body of a sweatshirt to the neck band.

Padloft

This is a foam product that is used under the top stitch of embroidery to give the design a raised or 3D effect.

Pantone Matching System

A universal colour matching system used to precisely match colours when printing. Each colour has a unique code that relates to instructions for how the ink should be mixed to give the required colour.

PDF

A Portable Document Format is a digital document that supports both vector and raster information which can be edited using different software packages.

Pique Fabric

Pique fabric is a hardwearing, textured fabric generally used in polo shirts.

Placket

In modern terms a placket often refers to the layers of fabric that hold buttons and buttonholes on shirts and polo shirts.

Plastisol

Plastisol is the preferred ink for screen printing as it is cost effective, offers vibrant colours and a long life. Plastisol is a liquid  which can be converted into a solid plastic simply by heating (curing). It consists of particles of synthetic resin that are dispersed in a non-volatile liquid. After printing onto garments the ink is cured (heated) in special dryers to give a permanent durable design that sits on top of the fabric.

Polyester Print

Garments with a fabric content more than 50% polyester need to have a blocker ink printed onto the fabric before the design colours are printed. This is done to overcome sublimation of the garment dye into the printing ink.

Proof

A digital representation of artwork on a product or garment. Often completed as a PDF proof showing the size, position and colours of the customisation in relation to the product or garment chosen.

Puff Printing

A screen printing process using chemical ink additives which cause the print to rise when exposed to heat during the curing process. This is not a precise process as the print continues to rise the longer it is left to cure.

QC

Quality Control (QC) is the process of checking the completion of an order at different times within the manufacturing process to ensure that it is being completed correctly and to specification.

Raglan Sleeve

This is a type of sleeve characterised by the fabric extending in one piece to meet the collar, leaving a diagonal seam from the underarm to the collarbone of the garment.

Re-labeling

This is the process of removing manufacturers labels from garments and replacing with the customers own brand label. Due to varying manufacturing methods it is not possible to re-label all garments / products. Please check before ordering.

Repeat Screen

A screen used for a repeat order of the same design.

Ringspun Cotton

A softer feeling fabric which has been Ringspun in the manufacturing process. This leaves the fabric feeling soft and smooth, which in turn gives a flat surface for printing meaning better print quality.

Screen

A mesh based screen used as a stencil for the application of ink onto garments to create a design. Each colour within the design needs a separate screen with a set-up cost incurred for each one.

Screen Printing

A printing technique where specialist inks are pushed through a mesh screen onto a substrate using a squeegee. The mesh screen has the design or logo photographed onto it, with an emulsion covering the parts of the screen that do not include the design. Each colour in the design requires a separate screen with the colours being laid down one on top of the other in passes, allowing a drying time or flash cure between each application. After printing of all colours is completed the garment is then passed down a drying tunnel for final curing.

Set In Sleeve

A sleeve joined to the body of a garment by a seam running in a line from the top of the shoulder to under the arm.

Size Labels or size tabs

Small woven or printed loops showing the size of a garment often sewn into the neck band of tops or waistband of trousers.

Side Seam

A seam in a garment running down its length. For example from the bottom of the arm hole to join the front and back panels of a t-shirt or sweatshirt. Also used in the manufacture of trousers, shorts and jeans. Often used in slimmer fit or ladies garments to give them shape.

Sublimation Printing

A printing technique that transfers a digitally printing image from paper onto fabric by passing them through heated rollers or a heat press. Sublimation dyes or inks have a special quality that turns them from a solid state to a gas at a specific temperature. The dye is then absorbed into the fabric. As the fabric cools it seals in the dye making it extremely wash proof. Sublimation printing is only suitable for 100% polyester or blends with a high polyester content.

Swing Ticket

An information ticket often made from board which is attached to a finished garment by either string or a plastic kimble. They usually contain the brand’s logo, website details, barcode stickers and pricing.  

Taped Neck / Taping

A strip of fabric that is sewn over the seam connecting two panels of a garment. Neck taping is often used in t-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies to give a better quality finish.

TIFF

Tagged Information File Format used for storing raster graphic images.

Triblend

Tribend is a fabric made up of a mixture of three materials, typically cotton, polyester and rayon. This makes the fabric very soft to the touch.

Tubular Body / Construction

A tubular body means the garment, usually a t-shirt, has no side seam as it was woven as a tube. This means you are able to print on the side of the garment.

Twin Needle Stitch

Stitch commonly used to hem stretch fabrics, giving two straight lines of stitching on the front of the fabric and a looped coverstitch on the reverse which covers the raw fabric edge.

Unpick and Sew

A re-labelling process where the seam is unpicked to remove the manufacturer’s label and a new customer brand label is put in its place before re-sewing the seam. This type of re-labelling cannot be completed on overlock seams.

Vector Files

Image files that are saved as vector format allows them to be enlarged without losing any quality making them ideal for use with high resolution images and printed media.

Warp

The yarns which run lengthways in a woven fabric.

Washing Off

Washing of a printed garment to remove any excess dye or chemicals used in processing such as pretreatment for DTG printing. The result is a softer handle of the garment and printed area. This process is carried out by the customer after delivery of the garments.

Water Based Print

A print process using water-based inks onto white or very light coloured garments. Water-based inks are absorbed into the fabric rather than sitting on the surface like plastisol inks giving them a softer handle. Washing off which must be completed by the customer is recommended for garments with water-based prints. Water-based printing is also thought of as more environmentally friendly than other types of printing. Over time water based prints will fade.

Weft

The yarns which run widthways in a woven fabric.

Woven Label

Damask weave polyester label for insertion as a brand’s neck label or hem, sleeve or pocket tag.