Sublimation T-shirts: The Best T-shirt for Sublimation

Scientifically sublimation is the transition of something from a solid to a gas without becoming a liquid. When you use it to print on T-shirts, you use heat to bring ink and fabric together by first printing your design on a special type of paper using a type of ink that becomes gas when heat is applied before transferring it to some material. The printing is then heated until the ink bleeds into the fabric. Although sublimation printing is more expensive, the effects are permanent, and the design lasts longer as it doesn't crack or peel over time. The process is similar to a tattoo but on shirt material instead of skin. Sublimation printing is also known as 'all over printing' as it can be used to fill an entire shirt with a design. This guide will discuss what fabric is best for sublimation, what type of T-shirt you are looking for, and how CorelDRAW can help you make the T-shirt of your dreams.

What kind of fabric is best for sublimation?

When it comes to fabric, there are basically three choices to use for making a printed T-shirt. Cotton, blended, or polyester:

  • Cotton: There are three types of cotton: standard, ringspun and combed. All of these are made from vegetable fibers that are spun into yarn and finally woven into fabric. Unfortunately, cotton is a poor choice for sublimation as the sublimation process doesn't work well with natural fibers.
  • Blended: Blended fabrics tend to be 50% cotton, 25% polyester, and 25% rayon.  Blended fabrics are also a poor choice for sublimation due to the high cotton content. In addition, the process does not work well on this material.
  • Polyester: Polyester is an artificial polymer that usually refers to polyethylene terephthalate (PET). It is perfect for the sublimation process as the ink works best on artificial materials.

Choosing the best T-shirt for sublimation printing

Obviously, a polyester shirt is perfect for the sublimation process, but what type of sublimation shirt? The experts at All Day Shirts have some ideas.

  • A4 N3402: This T-shirt is 100% polyester which makes it perfect for sublimation, is good quality but breathes when you wear it, feels soft, and is at a good price point. This is the most popular T-shirt if you are looking for shirts for the sublimation process.
  • Jerzees 21M: Although this shirt is 100% polyester, it looks and feels like cotton. While it is a bit on the thin side, it has that nice cotton feel if that is important.
  • Team 365 TT11: This T-shirt is similar to the 21M but is slightly cheaper and has more options for customization (Women's style, youth sizes, long sleeves, etc.)
  • A4 N3142: Instead of a soft cotton feel, the N3142 has a silky dry-fit feel. It has moisture-wicking properties and is odor and stain-resistant. Its price is comparable to the 21M.
  • Next Level 6200: This is the highest-quality shirt of this group but is a polyester (65%) cotton (35%) blend. You will lose some color in the sublimation process, but this is perfect for vintage shirts where some fading would be expected and add to the overall feel of the shirt.

How CorelDRAW can help you make your perfect printed T-shirt

CorelDRAW works great for the sublimation process or whatever kind of printed T-shirt you are making. Here are some steps where CorelDRAW can help in the printing process.

  • The Fit Object to Path extension allows you to take any design and customize its placement, so it's perfect for your shirt.
  • The Pointilizer extension allows you to create "mosaics, patterns and artistic designs" to make your image exactly how you want it.
  • The Impact Effects extension gives the illusion of movement and action to any image you create.

No matter what type of printed T-shirt you are making, CorelDRAW will make sure you have the best materials for the best outcome.

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