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Brian Jachens
by Brian Jachens
Dec 14, 2023 3:17:38 PM

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The sands of the apparel and decorations industries are constantly shifting, and it can be hard to keep up so that your brand has an edge in such competitive markets. If you’ve been stuck in the limiting routine of direct embroidery and screen-print, I’ve got good news for you, that competitive edge is closer at hand than you think. It's time to change things up and break free from the constraints and hassles of dated apparel decoration methods. In this post, I’ll be covering five crucial reasons why using a heat press machine and decorations with heat sensitive adhesive backing are better than screenprint and direct embroidery and how it will revolutionize your business.


1. Speed and efficiency

I couldn’t decide between the age-old adages of “work smarter, not harder” or “time is money”, but luckily using a heat press to apply your decorations covers both. Compared to the long production time of direct embroidery or the multiple passes and drying process of screen-printing, decorations applied with a heat press machine offer quicker production turn times across the board. We ran a test and compared a 12 head direct embroidery machine to a single head heat press and over the course of an hour were able to heat apply 3.5 times the number of garments per hour. This means getting your goods out the door, in the market faster, and with more money in your pocket. Long set up times, which are especially painful for shorter runs, are also not a problem when working with heat. Instead of threading multiple colors and mixing messy inks, your set up time is literally reduced to flipping on a machine and punching in your temperature, making even one offs a breeze.


2. Versatility

Your brand is dynamic, your customer needs are many, so why limit your creativity? Heat pressed patches offer unparalleled versatility with tons of materials and techniques to choose from, liberating you from the same old ink and thread. Besides, why just pick from two main courses when you could have the whole menu? From twill to leather, 3D embroidery to chenille, and silicone to sequins, a single heat seal machine can easily apply all of these with barely any change in set up. This flexibility empowers your brand to experiment with new looks, respond to trends, and enables you to truly differentiate your products from the competition, delivering collections that truly stand out from your competitions.

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3. Less design constraints

Direct embroidery has it’s place under the sun but let’s talk about designs that require precision and fine details like small type or photo real images. Direct embroidery is going to struggle to capture these every time, with illegible letters and lost details. Whether it’s printed fabric patches or our Velocity heat transfers, decorations engineered to be heat applied can handle these more specific design requirements with ease. Screen print also has it’s own limitations in this regard, being completely flat and devoid of texture and personality. Chenille, 3D embroidery, and print stitch combination patches, all bring their own unique dimensionality that adds true value to any garment they are applied to. Why water down a design to fit within the limitations of an application method, shouldn’t it be the other way around? Have a diverse range of techniques and material solutions right at your fingertips and an application process that will work with all of it.

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Clockwise - chainstitching on twill, laser etched leather, embroidery on printed dazzle material, a yellow twill cap on printed Stepcloth material.  


4. No color limitations

Color is the language of fashion, and when it comes to making a statement, the last thing you want is a limited color palette. Why worry about increased set up times for designs with lots of thread colors or increased cost for extra screen printed colors? Your palette should be as dynamic as your designs, that’s why Lion Brothers offers over 13 printable and PMS matchable materials for colorful gradients, crisp details, and photo real options. Color is our specialty and we guarantee that we can hit any brand, team, or licensed color you need. Take a look at our material guide to get a closer look.


Seen above, a photoreal print on satin, a single layer of printed mesh, and lastly the crisp details of printed twill.  


5. Durable and comfortable

More and more apparel is becoming about experiences. Customers invest in a garment with the expectation that the clothes they buy will be both comfortable and also endure the test of time. Faded screen prints, rough feeling pellon, and snagged threads aren’t a good look for your customers or your brand. With the proper settings, heat sealed decorations offer unmatched durability and will often outlast the garment they are applied to. The type of garment is also important to consider. Screenprint is not a great match for outerwear and direct embroidery can get heavy and doesn’t feel the best for anything larger than a small left chest deign on t-shirts. With the flexibility to choose any material you like and apply them all with the same set up, you’ll be ready for all garment types and weights.    


In the end heat application is the better, faster, and economical edge that can truly be a difference maker for any sized operation when it comes to apparel decoration. With more materials to choose from, less design limitations, and a more durable product turn up the heat on your brand and truly stand out amongst the crowd.

Brian Jachens
Post by Brian Jachens
Dec 14, 2023 3:17:38 PM