What is a Sublimated Jersey?

Introduction: So, you’re looking for a custom jersey for your team or organization. Where do you start? A lot of people that reach out to us in regards to a DTC (direct to consumer) sale don’t fully understand what we do. For broad strokes terms, we’re a custom sportswear apparel company. But that can mean a lot of things, right? More specifically, we’re a sublimation company. Pull up a chair and I’ll give you an overview.

First, we must ask, what is sublimation?

Sublimation is essentially a big word for bringing ink and fabric together as one. As opposed to screenprinting or embroidery, sublimation takes a design that’s printed onto a special piece of paper and uses heat to permanently print that design onto the fabric. The effects are less prone to fading, as the ink is embedded in the fabric rather than simply laying on top like a normal print. Now, you have a full-color image that won’t crack, peel, or wash away from the material. Sublimation works only with polyester or a blend with a high polyester content. Cotton is just straight up not good to use. The natural fibers in cotton won’t permanently bond with the dyes in the sublimation ink. 

Okay, so are sublimation jerseys or screen printed jerseys better?

Not all jerseys are created equal! Of course, it depends on what type of material you’re choosing to print on. We’ll dive in when a sublimation jersey may be more valuable and when a screen printed jersey may be more valuable. On average, sublimated jerseys are usually of higher quality.

There are a lot of things to consider when looking at a team jersey order. How much do you want to spend per uniform? Are these for a one-time event, or are they going to be used throughout a season? What kind of design do you want? Any personalization needed?

The answers behind these questions help you decide who to go to for your jerseys.

  • If you’re looking for a simple design (1 - 2 colors) at a low cost for an upcoming tournament. Great, reach out to a local screen printer to weigh your options. Simple print, low-cost jersey, quick turnaround, boom you’re done. If you value speed and have a tight budget - screen printing is probably your best option. You can get a range of quality out of these types of jerseys but typically this is considered for rec leagues.
  • If you’re looking for an intricate design for your team to use for the foreseeable future. That’s where a sublimation company like Clubhouse Athletic comes in. Sublimated jerseys can be of higher quality if you value design and durability. There are far fewer limitations when printing with sublimation than via screen printing. As far as the actual material - well that all depends on your fabric source. Clubhouse Athletic jerseys have our standard set in-between high school sports team wear and professional team wear. But, you can find some sublimation companies with different materials used that will affect the quality.

Summary: So, there are obviously pros and cons of choosing a sublimated jersey. Pro’s include being higher quality and fully customizable. Cons include price point and turnaround time since most sublimation isn’t done domestically. If you have the time to wait, sublimated jerseys definitely pack the most punch.

Looking to outfit your team or organization with custom sublimated jerseys? Shoot me an email at nick@clubhouseathletic.com

-Nick

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