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Soft and comfortable quality prints get popularity

The print is a magic word of fashion throughout the world, especially among the youth. Printing is carried out for producing eye-catchy, trendy, along with visualizing the persona of the wearer, by giving designs on fabric or other materials. Besides, people want comfortable and soft quality print in parallel with unique design or embellishment applied on the garment.

textile print

Customers demand in prevalent print trends

Soft print on T-shirt is a new trend that people are craving for, as it’s comfortable. Some prints maybe eye-catchy, but gets least customer attention because of bulky print or very hard to touch quality in print technique.

Characteristics of the soft hand feel print as below:

  • Soft print can be water base.
  • Print that goes inside the fiber
  • No layer of print will be seen when touched
  • Good breathability of fabric in the print area
  • Wash can make the print softer and more comfortable.

Newas Mawla Chawdory, Assistant Manager Merchandising, Asmara Bangladesh Ltd, said, “I was working for an Italian customer for last three years. During the development, stage buyer wants different quality print and most of the print they ask to be soft and comfortable to wear.”

“So, we always try to use pigment, discharge or other quality print that makes print soft,” Newas Mawla added.

Print with soft quality

There are different quality/method print that makes the print soft and comfortable. Also, each quality has some limitation when printed on a different type of fabric or colored fabric.

Some print is suitable on a white ground, contrary on the colored ground may not be good. Some fabrics are not suitable for all kinds of ink, which requires additional chemicals, making the print process longer and complicated.

Sumon Hawlader, Print manager, Alema textile Ltd said, “Most of the buyer wants soft hand feels on the fabric. But, behind the scenario is, not all the fabric, color are suitable to make a softer print.”

“Sometimes this is becoming a matter of dissatisfaction from buyer’s side because they want the soft hand feeling on everything, no matter what color or fabric. In reality, make everything ‘soft print’ not on the horizon,” Sumon Hawlader explained.

Kinds of soft quality print 

The demand of soft quality print is snowballing day by day in the apparel market. But not all the range of color and chemical guarantee soft print on fabrics. Some color can melt on the fabric, some can burn the color, and some can create a thin layer on the fabric for softer print.

So this is a matter of print expert, to bring out the soft print by applying versatile techniques, ensuring premium quality. There are some print quality that can make the print soft and can ensure perfect quality. Discussed below are some top example of soft print.

Pigment print

It is a common quality that print factories use for soft hand feel. This quality print also is known as water base print because the ink is almost water and can do nice soft print.

Figure 1: Picture of Pigment print top + backside. In this print, the ink passes on the back side of the fabric through the gap between the yarn and not the same to reactive print. On the reactive print, ink is sucked by the fiber of the fabric.

In most cases, the white ground fabric is suitable for pigment or water-based paint color. The water-based print also used for process print. Known as Cyan-magenta-yellow-black (CMYK) print also.

The advantage of pigment print

  • Pigment print is easy to produce on a white ground.
  • Easy to do any kinds of design.
  • CMYK or process print can be done easily.
  • Cost of print less in comparison with other print quality.

Limitation of pigment print

  • Pigment print can only be done on lighter color fabric. On the darker ground, this quality print will not be good.
  • Knit fabric is good to use pigment print.

Discharge print

Discharge print also a kind of print that gives soft hand feels even on a darker ground.

discharge print
Figure 2: Picture of discharge print. On top of the fabric, print is looking nice and the back side of the fabric can be seen the penetration of ink. The ink removed the fabric color and stays on the place.

The characteristics of this quality print is to burn the fabric color and put the new color. For discharge quality print need discharge quality fabric in color. To apply discharge print, the fabric has to be dyed in discharge color. There are some limitations of this quality print.

The advantage of discharge print 

  • Soft hand feels even on the different dark color.
  • On dark color, fabric print looks good because of discharge quality.
  • Softer than pigment print and good color fastness.
  • On slab fabric discharge print can be more attractive.

Limitation of discharge print

  • For discharge, print needs dischargeable dyed fabric.
  • All the colorway not dischargeable to dye. Suppose greenish-blue color cannot be dischargeable in fabric dye. Without discharge dye on the fabric discharge print not possible to do.
  • White discharge print cannot be done. In this case, the print factory uses special chemical.
  • Discharge print chemical gives a very bad smell, so garment wash needed to remove bad smell from the garment. Garment wash will increase production cost as well as extra fabric needed for washing purpose. In this case, price has to consider carefully.

Reactive print

Reactive dye printing is a method of printing a dye or wax by using mixes thereof to create colors. In other word, this quality of the print is one kind of dyeing not print exactly.

reactive print
Figure 3: On reactive print, ink passes from top side to back side because fiber sucks the color and so can be seen at back side.

The reactive print was done with a binder and a heat-activated printing additive. The dyes directly applied on fabric instead of fabric dye. For this reason, the fabric has to be RFD or ready to fabric dye so that reactive ink can go inside the fiber and fiber can suck the color. RFD process includes desizing / singeing / mercerization.

The advantage of reactive print

  • The nice hand feels and quality of color.
  • The wearer never feels the stiffness of print color or don’t feel the existence of print.
  • Good color fastness.
  • No need to dye the fabric because of reactive itself one kind of dye.

Limitation of reactive print

  • Reactive print can do on RFD or ready to dye fabric. So on colored fabric, this print is not possible to do.
  • The color fastness can be a big problem if the fabric is not properly treated after print.
  • Placement reactive print usually not easy to do so people use reactive print for all over print only.
  • Reactive print has to do carefully otherwise the possibility of wastage of fabric.
  • Only experienced people can handle this quality print.
  • Reactive print is costly in comparison to other quality.

In fine, softer print quality is not always easy but now many print techniques and inks are coming in the market as per market demand. Some new inks can give both good hands feel as well as this is easy to apply on the different color ground.

But health hazardous matter is getting more concern for any kinds of print chemical. Also, colorfastness is another concern for the soft quality print. However experiment is continuing to find more effective chemicals that can give a solution of good hand feel, colorfastness and chemical will be hazardous free also.

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