Comfort Colors t shirts have been very popular over the last 20 years. The brand started in the 1970’s and in the beginning other manufacture’s t shirts were used as there go to shirt. Around 1995 the company started manufacturing it’s own shirts. And around 2005 an improved ring spun fabric shirt was created. That’s when Comfort Colors took on it’s own identity. The shirt we know as the Comfort Colors direct dye t shirt.
Over the last 20 years the brand grew into a household name. Every resort store, college book store, or southern brand… It became the shirt to use.
How Comfort Colors T Shirts are Dyed
Comfort Colors uses two dying processes. Pigment dyed and Direct/Reactive dyed shirts. The pigment dyed shirts are similar to a tie dye shirt. The dyes can wash out over time which adds to the aged, soft look. The direct/reactive dyed shirts are similar to your normal t shirt. But Comfort Colors color pallet is typically lighter hues and more pastel choices.
The Challenges of Printing on Comfort Colors
The first issue is excessive lint buildup on the pallets. When screen printing t shirts an adhesive has to be applied to the pallet that the garment lays on. With most t shirts the adhesive lasts for 5 to 20 cycles. But with the Comfort Colors the adhesive must be re applied every (or every other) print cycle. If inadequate adhesive is used the shirts will move and the registration between colors will be misaligned.
Excessive buildup of adhesive and lint can also cause ink transfer issues. Especially when printing pockets. Take a look at the edges of the pocket pallet.
You can see how the pallet is no longer flat with all the excessive lint buildup. This can cause issues when printing on pockets because the ink cannot transfer onto the shirt easily. Increasing pressure to get the ink to clear will then cause blurring issues along the edges. So The print process usually has to stop to clean the pallets of excessive buildup.
Similar to dye migration when printing on poly shirts (read more about Dye Migration when printing Polyester Shirts here), the Comfort Colors pigment dyed shirts do dye migrate. Dye migration is when the dye of the shirt migrates into the ink layer during the curing process. This dye migration causes unique colors in the ink layer, usually a shade of the shirt. But sometimes the ink can change to colors that differ from the shirt color. Some of the troublesome colors are Brick, Crimson and Willow. The tint or shade of the migrated ink color adds to the weathered look of the Comfort Colors t shirts. But make sure everyone is aware of the issues before choosing a shirt color.
Water Based Screen Printing
Water based inks can also be a challenge with the Comfort Colors brand of t shirts. Using water based inks is a popular choice in some of today’s hottest brands because of the no feel nature of the ink. The direct/reactive dyed shirts are great for water based and discharge printing. The end result is vibrant colors on a super soft shirt. What more can you ask for, right? But we caution using water based inks on the pigment dyed shirts. The dye will not discharge (bleach) away from the fabric and the end result could be a print that is not visible. Dark colors on light shirts will work but light colors on the dark pigment dyed shirts is a no go.
Cleaning Ink spots
Getting ink spots on shirts is inevitable in a print shop. And small holes or leaks in screens happen. Cleaning ink spots off of shirts is common practice in any print shop. But extra caution must be made when printing pigment dyed shirts. If cleaning the shirts with common practices, the dye in the shirts will be washed out some or even completely. Even hand washing out a soiled spot of dirt or grease will cause a lighter spot in the shirt in that area. So when choosing a pigment dyed color for printing it is best practice to order a few extras in case of mishaps.
So Many Color Choices
The Comfort Colors brand has more color choices than just about any shirt in the marketplace. For instance Pepper, Graphite and Black are the equivalent of Black, Blacker and Blackest. Or how about China Blue, Navy and Midnight? All different shades of navy. Then there are all kinds of bright colors like Lagoon Blue, or Lime. In fact there are 95 colors in all. WOW!
The Final Product
Once you own a Comfort Colors screen printed t shirt, it is sure to be one of your favorite shirts. The soft feel, worn look is unmatched by any other brand. It takes you back in time to that relaxing day on the beach. It’s just this side of paradise.