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What Is Garment Dye?

What is Garment Dye? What It Means to Your T-Shirt

There are a few different dyeing methods used for t-shirts. We choose to garment dye our t-shirt collection. This means the t-shirt (or garment) is made, then dyed. Although garment dyeing is the most extensive of the dyeing methods, it enables us to achieve a softer, broken-in feel and it takes out 99% of shrinkage to ensure consistent sizing.
Garment Dye process at Todd Shelton

Garment dye machine.

What Does Garment Dye Mean to You

The benefit of the garment dye process is no shrinkage. If the t-shirt fits right the first time you put it on, it will fit right for as long as you own it. This is because the fabric has been commercially washed and dried twice. Also, garment dye typically results in a softer feel and richer color.

Here’s How Our Garment Dye Process Works
  • -We purchase cotton yarn from a yarn spinner in Georgia. It arrives in a bleached cotton color (on cones). The spinner sends it to our knitter in North Carolina.
  • -The knitter knits the yarn into our t-shirt fabric and puts it onto rolls.
  • -The knitter sends the rolls to a wash house, also in North Carolina, where the fabric is rinsed and tumbled dry to stabilize for shrinkage. As a result, 95% of shrinkage is removed during this process.
  • -The wash house sends the fabric to our New Jersey factory.
  • -Next, the factory cuts one t-shirt from the fabric and sends it to be dyed, rinsed and tumbled to determine additional shrinkage.
  • -The t-shirt patterns are adjusted to account for the additional shrinkage and the t-shirts are cut & sewn.
  • -Then, the (nearly finished) t-shirts are sent to the dye-house in New York to become the desired color (blue, red, grey, whatever).
  • -Finally, the dye-house returns them to our factory where they are inspected, labeled and pressed. Now they’re complete.
Other Types of Dyeing for T-Shirts

Piece-Dye:  the most common t-shirt dyeing method. Piece-dyeing is the process of dyeing “piece goods.” First, the t-shirt fabric is knitted in a natural cotton color and put onto rolls. Next, the fabric is unrolled in a dye bath to achieve the desired color. The fabric is then framed (stretched to the intended width specification) and re-rolled. Ultimately, the rolls are sent to a cut and sew shop where they’re cut into t-shirts and packaged.

Yarn-Dye:  yarn is dyed the desired color before the t-shirt fabric is knitted. This process is used mainly for Heather colored t-shirts.

We hope you found this article helpful. To read more about our American made t-shirts, please see Todd Shelton T-Shirts

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