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July 14, 2023 3 min read

Embroidery vs Sublimation Printing Which Should You Choose?


If you want to add logos and other designs to clothing and other textiles, embroidery and sublimation printing are your two primary options. Both of these options can produce quality work, but they each have their advantages and disadvantages.

Embroidery is often viewed as the more long-lasting choice, and can deliver professional results for uniforms and more. Sublimation printing can sometimes be more cost-effective, especially when using local services, and is often a better choice for larger designs.

Before you decide whether embroidery or sublimation printing is right for your purposes, take a look at what each one could offer you for whatever purpose you need it for.

Cost comparisons

Cost is likely to be the biggest concern for any entrepreneur who wants to have garments or accessories customized. It already costs a little more to have something personalized than to simply buy it as its made, so you don’t want to overspend.

One thing to keep in mind is that neither option will always be cheaper. Which one is more cost-effective will depend on a number of factors, including the complexity of the design, where you have the work done, the size of the design and the quality of the garments that you use.

If you choose embroidery, you will usually be looking at flat-rate costs that don’t depend on how many colors are in the design.

However, with sublimation printing, the number of colors makes a big difference. Each new color requires a new mesh screen, which raises the costs.

Most embroidery will allow you to have up to 15 colors at little to no extra cost. However, large logos and designs are likely to be cheaper with sublimation printing, and large orders can reduce the costs too.

Durability of Embroidery vsSublimation Printing

Durability is another concern, and this is where embroidery is often the better choice. An embroidered design, which is stitched straight into the fabric, is much more likely to last for longer than a printed design, which is printed on top of the fabric. Embroidery is less likely to show any damage. With quality stitching, it can last for a long time.

Within reason, almost any design can be sublimated, while embroidery has more design limitations. Sublimation has greater accuracy than embroidery, which is not as precise with small details and letters, as threads have to create all parts of a design.

A printed garment could be ruined in a flash if it’s put in the washing machine at the wrong temperature or ironed on the wrong side. Embroidered logos don’t present such problems, although the stitching can be snagged or damaged occasionally.

Embroidery creates a design with a nice amount of weight that looks sophisticated and should last for a long time. The design is in 3D, as opposed to the flat design of a screen printed logo, and the strong thread presents a shine that makes the logo eye catching too.

 

Applications of Embroidery andSublimation Printing

You also need to think about the most appropriate applications for both embroidery and sublimation printing. Each of them can be more suited to different types and qualities of garments. For example, embroidery is more suitable for heavier garments.

Thinner and lower quality garments aren’t necessarily the best choice for embroidery because thin material tends to pucker when embroidered. Embroidered logos are excellent for good quality uniforms that you want to last for a long time.

Polo shirts with logos and perhaps even names stitched onto one side are a classic choice. However, if a larger logo is required on the back of the shirt, sublimation printing can be a more suitable choice.

Sublimation printing can be the better option for T-shirts and other thin or stretchy garments. The printing doesn’t create the tension that embroidery does so it doesn’t cause the material to pucker up.

If you want to customize T-shirts, hoodies and similar items, or you want to print larger logos, sublimation printing is likely to be the most suitable option.

However, for other garments, including polo shirts, outerwear and caps, embroidery is the most durable and sophisticated option for your logos. It looks smart and will last a long time, plus it’s suitable for a wide range of garments and other items.

Embroidery and sublimation both have their advantages and disadvantages, and the decision of which to choose ultimately depends on your budget and what you want to do.

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