summer trends

Top 5 Heat-Printing Trends for T-shirts

Jenna Sackett is an education content specialist and crafting enthusiast for STAHLS’ TV. Beginning in 2012, she has worked as an outbound call representative with a dominant focus on all things heat transfer vinyl. From there, she advanced in sales and became a dedicated Inside sales representative. During this time, she learned the ins and outs of owning an apparel decoration business - whether decorators are crafting from home, or running a brick and mortar shop, she knows the tips and tricks that make a business successful in this ever-growing marketplace.

To make the most of summer profits, apparel decorators need insight on important seasonal print trends for the market. From Ts to tanks, this is the summer forecast for heat-printing trends. 

Inspiring patterns

Whether you are heat applying the pattern itself, or sourcing garments with patterns already incorporated into the piece, you can’t go wrong. Although complex, patterns allow for bright hues that catch the eye and keep things fun and creative.

(All images courtesy STAHLS')

This mint tunic is perfect for summer. Its lightweight fabric and bright color perfectly accent the patterned Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV). It's a great piece for those resort or boutique jobs looking to offer a bathing suit coverup to its customers. When printing with pattern HTV, use it on a contrasting color blank or use a solid-color HTV to pair with the pattern so it doesn’t get lost in the garment or become hard to read.

Unique straps & cutouts

These lightweight Ts help with staying cool but keep it hot by using fashion-forward elements like “caged” straps and “cold shoulder” cutouts. They're not only flattering but also super easy to personalize with just a heat press. Use popular, retail-inspired colors such as mint, blue, and rose gold, as well as metallic finishes.

You can never go wrong with printing monograms or your favorite summer sports team mascot. When working with thin, heat-sensitive fabrics, such as polyester or rayon, use HTV or transfers that apply at a low temperature, so you do not scorch the fabric or leave a big “heat print” box on the shirt.

Flowy fringe

Fringe is in! Whether it’s by subtly adding fringe tassels/keychains to your handbags, or rocking it on clothing, fringe is being spotted everywhere, especially in retail. Don’t believe it? Just check out some insight from New York Fashion Week. Distressed prints look best paired with fringe details. Using screen-printed transfers is the easiest way to recreate this hot trend. Boho chic-inspired (style of fashion drawing on various bohemian and hippie influences) artwork is the ideal print to pair with this ever-growing trend.

If you choose to use a screen-printed transfer to get the distressed effect on your designs, look into the application instructions. Some transfers apply as high as 365 degrees F. This can be too hot for some fabrics. Look for screen-printed transfers that apply as low as 300 degrees F for those sensitive fabrics.

Crop tops

Crop tops are taking over. Stylish stars are sporting shorter shirts, and inspired apparel manufacturers all over are recreating these looks. This style currently reigns as one of the summer’s hottest trends, and whatever customers see in retail is what they want their apparel decorator to offer too. These days, you can source crop tops from just about anywhere for a wholesale price. This makes it simple for you to add to your offerings. Crop tops pair nicely with any “soft-finish” prints that have stretch and rebound to them. From screen-printed to lightweight HTV that gives with the shirt, you can’t go wrong.

Graphic Ts, along with text and sayings are popular print trends in the industry. Look up popular sayings online to draw inspiration and use fun fonts to make them unique.