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How Your Caps & Shirts Are Made

Before any shirts or hats come out of the box we do extensive preparation of your artwork. For embroidery designs this means that your logo must be digitized. Digitizing is the process by which a design is converted into sewing instructions for a computerized embroidery machine. Each color of your logo is assigned to a different needle and thread. Special types of stitches are assigned to each area to create the desired effect. Letters are converted in stitches and numerous characteristics are assigned to your design. Digitizing is a time consuming and expensive process. A normal left chest or hat logo would cost between $75 and $200 dollars to digitize at many shops. At Arizona Cap, digitizing is free. We know that you will be a  repeat customer and the value of your business to us exceeds the losses we may take in giving away this valuable service.

Once your design is digitized your goods are prepared for embroidery. Hats are loaded into special cap frames that stretch the sewing area tightly and hold the cap in place on the machine. Shirts are stretched across hoops for the same purpose. In many cases we will place pellon (a thin white fabric backing) behind the area of the shirt or hat to be sewn. This helps keep the stitching tighter and more exact. Next, thread colors are selected and loaded into the machines. Your digitized logo is loaded into the computers memory and using the same CAD/CAM style instructions used to cut auto parts from steel the sewing begins. Experienced embroidery operators keep a close eye on the stitching. Thread breaks often and the equipment is halted while new thread is loaded. Speed and tension adjustments are made throughout the process to insure that your logo stitches correctly. When finished, your goods are removed from the machine. Pellon is cutaway and loose or extraneous threads are trimmed. Your shirts and hats are then ready to packaged for delivery.


When we receive your art for screenprinting it must be cleaned up so that the edges are sharp. Often times, this means that we must recreate your logo from scratch. When your logo is perfected we can then proceed to separate the colors. Each color in your logo is then made into a separate sheet of film. This film is then used to "burn" the image into a fabric covered screen. To do this, the colorseparated film positives are placed on the screen and the screen is placed into an exposure unit. The exposure unit contains extremely bright ultra violet lights which burn your logo into the light sensitive coating on the screen. After exposure, your logo is washed out of the screen allowing ink to pass through the area where your logo is but not through the rest of the screen. Finished screens are loaded into a rotary textile press. Shirts are fitted onto the press and the screens are brought down on top of the shirts. Using a squeegee, a screenprinter presses the different colored inks through the screen and onto your shirts, forming your logo. The shirts are then dried at approximately 400 degrees. This cures the plastisol based ink insuring that it will not peel or wash off. .



                                                                        Digital Printing
    Digital garment printing is a rapidly growing and even more rapidly changing industry. Virtually every machine and process we use for digital printing did not exist a decade ago. At Arizona Cap we use Brother GT-541 garments printers to produce digital printed shirts. For caps we use a carrier transfer process and pigment inks. Digital printing allows your artwork to be printed directly from your original (or edited as you request.) Unlike screenprinting, where every color requires a different screen and adds to the cost, digital garment printing is the same cost for a single color logo or full color photographic logo. At this time we only offer digital printing on white or natural colored garments. This is because the inks used in digital printing are not opaque and if printed on colored shirts, the color of the shirt fabric would show through and change the color of the print. Equipment and inks exist that allow digital printing on darks but we do not currently use them. It is our opinion that the quality and durability of the prints from these dark garment printers is not up to our standards. We have tried them all and found them all inferior to screenprinting on dark colored shirts.


  Copyright 1999, 2014 Arizona Cap Company, Scottsdale Arizona, USA  --  All Rights Reserved   Prescott, Arizona, USA                                    info@arizonacap.com