Saturday, May 17, 2008

Getting custom-printed shirts on Etsy

I have always coveted so many of the cool screen-printed T-shirts I see on Etsy, but I was always sad and frustrated that most of them were not available in my size. I'm not even that unusual of a size, I wear an XL in most bricks&mortar stores. But the blank shirts used by most Etsy screen-printers are either American Apparel, or Alternative Apparel, and unfortunately both of these companies have strange sizing and their largest sizes (in women's shirts) are still too small. American Apparel, for example, goes up to XXL but it's equivalent to a L in normal sizes. I could always buy the men's shirts, but they aren't really a flattering cut on me. So I have gazed longingly at the cute T-shirts, like a little hungry orphan with her nosed pressed against the candy store window. (only, not that little. hence my problem!)

So recently I decided to contact some Etsy sellers and ask if they would print their awesomely cool designs on blank shirts I supplied. It's not difficult to find shirts that fit me in stores like Target or Old Navy. I know these are probably sweatshop made, but what can you do when all the "socially conscious" brands don't even acknowledge that women exist over a size 12?
Anyway, the sellers all said yes! And I had lots of blank shirts already in my wardrobe, so then I had to decide which designs to get printed on which color of shirt. I was now like the little kid inside the candy store, overwhelmed with all the appealing choices. In the end I ordered eight shirts from four different sellers. They all came out fabulous and it makes me wish I'd done this a year ago!

Behold my new summer wardrobe of cool shirts!:
These two are from SalmonStreetStudio

These three are from Ahpeele. Several of them have a design that wraps around to the back, which is very cool.

These two are from CircularAccessories

I also got this design on a black V-neck, from Satisfactory. This photo isn't my shirt, I just didn't get around to photographing that one.

So I am super happy with all the shirts and I can't recommend these shops highly enough. They were all very friendly to work with. If you also wear a larger size and feel frustrated or left out because you can't buy the cute shirts on Etsy, just try asking them about this option to supply your own shirt. It does take a bit more effort and you have to think about colors and style, so it's not as spontaneous as just buying "off the virtual rack". But it's totally worth it when you see the results.


~B.Z. said...

Those are all very nice Eclipse :D

eclipse said...

I might have went *just a bit* overboard getting 8 shirts, but I was so excited to finally have the opportunity to get ANY. So I was like, I want that one, and that one, and that one, and...

fluffnflowers said...

That's a great idea! You got the prints you wanted on shirts that you can trust. Even better is that they look great! :)

Angie said...

I'm right there with you on finding a tee that fits a "normal-sized" person! My husband always wants to order me cute tees online, and it ends up that I can fit one arm and 1 boob in it even if it's an XL. This is a great idea and I may just have to follow your lead.

Salmon Street Studio said...

We are SO glad you are happy with them, and that we are in the fine company of those other printers, especially Circular Accessories.

Thanks for the kind words,

radcow said...

oh, man...Thats a great Idea! I have the same problem as you, and never thought to offer up my own shirt. Genius!

eclipse said...

Oh I should have added, that anyone who wants to try this method of supplying your own shirt should look for 100% cotton T-shirts. All of the sellers preferred using 100% cotton. I did sneak in a few that were 95% cotton and 5% spandex, and those came out fine too. (the olive green top with 3/4 sleeves for example)
But I wouldn't recommend using any blend with less than 95% cotton. There is some heat-setting process for the ink and it might melt a shirt with too much synthetic.

eclipse said...

Angie, I agree 100%! I don't really know why certain brands do this bizarre sizing that excludes so many women. Even my skinny friends who can fit in American Apparel are not pleased when they have to buy a "L". They usually wear a S in every other brand. It's like the opposite of vanity sizing, it's sizing that makes everyone feel lousy!

I could probably squeeze into the AA XXL but it would be stretched really tight over my boobs, and then the screen printed design gets ruined and kind of torn apart between the ribbing. I hate seen a printed design turn all "stripey" when it gets stretched so far it separates between the ribbing of the fabric.

Sara said...

I have the same problem. I am a size 10/12 and have to resort to buying 2XL (if they are even available)which are often too long and big in the shoulders. I am a screen printer and have yet to find a nice women's shirt to buy wholesale. I am starting to try my hand at sewing my own shirts in the normal sizes I think they should be.Once I have it down, I will be printing them and selling them on etsy. Keep an eye out in the next couple of months.

eclipse said...

Ooh I will watch for you sara! Sewing your own shirts is a cool option but it's hard to match the quantities of wholesale shirts.

bastet2329 said...

That is a great idea!

i am a XXl mostly and there are so many tees i wanted but never bought becuase they do not have my size.

Girls with curves need love too!

as for my dolls (i sa your comment).

yes, i sell on my site and i am back on ebay (sold 2 dolls in 3 days which is way more and faster than i ever sold on etsy with no doll category!) id bastet2329.

i would totally ask sellers on etsy about the shirts but i deleted my account. whoops.

eclipse said...

Bookmarking your site Bastet!
It's such a drag Etsy is being stubborn and stupid about your category. They have lost a very cool artist. I hope you have continued success at the other places you sell.

Girls with curves DO need love and we also need T-shirts!!
And chocolate. And vodka. And shiny things.

eclipse said...

oh and if you want to custom order shirts from any of the sellers I used, I could give you their email addy and you could probably order it without using Etsy as the venue. ;)