• Amy Cone

5 Things to know about custom hoodies

A QUICKSTART GUIDE

The Top 5 Things To Know Before Ordering Custom Hoodies


1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT KIND OF HOODIE

Not all hoodies are created equal. If you’re looking for the perfect hoodie to customize, there are a few important things to consider before placing an order: the style, the fabric, and the brand. Here’s a quick overview:


HOODIE STYLES


There are two main styles of hoodies to customize: one is a pullover, the other is a full-zip.

If you look around the web you can find quarter-zip hoodies, button-downs, side-zips, or feather fringes with remote-control LED lights, but these are rare and typically specific to a certain brand or designer.


The main distinction between the two main styles is how you put them on, and the names are self-explanatory:

These two main types make up the majority of hoodie orders at All-County Apparel.


Full-zip hoodies Pros: More fashion-forward, more versatile as far as ways to wear it, and the zipper can be used to control the temperature. Cons: Printing across the zipper is problematic, zippers can break, and on some brands can become wavy or bend outward.

Pullover hoodies Pros: Warmer, easy to print across the chest area, and even on the front of the pocket (more on print locations coming up). Cons: You can’t control your temperature like with the full-zip. You can either keep it on or take it off. Those are your choices.


HOODIE FABRICS


Similar to T-shirts, hoodies are made out of all kinds of fabric types and blends. There’s the soft, classic favorite 100% cotton. There’s the moisture-wicking performance and ever-increasing technological advancements of 100% polyester.  There are cotton/poly blends, and the best of all three worlds: tri-blends.

HOODIE BRANDS


Let’s just take a quick look at the main brands that we sell here at All-County Apparel and give you some basic info about the quality and price points:







These are the top three premium brands. They make the best, most well-designed, and fashion-forward styles on the market. If you get hoodies made by one of these three, you know you’re getting quality. New Era tends to be a higher price point while Bella+Canvas and Sport-Tek are more competitive and affordable.







Next up is the mid-range brands. Champion is a classic and the O.G. of this group as they were pioneers of hoodies in the 1930s. Alternative is like an affordable Bella+Canvas but their products are great, one of my favorites. Russell is a reliable go to brand, especially for your sports teams and athletic wear style hoodies.







Finally, let’s call these our standard brands. They are more affordable, but the quality is still good. You may not find quite as many fashion-forward options, but that is changing as the market gets more competitive. Hanes is the reliable and go-to brand you’re probably familiar with, Jerzees has been a market leader for a while now, and Gildan is our top seller and just massive.


HOODIES ALL-COUNTY APPAREL RECOMMENDS

Here are our recommendations from our catalog, in pullover and full-zip versions. We've broken them down into good, better, best. This is based on quality, and price point tends to follow – but not always. So check with a sales rep to figure out which one of these is best for you.


Click on the links below to go to their product pages. If the item you chose doesn’t come in the colors you want, we can always find something in our extended catalog that is close to what you’re looking for. Just give us a call or a chat on our website!


Pullover Hoodies

GOOD: JERZEES® - NuBlend® Pullover Hooded Sweatshirt - item # 996M BETTER: Champion - Double Dry Eco® Hooded Sweatshirt - item # S700 BEST: District ® Perfect Weight ® Fleece Hoodie - item # DT1101


Full Zip Hoodies

GOOD: Gildan Heavy Blend Zip-Up Hoodie – item # G186 BETTER: Hanes Ultimate Cotton Zip-up Hoodie – item # F280 BEST: Bella+Canvas Tri-blend Fleece Pullover Hoodie – item # 3909

2. HOW TO PRINT ON A HOODIE


This versatile garment has a variety of possible print locations and can accommodate various print methods, but it does come with some restrictions and potential issues. Like so many other things, the rule of thumb is keep it simple. Better still, keep it classy. First let’s looks at the print areas, then get into the methods and issues:



HOODIE PRINT AREAS

While hoodies offer all the print areas of a T-shirt and then some, there are some restrictions to be aware of. Below is a graphic showing the standard print locations along with a few common alternatives. Remember, this is a general guide. If you have any special requests or crazy ideas, we can most likely make it happen. Try us.


HOODIE PRINTING RESTRICTIONS

On zipper hoodies, printing across the front is a no-go. There are ways to do it but even if you get it right, there tends to be a gap or a globby ink deposit. No one wants that. The exception to this rule involves:

• Artwork created with a gap in mind for the zipper and measured to be in the center (spaced out letters, for example). • Hoodie style with something called a “kissing zipper” which has two thin flaps of material that cover the metal. • A printer who uses a special platen with a small valley built into it for the zipper to sit in and avoid the ink deposit.

On pullover hoodies, the restriction is a limited print height on the front, because of the pocket (if there is a pocket). Typically the maximum size will be 10″ high, but it will be less on smaller sized hoodies.

The other restriction is if you are printing on the pocket, the print area is a lot smaller than it looks.


HOODIE PRINT METHODS


-Screen Printing is the go-to method for most hoodie printing. This classic method is vibrant, durable, and pretty much everyone’s favorite. Another nice thing is you can print on dark fabrics no problem. And almost any type of fabric. The trade-off is that you pay per color, and set up charges can be high if you’re getting a small run. So keep the print simple.


-DTG or direct-to-garment is what to use when you’re doing a small run of hoodies, or need to have full color. The print quality is not quite as good as screen printing, and the colors aren’t quite as vibrant, but you can easily do a single piece with rainbows on it, which would be unaffordable using screen printing. Keep in mind you should go with 100% cotton for best results, and be careful about washing with hot water and strong detergents if you want it to last.


-Heat Transfer is the method to use if you want some shiny metallic foil business, or when you have a full-color design but can’t afford to pay for all the ink colors, and can’t use DTG because you have an odd print location. Keep in mind it creates a thin plastic coating on the surface of the fabric, eliminating breathability, and will eventually crack and chip– if you’re too hard on it or wash it too many times. It’s essentially a pressed sticker.


-Embroidery is the method to keep it classy or brand your hoodies for retail. Keep in mind that embroidery comes with backing on the opposite side of the fabric that can be bulky on thinner garments or slightly uncomfortable in areas of friction. So as always, keep your embroidery design small and simplified. The left chest is where a typical embroidered logo or design would go, but a couple of creative placement examples are the wrist or the edge of the hood.


3.order the right size hoodie


Now that you know what style to get and how you want to customize them, it’s time to figure out what size hoodies you should get. Generally speaking, hoodie sizes will match what you would typically wear in T-shirt sizes.


But as usual, there are exceptions; mostly to do with certain brands, styles, fit, and the differences between men’s and ladies’ cuts. Then you want to consider if personal style will come into play.


For example, some people want over-sized hoodies. Others may prefer them tight and form-fitting. This is why it’s important to know your end-user or target market. If you’re doing a group order for a team or your family, just ask around about what people prefer. Easy.


Think of it like this: there’s people’s actual size, and then there’s their preferred size.



When ordering online, the main thing to make sure to do is check the product specs to see if it matches with standard sizing, or compare styles. Also, take a look at the photos of the product on models, and compare them to other styles and brands. Look for areas that are baggy or tight– you may notice some major differences.


4. How to wear a hoodie


Hoodies are one of the most versatile garments in anyone’s closet.


Previously relegated to gyms, football games, and hip hop videos, the hoodie has become a staple item for all kinds of people, because of its everyday versatility– and increasingly, as a fashion mainstay.


Let’s look at the various ways to wear a hoodie:


HOODIES OUT ON THE TOWN

How about a hoodie with a blazer. It might seem like an odd juxtaposition, but somehow it works. It can be grouped with a trend called high-low fashion: the pairing of formal and casual.

The origins of this particular look are uniquely American– because of the hoodie.

Some articles trace it back to sports prep schools that produced legends like LeBron James, who then brought it into the NBA, and of course, it took off from there. I’d go with slacks or jeans– no sweatpants. Trousers? Sure.


HOODIES AT WORK

At some point in the early ’90s, business and casual looks joined forces to become business casual. Hawaiian shirt Friday was somehow involved. It seems like it’s been around longer, right? Nope.


It took off around the time that Silicon Valley’s start-up culture spread across the country. With that came the laid back look of the corporate hoodie. Thanks to Zuckerberg, the hoodie is a billionaire’s look.


If a hoodie and T-shirt is too casual for your office, go with the hoodie and dress shirt combo!


CASUAL HOODIE COMBOS

Layering your hoodie under a jacket is the most popular combo– and for good reason. It’s comfortable, works to keep you warm, and works as a look. Most of the time.

Leather and denim jackets tend to look best with hoodies. Bomber jackets and varsity jackets also look great, along with rugged work jackets, or even a wool trench coat.

It comes down to personal style and your ability to mix and match layers that make sense. Try some combos in front of a mirror– or ask a trusted (and stylish) friend.


5. How to fold a hoodie


Saving space is all the rage these days, and everyone is looking for ways to manage their drawers and storage space. Hoodies are not the easiest thing to fold, and they end up being awkward and bulky.


My advice is to just hang them in your closet. Easy access, and takes up less space than in a drawer.


That’s how you fold a hoodie: hang it up!


Sure, there are times when you do need to fold it, like packing for a trip or putting away winter clothes. Here’s how to do it.


THE NEAT AND TIDY WAY TO FOLD A HOODIE

This is not exactly Marie Kondo, but it’s close. And it will spark joy. Zip it up(if there's a zipper) and lay it flat then start by folding along parallel lines on the sides. Fold the arms so they point straight down, then the hood down, then the bottom up and over. DONE.



There you have it. Our work is done here. Hope you found it useful and mildly entertaining. Time for us here at All-County Apparel to kick back and get cozy with our favorite hoodies!


Happy designing!

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