Heat pressing workwear (copy)

Heat pressing workwear

There is an ever-expanding market for workwear and for decorating it. In the past, it were mainly the labour-intensive industries that required heavy-duty clothes. Today, many offices, medical facilities and desk jobs make use of workwear to, for example, make it possible to distinguish staff members from the public or to advertise their specific services via branding. In this article, Sean Savitch will offer tips on heat pressing workwear.

Workwear comes in all different varieties. Some examples in the market today are industrial workwear (coveralls, jackets, pants and gloves), medical workwear (scrubs, gowns, bed sheets and PPE), workwear for public services (PD, FD, EMS and airlines), workwear for restaurants and hotels (uniforms, bed sheets and apparel), school uniforms and workwear for delivery services and repair services such as plumbers and technicians.

It has become increasingly important that workwear is branded to indicate professionalism in the industrial and corporate market. At the same time, many new types of fabric, such as lightweight and adaptable fabrics, are created for use in various work environments. As a result, the testing of transfers has become crucial to be able to serve your customers.

Branding industrial workwear apparel with heat transfers has an unexpected learning curve. In comparison to fusing heat transfers on mainstream cotton, polyester or blended garments, there are many more things to be taken into account when applying heat transfers to work garments. Industrial workwear garments tend to be of thicker material and generally have a coarser texture that can be a challenge when fusing heat transfers.


Knowing the limitations of the heat transfers that your company produces or purchases is key. Workwear is typically made for heavy usage, is subject to constant wear and tear and is frequently washed. If you are not sure of your transfer’s durability, you will have to test it. Ten high-temperature wash tests should do the trick. Make sure that the water temperature is at least 60 °C and that the wash duration is longer than an hour and a half. Between each of the ten washes, dry in a dryer for an hour at the hottest setting. After ten cycles of washing and drying, you should have found the answer to whether or not your transfer product is durable enough to be used for industrial workwear.

Workwear material

Knowledge of the material content and whether the industrial apparel has a coating or treatment is crucial. If the garment is of dark material and made up of more than 50% polyester, consider using a transfer product that is capable of blocking dye from migrating through the transfer once applied. Waterproof and fire-retardant coatings are used quite often in the manufacturing of industrial apparel. It is important to take into account that the adhesion of the heat transfer might be lessened due to the coating when applying a transfer.


Always test for proper adhesion. One down-and-dirty way of doing this is the scratch and pick test. Apply the transfer to the garment and let it sit for a minimum of 24 hours. When time is up, the first step is to try and get your fingernail under the edge of the applied transfer and to start picking at it to try and peel the transfer off. The harder it is to pick off the transfer, the more durable it is.

With today’s wide variety of fabrics available and new material technologies being introduced regularly, the name of the game is testing. When choosing a transfer product or dialing in a heat press application protocol, testing should be done and recorded every time a new material or fabric is introduced to your shop.

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Stitch & Print International appears four times a year. In addition free digital EMagazines and newsletters are published. The trade journal is written for professional embroiderers, textile printers (screen printers and digital printers) and garment decorators.

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Stitch & Print International appears four times a year in print. In addition free digital EMagazines and newsletters are published.

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