Apparel Finishing Services

Cotton Lab Retail Ready Screen Printing

What are Finishings?

Apparel finishing services are additional decorations or modifications to your order for the purposes of private labeling or packaging. Private labeling your products can result in a customer viewing your brand as more custom or high-end. This can be a fun optional addition to merchandising projects, large family gatherings, promotional products, etc., but it is almost mandatory for industries such as clothing and lifestyle brands. There are some exceptions to the clothing brand rule, such as if you are printing on popular branded blanks such as Comfort Colors, Shaka Wear, and other streetwear-friendly brands. In most cases, however, you don’t want to make it apparent to your customers that you are re-labeling mass manufactured blanks.

What are Printed Tags?

Printed tags are the most common way to brand your tees. Printed tags are screen printed the same way you’d screen print any other location. Our tags must be a single color, so we usually recommend using gray ink depending on the color of the shirt. Black, white, and custom colored inks are also common. Printed tags are meant to be soft and subtle but still add that custom look and feel.

A close look at a screen printed tag for Famous Monsters of Filmland.
A screen printed tag for Brand Of Sacrifice.

When should I choose printed tags?

Printed tags aren’t entirely necessary if you are just selling your product as merchandise, or for promotional reasons. They can definitely be an added feature when doing so, however they are primarily reserved for private labeling, in the case that you are a clothing brand, or private company selling the product as your own.

What information needs to go on printed tags?

There is legally required information for printed tags such as: fabric type (ex. 100% Cotton), country of origin (ex. Made in Honduras), and your company’s logo or the company responsible for marketing or handling the product. You also need to be sure to include the size of the garment as well as any specific wash instructions.

A screen printed tag for Brand Of Sacrifice.
A look at a printed tag for Bell's Brewing

What garments are best for printed tags?

We need to remove the manufacturer’s label after printing, so it is best to choose shirts with tear-away labels. Non tear-away labels can still be removed, but there may be additional costs. Printed tags are our go-to on all garment types except fleece. If your order has fleece garments (typically sweatshirts), we can apply heat pressed tags instead to keep the tag clean and readable.

What are Hem Tags?

Hem tags (or woven labels) are fabric labels with your design woven into them or printed on them. They can come in many different sizes, colors, and shapes, and can be sewn on in a number of ways in a number of different places. We like to keep them as simple as possible unless requested otherwise, so generally speaking they are applied in the neck, around the bottom hem, or around the sleeve. Woven labels are a good high-end way to brand your product. Usually, you will want to use brand colors and have your logo on one side, and include your URL or company name on the other side. You can also use hem tags to display the size of the product, fabric type, and any other important information you may not disclose in the tag.

Cotton Lab Retail Ready Screen Printing Hem Tags
Cotton Lab Retail Ready Screen Printing Hem Tags

When should I choose hem tags?

You typically want to choose hem tags if you are working with a higher budget and want to present a very high quality product. They also add time to production as they need to be manufactured and sewn on, so they are not ideal for tight turnarounds or events.

Cotton Lab Retail Ready Screen Printing Hem Tags
A close up look at some of our Hem Tags before applied to garments

What are the different choices for hem tags?

With hem tags, the main differentiators are the different decoration types, size, and folds. The main decoration type we recommend is a woven label, this is where your design is woven into the label using colored thread. One of the more common alternatives is a printed hem tag, and this is where the design is actually digitally printed onto the hem tag for us to sew on the garment. This is usually not recommended as it can be generally seen as a lower quality product and may not have as much durability. Hem tags come in many different sizes and shapes, we usually recommend tall and narrow, or square for neck seams, bottom hems and sleeves. However, you can also go wide and short for neck seams.

How do I choose the fold and how they are sewn on?

The shape and fold of the hem tag generally determines the best way to sew it on. Most commonly, they are sewn once across the top, but you may also see them sewn once on either side or around all four sides. The most common and general purpose fold for a hem tag is a book fold, this is where the hem tag has a small fold on either end to ensure it has a clean finish. Other common folds are a Manhattan fold, where it is only folded on one end (good for sewing on the seam), or no fold (good for sewing inside a seam). Sewing on the seam can be more cost effective in the case of a neck seam vs. sewing in the seam as we need to open up the stitchting, place the label inside, and sew it shut. Sewing in the seam results in a higher end look but comes with added costs. When sewing on sleeves or bottom hems, you don’t need to worry about this as much as it will always be wrapped around the garment and not need to be placed in any seams.

What are hang tags?

Hang tags are typically a paper stock, plastic, or cardboard tag attached to the garment with a plastic binder, safety pin or other method for the purpose of private labeling or advertising your website, sales, or product features. We typically recommend, if you are able, to manufacture your own. We can attach them for you for a small fee. We can also work with you to help aid you in designing and manufacturing your hang tags. 

Image of a blank hang tag on a grey polo.

What should I put on my hang tags?

You will typically want your company logo and website displayed prominently on your hang tags. You can also include specific product information on them, or use a sticker in order to do so. Such information would include garment type, color, size, and price. You can also display promotional information like upcoming events, sales, or anything else not specific to the actual product. Some people like to include additional promotion items as hang tags such as stickers. 

A hang tag with "100% Organic cotton" printed on it.
A blank black hang tag, held up by twill rope.

Where should I place my hang tags?

The location of a hang tag depends on the garment however the most common locations include in the seam of the armpit or the seam of the collar. Ideally, you would want to place the hang tag in the seam so that the hole from how it was attached does not ruin the garment. 

What does fold & bag mean?

Our fold & bag service is that final touch to give your brand a polished look, as well as making your garments easier to organize and handle while still keeping that crisp fold intact. Each garment is neatly folded and carefully placed into a clear polybag. Each item is identified with a size sticker for an easy visual before getting packed away. Fold only is also an option for garments you’d like to bag yourself, especially if you have custom items or other goodies like stickers going out with your tees. 

A pile of Syndicate garments folded and in poly bags.
A stack of Syndicate garments hand folded in a neat pile.

When should I choose fold & bag or fold only?

Fold only or fold & bag is a service you would want to use if you are selling your product online and want to easily be able to pick and pack orders. We give the option for fold only in case you want to save a little on cost or have your own bags you’d like to use as orders are fulfilled.

A stack of various t-shirts nicely folded on a table
A stack of "Famous Monsters of Filmland" shirts folded and sitting on a white background.

Can all garments be folded the same?

The size of the fold will depend on the garment, some garments also can not be folded by machine and there may be an added cost if so. Please ask if you are supplying a garment and aren’t sure if it can be folded properly or if you have any questions or concerns.