Revolutionize Your Designs: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect DTG Printing Shirts

Choosing the Perfect DTG Printing Shirts

In the world of DTG printing, the choice of shirts plays a pivotal role in achieving vibrant, long-lasting designs. Understanding the nuances of fabric, pre-treatment, and maintenance is essential for a successful printing experience.


Direct-to-garment, or DTG, printing has completely changed the custom clothing market. With this method, designs are digitally printed into fabric, providing unmatched color vibrancy and detail. Even though technology is important, the final product’s quality and durability are greatly influenced by the clothes utilized.

Understanding DTG Printing

Water-based inks are printed directly into the fabric using DTG printing technology, which makes use of specialist inkjet printers. For prints with multiple colors and detailed designs, this technique works nicely. Like every printing method, there are specific considerations to be made too.

Factors to Consider for DTG Printing

The composition of the cloth is essential to the success of DTG printing. Cotton’s smooth surface and elasticity make it an excellent option. It makes it possible for the ink to stick well, producing prints with lots of color. Textiles with a smooth texture and light colors work best to display DTG prints. Stay clear of complex textures that might affect the clarity of your print. How effectively the garment absorbs and holds the ink depends on its weight and thickness. Achieve a balance between a thick cloth and one that preserves print quality.

Best Fabrics for DTG Printing

Cotton’s natural properties make it the preferred fabric for DTG printing services. Its absorbent nature ensures the ink penetrates the fibers, creating a lasting print. Some fabric blends work well with DTG printing, offering a combination of durability and print vibrancy. Ensure the blend is compatible with the printing process. Fabrics with special finishes or coatings may hinder ink absorption. Opt for untreated fabrics to ensure optimal printing results.

Types of Pre-Treatment Methods

A common method involves spraying a pre-treatment solution onto the fabric. This event application sets the stage for high-quality prints. Some prefer using a heat press to apply pre-treatment. This method ensures even coverage and prepares the fabric for optimal ink absorption. Investing time and effort in pre-treatment significantly impacts the final print quality. Attention to detail in this stage contributes to vibrant, long-lasting designs.

Top Brands for DTG Printing Shirts

When it comes to choosing shirts for DTG printing, opting for reputable brands ensures a reliable and consistent printing experience. Known for its quality cotton shirts, Hanes offers a range of options suitable for DTG printing. A favorite among many DTG enthusiasts, Bella+Canvas provides shirts with a smooth surface, ideal for intricate designs.

Quality and Durability as Key Factors

Prioritize brands that focus on quality and durability. Well-constructed shirts not only enhance the printing process but also ensure the longevity of the printed design.

Washing and Care Instructions

Preserve the design by turning the shirt inside out before washing. This protects the printed surface from friction. Harsh detergents can fade prints. Opt for mild, color-safe detergents to prolong the vibrancy of the design. High-temperature washing and drying can compromise the print. Use a gentle cycle and low-heat drying to extend the life of the design. Proper storage prevents unnecessary wear. Fold DTG-printed shirts instead of hanging them to avoid stretching. As environmental consciousness grows, considering the ecological impact of DTG printing choices becomes crucial.

DTG Printing vs. Other Printing Methods

Comparing DTG printing to traditional methods provides clarity on its unique advantages. DTG excels in printing intricate designs with multiple colors, surpassing the limitations of screen printing. NW Custom Apparel, DTG printing is ideal for small batches, offering cost-effectiveness and flexibility compared to heat transfer methods.

Unique Advantages of DTG Printing

The digital nature of DTG printing allows for photorealistic prints, capturing intricate details with precision.DTG printing enables a quick turnaround, making it suitable for on-demand printing and tight deadlines.

The world of DTG printing is dynamic, with evolving styles, designs, and innovative approaches. Watercolor-inspired designs gain popularity, showcasing the versatility of DTG printing in creating artistic and nuanced prints. Exploring textured effects on shirts adds a tactile dimension to DTG prints, elevating the visual appeal. Stay informed about emerging trends and innovative approaches within the DTG printing industry. Experimenting with new techniques keeps designs fresh and captivating.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Navigating the world of DTG printing involves learning from common mistakes to ensure a seamless experience. Overlooking the importance of fabric composition can result in subpar prints. Always prioritize fabrics compatible with DTG printing. Skipping or inadequately performing pre-treatment compromises the print’s quality and longevity. Learn from the experiences of others in the DTG printing community. Insights into challenges and solutions contribute to a smoother printing journey.


Choosing the best shirts for DTG printing involves careful consideration of fabric, pre-treatment, and long-term maintenance. Whether you’re a business looking for quality branding or an individual pursuing custom designs, informed choices lead to exceptional results.

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Antonio Massey

Production Team: Folder

Antonio Massey recently joined NWCA in June of 2022. His role on the Production Team has greatly improved our processes and productivity. Antonio is always willing to lift heavy boxes or help his co-workers during busy times. In his free time, he enjoys playing with his dog and mastering video games.


Alicia Wada

Shipping Clerk

Alicia Wada is passionate about helping her co-workers at Northwest Custom Apparel in any way that she can. She works in our Shipping and Logistics department. Alicia, who goes by Ali, has a bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics. She lived in Japan for ten years and recently brought her family to America in 2019. She is interested in learning crafts and textile art from around the world.


Erik Mickelson


Erik Mickelson’s position as Manager is more than a job, it’s a passion. It’s always fun and exciting because he enjoys marketing, computers, and coming up with innovative ideas to help NWCA grow. He majored in accounting and finance at Washington State University, graduating in 1996, and returned to school to obtain his Master of Business from WGU, graduating in 2016. Erik continually strives to advance his education through podcasts, audiobooks, and industry tradeshows. He is married to a remarkable and caring wife named Wendy, a Registered Nurse, with whom he shares his many hobbies and a love for the outdoors.



Ruth Nhoung

Production Manager

Ruth Nhoung is our Production Manager and Northwest Custom Apparel is lucky to have her. Thanks to her vast knowledge of machine embroidery and dedication to creating a comfortable and supportive work environment, the production plant runs smoothly and customers are pleased with our work. She is a loving mother and grandmother and enjoys spending quality time with her siblings. She says, “I love everything about Northwest Custom Apparel: the people, the atmosphere, the work, and the customers. I love what I do and I embrace all of NWCA’s core values”.


Steve Deland

Art Director

Steve Deland has been our amazing Artist since 2017. He loves working at Northwest Custom Apparel because he appreciates the goal-oriented, progressive-thinking management style. He is most passionate about his art, which includes scroll saw woodwork, and his five grandchildren.



Taylar Hanson


Taylar Hanson is a highly acclaimed Saleswoman at Northwest Custom Apparel. She has a BA in Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles from Washington State University. “Go Cougs!” The best part of Taylar’s job is getting to work with longtime customers who trust us to do the best work and take care of their needs. She is passionate about appreciating nature, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.


Nika Lao


Nika Lao is very knowledgeable in how the business is ran because she began as an Embroidery Machine Operator and has worked hard to become the excellent and personable saleswoman she is today. She enjoys the stress-free environment and the many chances to connect with her co-workers over potlucks, BBQs, and bowling parties. Nika is a proud sister of two highly successful brothers and can boast mastering three languages herself: Khmer, Thai, and English. She is an avid camper, enjoys going to farmer markets, and loves cooking.


Bradley Wright


Bradley Wright has been a vital team member of NWCA since 2017. As our accountant and knower-of-all-things, Bradley is proud to work closely with his wonderful colleagues. He studied at the University of Washington. These days he dedicates his free time to his new house.


Dominic Nguyen

DTG Operator

Dominic Nguyen recently joined our Direct-To-Garment department. He says he loves the family work environment at Northwest Custom Apparel. In his free time, Dom likes to listen to music, hangout with friends, and play video games. He comes from a very big family which can be very chaotic at times, but is always exciting.


Sothea Tann

Production Team: Trimmer

Sothea Tann recently joined the Production Team in 2022. She finds Northwest Custom Apparel to be a good working environment with helpful and friendly staff. In her free time, Sothea spends quality time with her family and, overall, focuses on a peaceful and happy lifestyle.


Brian Beardsley

DTG Supervisor

Brian Beardsley has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 2018. He is our DTG Supervisor. Brian loves that he gets to work with high-tech machines in a fun atmosphere. He has a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. He said, “I always wanted to create visually interesting assets in a variety of mediums”. In his free time, he enjoys building and painting models, playing video games, designing, and playing his guitar.


UT Tri Tran

Embroidery Machine Operator

UT Tri Tran loves Northwest Custom Apparel so much that, although she has already retired after a long career in machine embroidery operations, she is happy to return part time. She says, “I love the family style work environment and how everyone shares food, laughter, and fun on a regular basis.” In her free time she is dedicated to living a healthy and peaceful lifestyle with her friends and family.



Embroidery Machine Operator

BunsereytheavyHoeu, who goes by Theavy, won our Operator of the Year in 2021. She takes on many roles in the production team. She says, “These are not my co-workers, these are my family! I cherish all the memories we make together”. When she goes home to be with her family, she makes the most of her time with them by holding family get-togethers and even karaoke competitions.


Sreynai Meang

Embroidery Machine Operator

SreynaiMeang is a hard-working Machine Operator. She is most passionate about helping people. Sreynai, who goes by Nai, likes to exercise in her free time and talk with her family in Cambodia.


Kanha Chhorn

Embroidery Machine Operator

Kanha Chhorn has been an Embroidery Operator with Northwest Custom Apparel since 2018. She is delightful and always makes everyone smile and laugh. Kanha takes on additional tasks that allow us to exceed our customers’ expectations. In her free time, she can be found at her local temple or spending quality time with her family and friends.


Savy Som

Embroidery Machine Operator

SavySom is one of our Machine Operators who is passionate about embroidery and sewing. She enjoys working at NWCA because of its flexibility. She has two teenage sons and loves spending time with her family on the weekends.



Embroidery Machine Operator

SorphornSorm has been a Machine Operator since 2011. One of her four sisters works here as well. Her other relatives are in Cambodia. In her free time, Sorphorn studies English, listens to music, and enjoys exercising.


Jim Mickelson


Jim Mickelson, after a successful career with a major oil company, founded Northwest Embroidery in 1977. This was the first commercial embroidery in the Pacific Northwest. Over the years, Jim has become the guru of embroidery never refusing to answer a question or offer advice to his fellow embroiders. Jim and his wife Leeanna raised four wonderful children who went on to successful business careers.

Northwest Custom Apparel
Northwest Custom Apparel
163 Google reviews
Steve McMains
Steve McMains
Great place to do business with.
Hector Aponte
Hector Aponte
Splendid service by this team. I needed a job done in one day and without hesitation I was helped. Besides the no notice, need now accommodation, the overall quality of the job of superb.
anthony mckenna
anthony mckenna
Amazing service and quality of work.
katie latimer
katie latimer
This small business is excellent! Great turnaround times and pricing. We've completely switched over to them for our uniform needs. The embroidery looks amazing and very professional. We have gotten jackets, vests, safety vests, hats and uniform polo shirts with them. The screen prints are very resistant to numerous washes. They have been super flexible and patient with us and going through getting PO set up with our company.
Dave Lambing
Dave Lambing
I am the Quartermaster for the Tacoma Fire Buff Battalion. We use Northwest Custom Apparel to produce our uniform articles. Their work is always perfect and done is record time. I can't recommend them highly enough.
Kyle Keehnel
Kyle Keehnel
Our company has been going to NWCA for years and have always encountered friendly service and quality products.
Smokey B3ar21
Smokey B3ar21
Super friendly staff , wonderful products for our company and couldn’t be happier with them
Chuck Schilling
Chuck Schilling
Working with NWCA was like hitting the EASY button! Ten days from our initial meeting to completed shirts and we couldn't be more pleased.
Bret Lauritzen
Bret Lauritzen
Prompt service
Cassandra Johnson
Cassandra Johnson
Words can't describe how much I appreciate the outstanding customer service I received from Northwest Custom Apparel! I placed an order for two coats that I needed in one week for a Valentines' day gift and Nika made it happen! She was proactive, quickly responsive, and understanding of me needing to see different looks of our company logo. She was incredibly sweet, accommodating, and made every effort to make my order the way I wanted it. A part of me felt bad asking to see the different looks, but she reassured me it was not a problem and was on top of her game! Every staff member I interacted with when I came to their shop was very pleasant, welcoming, and attentive as well. All around great work! Will absolutely use them again and highly recommend!!! Thank you Northwest Custom Apparel!!!