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Information About Digital Fabric Printing

Summary

Just like all other quilters, what I thought I knew about digitally printed fabric is that it would be more expensive.  But you need to hear "the rest of the story."

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Information About Digital Fabric Printing

In 2018, QT Fabrics went all digital under the leadership of Ken Gamache**. This occurred because high speed printers became industrialized for fabric.

Digital printing has benefits that Ken is quick to point out.

Information About Digital Fabric Printing

 

  • It allows designers to create more elaborate and detailed fabrics.
  • There is no limit to the colors or creations as compared to flatbed printing.
  • The repeat length, instead of 36", is unlimited.
  • Runs can be quite small (300 yards) as compared to flatbed printing (3,000 yards), so quilt shops can have a unique and custom limited run all to themselves.
  • Reprints would be more easily available if needed for popular fabrics.

 

In the case of digital printing, it is important to understand the environmental impact as well. More than a few quilters would be willing to pay a little more for digitally printed fabric if we understood this impact.

 

Digital printing offers a 75% reduction in the use of water. We all need to realize that this type of savings will have a long term impact on the fabric industry. Did you know that Wall Street started trading water futures as a commodity in Dec. 2020? Some people believe that this is a better way of managing scarce resources.

 

The fate of unused fabric is also an issue. Here are some landfill statistics easily found on the Internet:

  • It takes 2,700 liters of water to make one cotton shirt.
  • The average American throws away about 81 pounds of textiles each year.
  • It takes cotton about 5 months to decompose.
  • 84% of clothing ends up in landfills.
  • In 2017, EPA estimated that only 15.2% of textiles are recycled.

 

Digital printing might be a new wave for Quilt Shops and Quilt Guilds. Custom printing means that you can order special designs for special occasions. I can't wait to see what my Guild can order for our Ruby Anniversary Quilt Show!

 

*Image on cover photo is QT Fabrics Digital Mika Tossed Floral Turquoise

**To watch his video google "Digital Fabric Printing with Ken Gamache."

 

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