Do you coordinate matching pajamas for your family to wear on Christmas morning? I didn't grow up with this tradition but it has been fun to start it with my family. When the girls were little, it was easy to pick out coordinating PJs, but now that they are a little older, everyone has an opinion on what to wear! Their number one request, it has to be comfortable. No itchy material or tight pants! I'm so excited to have teamed up with Alternative Apparel to share with you some of the softest, most comfortable shirts and sweatpant blanks that are perfect for screen printing those matching PJs.
Choosing the Softest T-shirt and Sweatpants Blanks for Screen Printing
Part of the challenge in screen printing matching PJs for the family is finding blanks that come in the variety of sizes that you need. I love the look of the ringer t-shirt and was excited to find the Alternative Keeper Vintage Jersey Ringer T-Shirt in Youth and Adult Sizes. I paired the ringer style shirt with the Alternative Hustle Eco-Fleece Open Bottom Sweatpants which come in a matching youth style called the Alternative Dodgeball Eco-Fleece Pants.
Here are the shirts and sweatpants that I used, available on Amazon:
- Youth Alternative Ringer T-shirt
- Adult Alternative Ringer T-shirt
- Youth Alternative Dodgeball Eco-Fleece Pants
- Adult Hustle Eco-Fleece Open Bottom Sweatpants
Screen Printing Personalized Pajamas
I love the way that screen printed shirts feel compared to heat transfer vinyl. The ink soaks into the shirts and you can barely feel the design. When you pick a soft-feel shirt like these from Alternative, you don't want to lose the softness with a HTV design. This is why I choose screen printing – even if I'm just making one shirt. But, the beauty of screen printing comes when you can take that screen and print multiple shirts. One cut of vinyl and one design to weed. It can save you tons of time (and vinyl). Want to learn more about this screen printing method, start with my Complete Guide to Screen Printing with Craft Vinyl ebook.
After deciding on the Daddy, Mama, Sister bear theme for our family PJs, I realized it was going to mean 3 different cut files. At least I could use the same screen for the 2 sister shirts I needed, but still, that is a lot of work for 4 shirts. I'm always looking for tricks and shortcuts to make this process even better. So, I tried something… something a little crazy. A professional screen printer is probably thinking I'm crazy for even sharing this. But, it worked… and I made 4 shirts for my family in less than 15 minutes… and only had to wash my screen once! Since this is something I would totally do again, I wanted to share it with you.
My Shortcut for Personalizing Screen Printing with Names
- I created 2 cut files in Design Space. One had the names sized to fit inside the bear. The other had the bear – along with my dot to help line up and center my design on the shirts. Learn about the dot trick here. It looked like this:
- Cut both of these mats on Oracal 651 vinyl. I turned ON the mirror cut option for the bear, but NOT for the names. You'll see why in the next steps.
- Attach the bear vinyl to your Speedball screen.
- Use the screen to determine the placement of each name on the respective shirts.
- Remove the backing paper from the vinyl and stick the vinyl name directly on the shirt. Yep, you heard that right. The vinyl name is attached directly to the shirt!
- Screen print the bear design over the vinyl on your shirts.
- Allow the ink to dry. I was a little impatient and it got ink on my hands. The longer you can wait, the less mess you will make!
- Peel off the vinyl letters! Tada, you are left with a personalized bear for each shirt.
I hope this inspires you to go grab some super soft Alternative t-shirts and sweatpants to make your own Christmas PJs for your family this year! Just a little over a week and we'll be putting these on, waiting to see if Santa stops by our house.