Friday, April 3, 2009

Shirts, Shirts and More Shirts

I had told you that we had a very busy weekend making shirts. This is the 6th year that I have had the Special Olympics job. We have a community called McCalls Community about three miles from town, built out in the woods and it has about 10 different cottages for the Special Needs adults here in southern Oklahoma. They go to the Special Olympics every year and I have been blessed to do those shirts again this year.

This year we had 345 shirts............Whew!!!!!!!! I do the design and email it off to a company in Kansas and they create the design on transfer paper and send it back to me in about 8 days. I have been using this company for many years now. I used to have my own screen printing equipment and would direct screen print right on to the shirt..... It takes up a lot of space and it is messy and requires a lot of clean up. So a few years ago I sold all the equipment and went with the company in Kansas and now they have all the mess and clean up and I just have to have a heat press.

I count and sort the shirts into sizes for my sweet husband and good looking son Chris, and then when the shirt is finished I fold and mark it off the list. It is a good production line. We started on Friday afternoon and worked for 4 hours and then worked another 8 hours on Saturday and then another 4 hours on Sunday.

Thought you might like to see what my shop looked like all weekend.

Chris is standing at the heat press. It runs at 375 degrees and is very high pressure. I am not able to use the press any more because of my back. So the guys do this part of the job. This design is cold peel which mean that the design has to cool before you take the transfer paper off. Some designs are hot peel and the paper has to come off right now........... so without going into detail, this one is cold peel and after Chris takes it off the press, Dennis uses my lint brush to smooth it down for about 30 seconds and then he removed the paper. I was standing on the other side of the counter ready to take the shirt and fold it.

This is Chris pressing a shirt. It stays in the press about 15 seconds. That "lid" is very hard to close thus, they will not let me near it. They are the good guys.

Chris has the responsibility of getting that design straight on the front of that shirt. I you were standing here you would see that the design is visible through that paper. Thus he knows just how far down from the front of the collar that the top of that design should go, rule of thumb is four fingers, so it takes him several seconds to place the design.

You can just barley see the "orange" through that paper.

This is kind of hard on the back for these tall guys, my sweet hubby was "bent over" like that for three days.... He had a bit of a back ache for a couple of days following.

They are a hoot, and the camaraderie is the fun part of this job. I listened as they talked about every thing under the sun.
(look at the pile of shirts at the end of the table, and that was after about 8 hours of work)

AND 125 of these shirts had the name on the sleeve, (I forgot to take a picture of that) so in actual fact there were 470 shirts to press....... So glad we are finished! (I think the guys are too!)

Don't know where Dennis was with this shot, Chris is cooling off the design before peeling the paper.

Here is the design up close. I hate that the color of the shirt looks so dark, but the shirt is a military green. They wanted the "M*A*S*H look this year. They were really pretty.
The silver color is called "Silver Shimmer" and it has a bit of a sparkle to it when the light or the sun hits it. Gave it a "dog tag" look. The orange is a very bright orange..... It sure looked good on that green shirt!

Look at that face............... A job well done...... Now it goes to me and I fold it and mark it from the list. (the heat mark you see here will be gone by the time I fold the shirt)

Shirts were delivered on Monday morning and they were thrilled. Another year behind us and I spent all day Monday and Tuesday cleaning up my shop.

There is a good profit in screen print shirts and I have been designing and printing since 1994. Chris started helping a few years ago to make extra money and he is thinking of taking the business over completely. I want to quit and make my dolls and other primitive items but just do not have the time with all the other jobs. I have given him till the end of the year to decide and then I am going to close the doors. I think he will do this, the only hard thing is learning the graphics. I use Corel x3 and am fixing to upgrade to Corel 14. I have been using Corel since 1991 and started with Corel 3. I have been approached several times to teach Corel here in town but I have declined. I have enough on my plate. It is a wonderful graphics program but hard to learn.

BUT He is a smart kid and he could really make good money part time.
We have another job next weekend but it is only 65 shirts but it is front and back so we call it a 130 shirt job.

Without telling all, this was a lot of work but the profit is WELL worth it. !

Hope you enjoy the pictures.............

I am up and going to work in the shop.......... I have shirts to do.................Ha!


D said...

Thanks for sharing the process! I love it!! The shirt design is great. I'm going to show this post to my girls -- very educational! ;)

Donetta said...

Wow that is so cool to see.

Shirley said...

Great post, Denise. I like seeing what you do . . . and this post made me feel almost like I was right there. I think it is so, so good that your husband and son help you like that . . . that's called togetherness and love. God has given you a good family. I agree . . . that was a really big job . . . but the three of you did it very well.

Hugs to you, my friend.

Denise said...

This was a great post my friend.

Daria said...

Yes very cool ... the pictures are wonderful because you can see the process.

Love Bears All Things said...

Those guys need that work table elevated. I have the same problem when cutting material. I used to use my counter top in the Memphis house and my neck hurt so that after a day of cutting I took muscle relaxers. Here I'm thinking of buying some of those bed risers to lift my table up to a comfortable height. If it is too low, my back suffers.
You've been busy. I like the design.
Mama Bear

Diane said...

What a huge project. I have no doubt that the three of you will accomplish it in record time. But what a job. It makes me tired to think about it!!

Annette said...

Wish I was there with all of you....I'd help fold, right beside you, and we chit chat about Jesus, I love talking about him! I think what you did is a marvelous thing, all the work well be so worth it!! I wish all my blogging family lived closer! Hey! I almost forgot to tell you....I'm going to go to church with my one of my co~workers, its a itty bitty spirit filled church, my co~worker said they run the isle's! I need a change, I don't feel like I'm being fed enough, and I am so hungry and thirsty, I'll let you know all about it!
LOVE to you~

JC said...

This is so interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Linda said...

I did enjoy the pictures. Your guys are great and the shirts look wonderful. I love the way you designed the dog tag....a big job well done....hugs, Linda

Lallee said...

What an interesting cottage business. I enjoyed seeing how the process works. I really liked your design and the clever use of the tag and chain. All three of you deserve a good rest ;-)

Karen said...

Wow, that is so neat seeing the process and teamwork you and your guys used to get this big job done! My husband and I have a home business with two of our sons working beside us. It can get hectic and tense at times like any other job, but I wouldn't trade the "togetherness" for anything.

MelanieJoy said...

Ok, first of all...why the heck is your son not married?!!!
Those shirts are amazing! I love the logo and the colors!!! You are very talented~

jennifer said...

The shirt looks wonderful! Great work.