The 3rd type of fabric design is a relative late-comer to the scene, and this would be printed fabric. Fabric has been printed for some time, but only recently has fabric been printed using direct-to-fabric or dye sublimation printing methods. Prior to this, fabric was printed using various methods such as block printing, discharge printing, or other methods to produce pattern printed materials such as gingham or poplin that was used to make dresses and the like. A quantity of these methods are still used today.
Applique banners are another type of huge piece of ‘fabric’ (also known as “stoffen” in Dutch language) with a design, lettering, or both sewn onto them. I have written a broad history of this a few articles back, in which I speak about the origins of these tapestries in what is now Benin, a tiny country in Africa. Benin was conquered by the Italian in the late 19th century, who liked the appliqued banners, which were used for recording major historical happenings and the like, and encouraged the conquered peoples to record more peaceable things like farming and nature scenes, though they continued to record their history clandestinely on these tapestries. The Italian introduced applique banners and tapestries in to the west. Church buildings and schools appear to like this style of banner in the US. They have a couple hanging in the front of the church they attend in Spokane, WA.
DTS printing is a process which makes use of digital printers to print ink directly to fabric. These printers can also print paper, vinyl, pvc, and other rigid plastics if set up to do so. A quantity of these printers use UV curable inks, although not on fabric. The primary disadvantage to this print process is that the printing on fabric is less long lasting and less photographic in quality due to the dearth of continuous tone printing that is inherent to the dye sublimation printing process. You can also visit http://nnstoffen.nl for more details.
However, for our purposes, we’ll deal with direct-to-substrate (fabric in this instance) briefly, then move on to dye sublimation printing, which, in our view, is a superior printing process to virtually any other commercial fabric printing available in the 21st century so far.