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Go For the Gold with Gymnastics and Swimming Uniforms

by Matt DeLaere, Marketing

As usually happens each four years, fans are glued to their televisions, hoping to watch the United States strike gold in the summer games. Americans have a lot to cheer about this year, with Michael Phelps breaking the record for all-time medals and the US taking gold in the women’s gymnastics team and all-around competitions.

Adults watch the games to marvel at the talent and dedication of the athletes, and because we realize that they are doing something we cannot.  For example, I watched the women’s gymnastics finals unshakable in my belief that I couldn’t even stand on the balance beam, let alone do backflips and somersaults on it (the last (and possibly only) somersault I completed involved a set of stairs and some black ice). But 4-year-olds have no such doubts. When kids see something on TV, they want to do it, and believe that they can. Anyone who, in their younger years, buried a stick of gum in hopes of growing a Juicy Fruit tree knows what I’m talking about.

For this reason, the sports of the summer games see an increase in involvement each four years. Kids around the country want to be the next Michael Phelps, Allison Schmitt, or Gabby Douglas. This, naturally, leads to an increased demand for sport-related apparel, and requests that you decorate it.

While the disciplines of swimming and gymnastics are quite different, they do have something in common – stretchable uniforms. Most competition swimsuits and gymnastics leotards are made primarily of spandex or spandex/nylon blends. These materials are often difficult to decorate, but recent advancements in heat printing have alleviated this problem.

For swimsuits, we recommend CAD-CUT® Super Film heat transfer material, which features great stretch and rebound. It’s also formulated for superior adhesion to performance garments. Also great for leotards, Super Film makes it easy to produce names, numbers, and custom designs with your vinyl cutter.

For full color custom logos and designs, CAD-COLOR® Solutions™ Opaque printable heat transfer material is a great choice for gymnastics uniforms because of its stretchability and rebound.  For more flashy designs, HotFix rhinestones, rhinestuds, and nailheads are terrific accents for leotards. You can order them in bulk or in ready-to-apply transfer designs. Many decorators, in fact, prefer heat application to avoid sewing or putting holes in the stretchy material of the leotard.

As always, test your materials first and make sure that they can withstand being decorated with a heat press without melting or burning. Also be sure to use a reusable cover sheet to avoid any marks or burns.

So, as participation in swimming and gymnastics rise, be confident that you can decorate apparel for these sports (including warm-ups). Your customers will do a backflip (or backstroke) when they see what you can create.

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