June 20th, 2024

What are Pigment & Garment-Dyed Garments?

Pigment-dyed and garment-dyed apparel aren't your typical garments, in that they're a testament to the artistry of dyeing processes and the allure of vintage-inspired fashion. If you're intrigued by their unique appearance and soft feel, here's everything you need to know about these stylish pieces!
What Are Pigment & Garment-Dyed Garments / Threadbird Blog

Pigment-dyed vs. Garment-dyed..What’s What?

You may have heard the terms ‘pigment-dyed’ and ‘garment-dyed’ and wondered, what’s the difference? Or maybe you assumed that they were the same. Let’s break it down here.

Pigment-dying is an application in which the pigment dye is applied to the surface (outside layer) of the fabric (after it’s been cut and sewn into a finished piece), creating a distinct texture and resulting in a washed or faded appearance. 

Garment-dying is a post-production dying process in which the entire garment is dyed at once. The dye is fully absorbed into the fibers of the entire garment, resulting in a super-soft texture and muted, old time appearance.

What Sets Pigment-Dyed Apparel Apart? 

Pigment dyeing is a specialized craft that diverges from conventional dyeing methods. Compared to garment dyeing and other dying methods, pigment dyeing is less complicated in terms of the science behind its process. Instead of penetrating the fibers like traditional dyes, pigment dye is coated onto the  surface and outside layer of the garment. This distinctive technique creates a worn, distressed look characterized by subtle color variations and faded areas. This process produces a unique style that is extremely versatile and goes perfectly with so many other apparel types and colors. Given this, pigment-dyed t-shirts are likely to become your customers staple tee.

Pigment-dyed garments have certainly been more prevalent, as the ‘vintage appeal’ becomes more and more popular within apparel & street wear fashion. But what are the main advantages of decorating pigment-dyed apparel?

    (Left) Pigment-Dyed   &   (Right) Garment-Dyed 
       Lane Seven LS16005                 Hanes CW100

    Pros of Pigment-Dyed Garments
    • Unique Appearance: The hallmark of pigment-dyed shirts is their nostalgic, pre-worn aesthetic. Each garment is distinctively its own in how the shirt material responds to the dye and connects us to the past.  
    • Longevity: Pigment-dye bonds to the garment fabric, ensuring excellent durability and a 'vintage-like' look that will only be enhanced with each wash.
    • Distinctive Prints: When screen-printed, pigment-dyed garments yield prints that perfectly complement their pre-worn appearance. The result? Eye-catching designs that seamlessly blend with the shirt's distressed, retro vibe. 
    Cons to Consider
    • Texture: The dye is applied to the fabric surface, which leaves a stiffer texture on the fabric compared to garment-dyed.
    • Consistency: Due to the nature of pigment dyeing,  variations and faded areas in color are inherent in pigment-dyed shirts. While this adds to their uniqueness, it may not suit those seeking uniformity in their apparel. 

      Recommended Garments & Brands: 

      These apparel styles are certainly growing in popularity, as more and more wholesale brands are starting to offer it. Some brands that have been ahead of the curve with the reemergence of the retro fashion trend for a while are Lane Seven, Gildan, Independent Trading Company, Hanes, and Comfort Colors.

      Whether you're looking to decorate short sleeve tees, sweatshirts, shorts or accessories that have the weathered look, Threadbird offers a variety of options for pigment and garment-dyed products! 

      What Are Pigment & Garment-Dyed Garments / Threadbird Blog

      Garment-Dyed Tank

      What Are Pigment & Garment-Dyed Garments / Threadbird Blog

      Pigment-Dyed Shorts

      What Are Pigment & Garment-Dyed Garments / Threadbird Blog

      Garment-dyed Tee

      What Are Pigment & Garment-Dyed Garments / Threadbird Blog

      Garment-dyed Pocket Tee

      What Are Pigment & Garment-Dyed Garments / Threadbird Blog

      Pigment-Dyed Hoodie

       What Are Pigment & Garment-Dyed Garments / Threadbird Blog

      Pigment-Dyed Sweatshirt

       What Are Pigment & Garment-Dyed Garments / Threadbird Blog

      Pigment-dyed Cap

      What Are Pigment & Garment-Dyed Garments / Threadbird Blog

      Garment-dyed Tote

      What Sets Garment-dyed Apparel Apart?

      Garment-dyed apparel is notorious for producing the sought-after, 'vintage-like' outcome. The process behind this technique involves the complete dying of garments, after they are manufactured. Unlike other dying methods, garment-dying is known for producing an extremely soft & comfy fabric texture. 

        Pros of Garment-Dyed Garments
        • Vibrancy: the dye is deeply absorbed into the garment fibers which results in saturated and rich hue colors. This method also allows for a wide array of dye color options to choose from.
        • Ultra-Softness: the dye is completely bonded with the entire garment, becoming one. As a result, the garment is left feeling smooth and soft to the touch, and will only get softer after each wash.
        • Coverage: garments are deeply penetrated and soaked in the dye, which allows the dye to be completely absorbed all over the garment. This results in an even hue of color saturation on the garments.
        Cons to Consider
        • Price: the dyeing process requires more complex steps, which in turn makes the cost of garment-dyed garments more expensive per piece, compared to pigment-dyed and other methods. 
        • Unevenness: since the entire garment is dyed at once, it can be challenging to achieve equal absorption of the dye, which may result in color variations and inconsistencies from one garment to the next. 

        Embrace their Uniqueness 

        Pigment-dyed apparel offers a distinctive blend of aesthetic, comfort, and individuality that satisfies the needs of fashion-forward individuals. Whether you're drawn to their dated style, or options for color variation, pigment-dyed garments open up a world of possibilities for decoration and customization.


        Puff Ink Print on Garment-dyed Hoodies (Comfort Colors 1567)
        & Sweatshirt (Comfort Colors 1566)

        Ready to uncover the creative possibilities of pigment-dyed t-shirts? Click here to get in touch with our Threadbird team and explore our selection of premium pigment-dyed garments that are ideal for your summer and fall collection! 


        Latest Articles
        Gear Up for Fall: Ideas to Hop on the Latest Apparel Trends
        The fall season is quickly approaching and now’s the prime time to stock up and decorate fresh new products for your next collection. In this blog we’ll show the hot garment styles and brands that you won’t want to miss out!
        July 18th, 2024
        Ignite Your Mission with Printed Apparel for Your Church
        Discover how custom apparel can elevate your church's outreach efforts! From sparking meaningful conversations, to raising awareness about your beliefs and expanding your community, we’re exploring how tailored designs have helped amplify our client, Real Life Church's mission.
        July 9th, 2024
        Branded Apparel & Merch for Your Company & Employees
        Discover how custom apparel can boost your brand, foster connections, engage employees, and improve your business overall. In this blog, you will learn why investing in branded merch and apparel is essential in today's market and uncover the secrets to doing it right!
        June 24th, 2024