What are Sublimated Uniforms?

Learn How We Make Custom Team Uniforms Using Full Dye Sublimation

We get asked almost daily what are sublimated uniforms.  And the question always arises about how we make such cool jerseys, shorts and shirts.  Dye sublimation is an incredible process. And we have changed how team uniforms are made.

In 2008, we noticed the shift in manufacturing of high end apparel.  And we set out to learn and master this process.  Almost twelve years later, we remain the USA “sublo” experts of this process.  More so, we know our products and materials.  We experimented with every brand of inks, papers, printers and technology.  And the secret formula works.

See why bigger brands, teams, clubs and organizations choose Lightning Wear for this process. Design basketball uniforms, lacrosse uniforms, soccer uniforms, field hockey gear and many, many more products.

How Sublimation Printing Happens

Sublimation Printing involves a special process.  Our dye marries to fabric using a very high temperature press.  A wide format printer prints your image or custom pattern .  But the secret ingredients create the special paper and inks used.  So wide format printer consumes these inks and papers.  Once the paper prints, the giant rotary heat press takes care of the rest.  Here,the printed paper turns to a liquid again and joins with our performance fabric.

Steps of Dye Sublimation

Step 1 Icon

Step 1 – Art & Design of Uniforms

A lot of time and effort and work is placed designing and preparing your product. Once your artwork is approved and ready, it is transplanted to the digital product patterns. We use special software and colors that make your product unique and bright.

Step 2 Icon

Step 2 – Wide Format Dye Printing

Okay. So you have made it through step one designing your cool gear. Now it is time to get the ball rolling.

The new design that we have prepared is printed on the actual patterns we make your shirts and shorts with. And it is not just an ordinary printer. Nor is the ink or paper.

All of the supplies we use are high quality. And they are made specifically for this type of printing.

Step 3 Icon

Step 3 – The Solid To Liquid To Solid Transformation

Now its time to add some spice to the mix. That freshly printed paper is now married to Lightning Wear’s moisture wick fabric. Special liquid ink on the dye sub paper transfers to our fabric using a huge wide format rotary press.

Step 4 Icon

Step 4 – Time to Cut the Patterns

It is now time to cut out the wide roll of printed fabric. We use special laser cutting that removes the excess fabric from the pattern of your garment. Each piece is sorted and prepared for our sewing floor.

Step 5 Icon

Step 5 – The Bond that Brings It Together

Most people cannot believe that we actually manufacture all of our gear from start to finish. Yes, it is true. We put it all together in our USA factory. And the seamstresses we use are some of the most highly trained and skilled in the industry.

Step 6 Icon

Step 6 – Bye Bye Truck

So once your order is sewn together, we do a final inspection based on your order. Then it is out the door to you and your team or organization.

Benefits of Dye Sublimation

There are many benefits thanks to the sublimation process.

  1. Endless Colors, patterns and designs for printing. Print one or one thousand colors on your garment without the worry of bleed, shade or run.
  2. No Up charge or Screen Fees for added colors, images or designs. You can print in multiple locations on ANY part of a shirt, short or jersey. This includes more than just the common area of print.
  3. Fast Manufacturing and Shipping.  We make all of the gear from start to finish in Maryland USA.  And we make and ship everything from one location.
  4. Easy Add Ons. So if you have a new member on your team, you can add another garment without the hassle of setup charges.
  5. Styles New Go Out of Stock. We never discontinue your style or design. Again, if you add someone to your team or club, we never tell you no. We save every design and pattern for easy reorder.
  6. Easy Color Match. There are millions of colors in the color spectrum. But do not worry. Your school colors match easy with our color pallets.


Dye sublimated (also known as Sublimation/Custom Sublimation/Sublimated Sports Uniforms) is an incredible type of printing which transforms liquid ink, paper and fabric into a vibrant sewn and finished garment.

Patterns and art designs print onto a water ready adhesive paper and transferred onto the fabric using a high temperature rotary heat press. The heat reacts with the ink and turns it to a vapor.  And then the fabric and vapor join together and solidify into an amazing finished print.

Sublimated is a sports uniform that has gone through the process of sublimation.  So, basically it is a garment that has been turned from ink and paper to a printed fabric.

At Lightning Wear we use several types of Polyester LitFit material for our products.  As well we do use some forms of a mixed polyester fleece with cotton.  On compression shorts use spandex.  And, we use only the high quality fabric on the market today.  In the past, we have sampled less expensive alternatives.  But, the difference is extremely noticeable when using this type of process.

The most incredible aspect of dye sublimation is that the print you choose will never peel, fade or alter.  So, do not worry about washing this separate from other garments.  The high heat transfer of ink to fabric makes it highly unlikely for any garment color or imprints to peel or fade.  Really, we have customers that have come back to us from five to ten years ago.  And they too are amazed at how durable and permanent the imprints are.

There are no minimum order requirements.  As well, team add ons and size changes are a breeze. And we keep all artwork and styles for later use.  So do not worry about the style being discontinued.

Unfortunately, the answer on this one is no.  We are not geared to imprint other brands products.  And we do not print sheets of artwork for others. We only print our own gear.  So please do not ask us to print on other brands.  Sorry!

There are tons of companies that sell sublimated uniforms and apparel these days.  But Lightning Wear should be your choice for many reasons.  First and foremost is we are not a middle man.  Nor, do we  broker your uniform order.  Everything you see on our site is made in Maryland USA.  And we do not cut corners.  So you never have to worry about customs delays, wrong sizes or wrong colors.  We have been making team apparel since 2006.  Please give us a try.

Normal production time is three to four weeks. Unfortunately, your gear is not hatched like an egg. There is a lot of time involved in the prepping, printing and sewing your order. And we like to take careful time to do a good job.  We understand everyone has deadlines.  But please give us some time to make the magic happen.  And do not panic.

This process allows for unlimited colors, prints and patterns on your custom shirts, shorts or reversible jerseys.  Nothing limits  your design or uniforms look.  For example, if you have a rainbow, you can print it on shorts, shirts or t shirts.

Yes. You can easily outline any text, numbers, logos or prints on your jersey or garment at no upcharge.  With normal screen printing, you are not able to do this without spending hundreds of dollars extra. Or they hit you up for an expensive screen charge.  There is none of that happening here.  And you can even make custom text or patterns for text for an additional charge.  So call or write us if that is something you would be interested in.  

Call us today

So, please reach out to us for your uniform information. Our sublimated lacrosse uniforms, basketball uniforms, soccer uniforms and team apparel last longer than any on the market. And you do not have to get killed paying for too much for the brand.