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I am the Tee Reviewer. I go by several names such as deadhippo and Rude Retro but whatever you decide to call me, I will still be the Tee Reviewer. I also run the Shirt List which has the most and the best t-shirt lists as well as providing free promotion for t-shirt stores! Check it out.

20 Responses

  1. Tim P
    Tim P at | | Reply

    this is NOT embroidery, and it doesn’t compare to embroidery. Cafepress marketing has screwed up big time by calling this embroidery.

    I’ve posted a photo of a blank hat here:

    As you can see, they basically stitch out a blank rectangle with a random thread pattern, and then use a fancy inkjet printer to print on top of the white thread (just like they do their white shirts). (THIS IS WHY they tell you NOT to use solid color areas in their guide.)


    In real embroidery, with a solid color area, all the threads would go in the same direction. With this process, they’re all chunky and clumpy looking. The thread and the thread pattern do not correspond in any way to the artwork printed on top.

    A better description for this process is not “infinistitch embroidery”, but “multi-color-stitch-printing”. To call it embroidery is a great attention grabber, but it’s a bunch of marketing BS, and people expecting REAL embroidery of their stuff are going to be really disappointed.

    I love cafepress, but they’re doing a huge disservice to everybody by being so sketchy about how this process works and what they’re ACTUALLY doing, and how cheapass this product is.

    Hopefully, someday, we can get REAL EMBROIDERY.

  2. Tim P
    Tim P at | | Reply

    Jen F: whatever their “intentions”, it’s deceptive to call this embroidery. It is not embroidery, no matter how far or wide you stretch the concept.

    This is printing on a randomized, pre-stitched rectangle of white thread. Not revolutionary. Not embroidery.

  3. Tim P
    Tim P at | | Reply

    Ruderetro: My pleasure. Just so we’re clear, I’ve done machine embroidery in a mall setting, and when you stitch out a design, each area of color is clearly defined when you look at the back of the stitch area.


    As you can see, the thread pattern follows the contour of each shape.

    this is real embroidery. cafepresses process is not real embroidery, and makes everyone that does REAL embroidery look bad. they should not be calling it embroidery. maybe embroidery-style printing, or something like that, but they are NOT under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, embroidering your artwork. They are using their existing shirt printing tech to print onto a pre-embroidered square or circular area.

    (This is why they say not to do solid areas of color, and this is why they say not to do a solid-color border around your image.)

  4. Kate
    Kate at | | Reply

    From what I understand from CafePress and looking at a picture of one of their samples, the white embroidery does react to the image, so basically you are embroidering first and coloring the thread later. I don’t see how the difference in order makes the product any less of an embroidery.

  5. Tim P
    Tim P at | | Reply

    Kate: “From what I understand from CafePress and looking at a picture of one of their samples, the white embroidery does react to the image”

    I can tell you for a fact it doesn’t. This is exactly why they are so specific about instructing people not to do large areas of solid color.

    This is nothing like real embroidery, it’s just printing on pre-stitched white thread. Which is no more revolutionary than printing on white canvas, or printing on white shirts.

  6. Jen F
    Jen F at | | Reply

    You can see some close up images of my sample hat here: They aren’t the best, but pretty close. I’ll be ordering samples so I can compare the finished product to an original image. It’s hard to judge until I see an image I am familiar with before being embroidered.

  7. Jen F
    Jen F at | | Reply

    I think they are being “sketchy” because it’s a patent pending process that they don’t want to share with competitors. It’s been created by CP to fit in the POD environment. They have stated in many, many places that it’s not traditional embroidery.

    The image you posted is from the back of the product. I have seen the results of this process with my own two eye and the last thing I would call it is cheapass. But then again, I don’t assume that CP is out to deceive every shopkeeper, as you seem to think.

  8. It's not rocket science....
    It's not rocket science.... at | | Reply

    Kate.. lol ‘lot’s of assuming?’ Trust me, its very obvious that they are sewing a blank white rectangle or circle area onto the hat or buying them in bulk first and then simply heat transfering the image onto the already sewn in patch. Even if the patch wasnt sewn in, they are still sewing in a randomly stitched patch shape that is then heat transfered onto.

    I have see the hat that was sent out as an example, in person, and the result is nothing like embroidery. CafePRESS is using a method of PRESSING the DYE onto the thread. Its a heat transfer method… This is what they DO, they started out as a heat press company that transfered images onto cheap shirts. They recently caught up and started doing direct to garment…

    Anyways, this is why this cant be called embroidery. The example of the ‘baby’ picture that they have in the tutorial on their website is totally photoshoped… The image suggest that the brown hair has the threads flowing one way and the baby skin part flowing another. As if it were really stitch this way, but rather than show a REAL product, they show a cropped photoshoped image. If they are proud, why not show a real deal sample? You have to go searching on flickr before you can find photos of the infinistitch and those photos are doing this new tech any jusitice…

    That photoshoped image that they are misleading you with is how it would be IF IT WERE EMBROIDERY…. its not and since the PATCH they sewn onto the product has a random chaotic pattern of stitching, there is NO WAY they can possibly make the image look properly sewn onto the hat. This is EXACTLY why they dont want you to have a solid background and they recommend you use some complex background, this is because rather than getting a stitch pattern than flows all in the same direction, you get something that looks more like a SHAG CARPET…

    Also, one last thing, their PREVIEWS are misleading. I have seen many examples of people making products that have very small text that is legible on the screen (online) but when the product is received, I am willing to bet you wont be able to read the text very well. Judging by the sub par samples they sent out, I would be surprised if they continued to call this embroidery. you could barely read any of the shop keepers names on the hats they sent out and the text was relatively large on the samples I saw.

    Since they are not EMBROIDERING the image onto the product, they should be calling it INFINIPRESS or INFINITANSFER since their secret sauce method is no different than the method used to heat transfer an image onto a mousepad…

  9. andrew callen
    andrew callen at | | Reply

    We got a sample in today and it is TERRIBLE!

    OK, full disclosure: we’re embroiderers, so I’m a little biased but this work-around is basically printing (or sublimating, whatever) on an embroidered mess of white thread. I can’t imagine anything but abstract art (where you have no idea what its supposed to look like anyway) looking good with this application. I secretly hoped they pulled it off so we could get business from their competitors but now it looks like they’ll just be laughing.

  10. Tim P
    Tim P at | | Reply

    Jen F:

    Go ahead and order an embroidered hat that’s a solid block of color, and you’ll see that i’m 110% right.

    the stitch pattern does not, and will not, correspond IN ANY WAY to the image printed on top of it.

  11. Kristen
    Kristen at | | Reply

    I’m excited about this process, personally. Even if it’s not “traditional embroidery”, so what? It’s actually a NEW process, which is why they gave it a name all its own. When the laser printer was invented there were probably a lot of people in the offset printing industry who claimed it couldn’t be called ‘printing’ in comparison. Well, it’s probably not the best analogy, but the idea is there. 😉

  12. Jen F
    Jen F at | | Reply

    I wonder how you know so much about a process which was invented by CP and just announced yesterday…. Seems to be a lot os assuming to me.

  13. Still misleading...
    Still misleading... at | | Reply

    You said – “It’s actually a NEW process, which is why they gave it a name all its own”

    Ya.. funny how that name ‘Infinistich’ is 3x smaller in the logo when you compare it to the word EMBROIDERY that they have prominently placed on the logo.

    If its new and they are proud, why let the word Embroidery dominate their newly named process. Especially since its not embroidery.

  14. CAD
    CAD at | | Reply

    I got the sample hat. It supposedly had my shops name on it, I couldn’t even read what it said, my husband and I spent 10 minutes staring at it from different angles before we realized what the words read. I’m just going to avoid the mess of returns and not include these products in my shops. It’s bad enough I’ve been waiting patiently for black polos and now that they are here I can’t do a dang thing with them because they stuck the ugly round patch on them.

  15. JunaD
    JunaD at | | Reply

    We’ve been playing around with a few designs. Some work and some don’t. It’s been a trail and error kind of thing. I would suggest mainly artwork and large text. The real question is “Will anyone buy it?”. It’s cool but $40 is pretty pricey for me. But I also thought no one would by a $20+ dollar t-shirt. So time will tell.

  16. printing onto blank thread
    printing onto blank thread at | | Reply

    So, here’s a photo comparing cafepress fake-embroidery to real embroidery:

    Kate and Jen are flat wrong here in defending cafepress’ decision to call this embroidery, because it’s hands-down nothing of the sort.

    In real embroidery:
    1. the thread color shows through to the back
    2. each colored area is stitched out separately, so the thread direction corresponds to the differently-colored areas
    3. the final shape corresponds to the artwork you stitch out, it’s not limited to a square or rectangle.

    Cafepress’ process works as follows: they stitch out a white rectangle or circle with a randomized thread pattern. (or, more likely, they order the hats and shirts with this area pre-stitched). When a design is ordered, they use their existing shirt printers to print your rectangular image onto the blank white rectangle of white thread.

    this is why they say not to do a solid-color border around the edge of your image. and this is why they say not to do large areas of solid colors, because the stitch pattern does not match up in any way with the artwork printed on top of it. in real embroidery, the stitching matches up with the color areas, and when you look at the back, the artwork shows through and the color areas look the same.

    The reason this bugs me so much is because i think embroidery would be a great thing to offer, but because cafepress is being so very deceptive about what their product actually is and how it works, a lot of people are getting false hopes about the quality.

    the quality is not terrible, considering that they are just printing onto random patches of blank thread (although does come out a bit blurry), but this is not real embroidery, the process is not real embroidering, and this will never compare to real embroidery.

    and you will never be able to do even simple lettering on a polo shirt. feh.

  17. ChachkiPress
    ChachkiPress at | | Reply
  18. Cheryl-CAT
    Cheryl-CAT at | | Reply

    Someone ordered 2 of my first (and one of only a few) designs I made available on the new product on the 16th.. (linked on this post) Completed on the 20th. it was evidently ordered by 1 person to be delivered to 2 different locations, as it came through in 2 different orders. Obviously someone wanting to see a sample of the procedure (and have someone else see too), as that’s a design with a very narrow range of interest, and pretty much impossible to be found within 24 hours of being posted, except I made the link available in the CP public chat.
    I really wish I could buy a sample myself.. but it’s not in the cards right now.
    I’m watching and waiting to see if either someone posts photos of my hat, or returns it, to let me know how this thing turns out.
    I really really hope the previews are accurate.

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