So you want to stand out from the crowd, make an impact with your team’s mascot or name, or proudly display all your team colors in your cheerleading uniform? Then you want a customized uniform! With so many options for customization, from embroidery, to tackle twill, to sublimation, how do you choose? Do you want something classic and time-tested, or something new and innovative? Before you decide, it may be helpful to know a little about each form of uniform customization. Which is which, and what’s the difference? Tackle Twill Tackle twill is the most often used form of customization for sideline cheerleading uniforms. It consists of cut-out letters placed on top of another material (typically a polyester fabric) that are then attached to the uniform with heat or are sewn on (some companies, like Omni Cheer and Campus Teamwear, do both to ensure a long-lasting design). There are many different options when it comes to tackle twill, including the choice of multiple layers, font styles, colors, and fabric types (sequin and foil are popular and eye-catching). Tackle twill is typically priced depending on your chosen options, and will vary depending on what fabric type you choose, and how many colors, letters, and pieces you require. Embroidery Embroidery is when a word or design is stitched directly into the fabric using embroidery thread. Embroidery is occasionally used for sideline cheer uniforms (especially when a team is interested in a detailed, multi-color mascot design), and is most durable on double-knit polyester fabric (it can sometimes pucker or pull if done on thinner, higher-stretch uniforms). Embroidery is also typically used for adding team members’ names to their uniforms for an even more personalized look. Sublimation Sublimated uniforms are created using dye-sublimation, a process where the design is infused directly into the fabric using heat. It is not attached to the uniform, like embroidery or tackle twill; if you run your finger across a sublimated uniform, you will only feel the fabric itself. The sublimation process also ensures the design will not crack, peel, or fade. Sublimation is the up-and-coming choice in customizable garments, with more and more companies offering sublimation on uniforms, practice wear, warm-ups, and more. It is a very popular choice for competitive and All Star cheerleading squads, as the fabric itself is typically high-stretch and conforms to the body, making tumbling and stunting easier. There are countless options when it comes to sublimated uniforms, which also increases its appeal. For example, Chasse, which premiered its line of sublimated uniforms this year, offers four styles, eight designs, and over 30 colors to make nearly-endless combinations. If you’re interested in a fully customized look, a sublimated uniform may be perfect for your squad. Whichever type of customization you choose, there are a few important things to keep in mind: Be sure before you buy. Most companies do not allow you to return or exchange customized items. It’s important to ensure that all aspects of your design are correct, such as the spelling of words and the colors being used. If you misspell something, it will be your mistake and you will have to pay to have it fixed. It’s also very important to make sure you’re ordering the correct sizes for your squad. If something doesn’t fit, you will most likely not be able to return it for the correct size” “you’ll need to buy, and wait for, a replacement. Plan it out. Most customization options are priced by quantity, and many companies will offer price breaks on larger orders, making team or bulk orders the most cost effective way to order uniforms. Customized uniforms not only require extra funds, they also require extra time. Depending on the customization you choose, production time can range from 2 weeks to 3 months. Order your uniforms before you need them, and ask for an estimated date of arrival so you know when to expect delivery. Choosing to order your uniforms from a reputable company with help ensure you’re receiving a quality product, but it’s still a good idea to give yourself extra time in case of mistakes. They can happen, and if they do, you don’t want to be stressing about replacement uniforms the eve of your big game! Take care. Customized uniforms can be just as long lasting as non-customized uniforms, as long as they are cared for correctly. You should make sure to follow any garment-specific directions that you receive with your uniforms, and ask the company you ordered from for any extra tips or advice. Most companies will not recommend washing customized items in hot water or with harsh detergent or any type of bleach, nor will they recommend putting the garments in the dryer. Treat customized uniforms with care, and you will get countless show-stopping performances out of them! Classic, detailed, or contemporary, your options are nearly endless. Regardless of what type of customization you choose, your team is sure to stand out in a one-of-a-kind uniform! How is your uniform customized? What’s your favorite time of customization?