Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Why Do I Have to Pay More For A Custom T-shirt?

"Why does a custom t-shirt cost more than a shirt I buy at the store?" is a question that t-shirt and apparel decorators are frequently asked. I am going to answer that question for you now.

An apparel printing business generally buys the apparel at wholesale prices. So the majority of the cost you are charged is not for the t-shirt. Let me show you what I am talking about. I am using a photo of my mother as an example. The customer emails or texts the printer a photo or an idea with a request of the desired result. The happy and satisfied customer receives a customized and personalized shirt. An example is below.

The photograph below shows what the customer of the above shirt sent to the apparel printer.

Let's look at what went into creating the customized shirt. The printer/decorator had to do some design work. In this case the photo background was removed at the customer's request. The font and edited picture were arranged to create a pleasing design. A mockup was created and sent to the customer for approval. Then the design was made ready for printing. L.A. De Valk Style uses a professional heat press to print apparel. Whatever process your apparel printer uses, it involves time, skill, supplies, and equipment. Some of you may be thinking, but I don't want a photo. I just want a basketball player making a lay-up shot with my number and name on it. I can do that. It still involves time, skill, supplies, and equipment and it is still customized and personalized. You will not find a shirt like yours available at any regular store. It is one of a kind. It is personalized and customized for you. That is what you are paying for when you purchase a custom shirt. You are paying for the time, skill, supplies, and a shirt with customization.

If someone on your gift giving list is tough to buy for--a custom shirt is a good choice. L.A. De Valk Style also does shirts for events, all occasions and even for businesses. You can contact me through L.A. De  Valk Style on the contact page for more information. On a side note, my mother liked the mockup so much that she requested the design be put on a nightgown.

Let me know in the comments below if you found this blog post helpful.

Friday, June 8, 2018

A Life Lesson Learned from the Singer Sewing Machine 15-91

I wasn't aware that I already had what I was looking for because I never took the time to find out that it was capable of more than I had ever imagined. --Lois  A.  De Valk

Sometimes life takes us in a circle. I had been searching the world over on the internet for an affordable industrial strength sewing machine. I wanted to be able to sew through thicker items. The machines I had were not able to sew through the thicknesses of fabric in order to make a strap for a purse or tote bag or even to hem a pair of jeans. 

A few years ago I found an older machine on Ebay that the seller claimed was industrial strength. Well, $40 later I had a very heavy all metal vintage machine. I do not know the year it was manufactured. Although it did sew, I was disappointed to discover it could not handle the thickness of materials that I needed it to. It was not "industrial" at all. So, I just resigned myself to the fact that I would not be able to make some items. Fast forward to about six months ago my husband needed a belt loop sewn back on his jeans. My sewing machines could not handle that. I do have an electronic machine that does very well with decorative stitching that I like very much, but she is not a work horse. She's more like a kitten that purrs along. I was frustrated with not being able to properly repair the jeans. I did a "make do" repair that ended up looking like a redneck joke. But, it was functional. His pants do stay up. Thank goodness! 

I was once again on the lookout for a machine that could handle thick materials. I happened on a used vintage machine in a buy-sell group on the internet. Once again I do not know the year. It looks like late 1960's or early 1970's. It too is all metal. This one was only $20, but so far I had to purchase the manual on-line for $5 (no free one's are available for this machine). The feed dog was broken. So I have ordered a replacement ($14). Once that comes I will see if I can get the machine to sew correctly. I have learned my lesson--no more used machines for me, unless it's a collectible and I can afford it. In the meantime while I was waiting for the feed dog to arrive I started perusing brand new industrial machines. I discovered they're not so affordable.

Then I noticed my mother's sewing machine cabinet in the corner of the dining room. The machine had not been used for many years, but my mother always told me it still works. I decided it was time to find out.

The machine I am referring to is a Singer 15-91 sewing machine manufactured in 1952, which my mother purchased brand new in 1953. The original manual is still with the machine, as well as the buttonhole attachments that came with it. This is the only sewing machine she has ever owned. I remember learning to sew on this machine when I was seven years old. She sewed many clothes for her children and I sewed with it until I was in high school and didn't have time for it any more. I opened up the machine and it looked good. It just needed to be dusted off. So I dusted it and oiled it. I had to refer to the manual, because unlike the new plastic machines, this one uses oil in a lot of different places. 

Once that was done I pulled out some scraps of denim to see what it would do. It only has the capability of the straight stitch. It went through two layers of denim easily. The tension was perfect, the needle was the same one that had been in the machine for many years. It did so well that I doubled the denim. Four layers of denim and it didn't hesitate. Six layers were a breeze too. Eight layers I thought might be too much. I was wrong! It went over the thickest part of the belt loop attached to the jeans easily. To say I was impressed is an understatement. 

I looked through the manual to see if there was some helpful information and I discovered that this machine will also free motion quilt. That was another thing that I have been wanting to do for years. I tried it out on a two foot square quilt sandwich scrap. It did extremely well and it was much easier to quilt on this Singer 15-91 machine than on the newer machines. 

I am thankful that I did not sell this machine years ago when my mother suggested that I should. Something else that is worth noting is that my mother never knew it was capable of doing these things either. She said, "it sews nice dresses." It does so much more! If you have an old machine I encourage you to get it out and see what it's capable of. You may find out that it is not just a decorative item to set a doily and a plant on.  It has a purpose beyond that. I wasn't aware that I already had what I was looking for because I never took the time to find out that it was capable of more than I had ever imagined.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Baby Love at L.A. DE VALK STYLE, Edgerton, MN


These t-shirts would be great for a gender reveal party or a baby shower. I recently made these and they are available at Drooger's Food Center in Edgerton, MN. If you are unable to come to the store you can email us at if you would like to order them. They are not featured on at this time.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming. Watch out for FALLING PRICES!

You are invited to Like and Follow our facebook page. It's a good place to keep informed of what is happening at L.A. De Valk Style.

Leave a comment below if you know someone who loves a baby. 👶

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Store is OPEN

L.A. De Valk Style is now open for business. Since it is an online store we will be having a virtual Open House. Bring your own drinks and snacks.😉 Everyone is welcome to virtually visit any time day or night at

This sweatshirt is one of my favorites. Who am I kidding? They're all my favorites. Take a look around the store. There is a coupon code available for the first order. Remember Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming up which we all know is the most wonderful time of the year for shopping.

Since our products are made to order it will take about a week before they are shipped. We offer adult sizes S-5X and we are anticipating a new product line release in January 2018.

Don't forget to visit the website. 


Thursday, September 28, 2017

L.A. DE VALK STYLE is Almost Ready!

I'm on the home stretch! I know my husband is anxiously awaiting the opening. Is anyone else?

This shirt I made for my husband about sums it up. Matthew 17:20, (Jesus speaking)  He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

It's a lot of work to move that mountain and I'm still working on it. Someone once said, "It takes 10 years to become an overnight success." I think I started the groundwork for this about four years ago. So I should be about half-way there. I hope.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


Friday, September 15, 2017

L.A. De Valk Style is Coming Soon

I am in the process of getting my online store ready for business. I have been diligently learning new skills to produce an awesome product line. I anticipate the final reveal will be in October.  I will update you each week on this blog. Leave a comment below if I have piqued your interest. 


By the way, CLUE #1 is my design. 

(*Notice to the self-proclaimed craft & hobby police: I have purchased the Commercial License for thousands of fonts and graphics. I, L.A. De Valk, only sell what I have the legal right to sell.)   

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Cupcake Wrapper Makes a Simple Dessert Exquisite

Today is my mother's 87th birthday. I am not an accomplished cook. I don't even like cooking. However, when I noticed the popularity of cupcake wrappers and toppers I was motivated to make a cupcake, actually 18 of them. Making them look beautiful was a lot of fun.

I used the template from Anna's Seasonal Soirees cricut cartridge to make the wrapper. In the middle of the hearts I have M-O-M written. The "O" is visible  in the picture. The topper was made from the inner hearts cut out of the wrapper. 

Served on fine china made this an extra special treat for the birthday lady. Happy Birthday Mom!

Let me know in the comments below if you ever make something ordinary special by dressing it up.