The biggest advantage of direct to media is drastically reduced waste. This method doesn’t need printing on transfer paper first before calendering (or heat-pressing) it onto the media. Waste is both an economical and an ecological factor in print production. Print speed doesn’t account for much if a large portion is being thrown away as waste due to incompatibility of media, ink, treatment or lack of know-how.

The qualities of the printed end product should fit the needs of the application. Longevity, fastness and hand properties are important. Post-processing is something to think about: is the printed material easily confectioned, applied or handled. Should it be washed or does it need a finish (e.g. fire retardant, water repellent). A washed textile no longer has coating or ink residues and will, therefore, have a better feel. Moreover, it will be less prone to stains and it will last longer.

An alternative which does not require expensive equipment and dyes is Inkjet Fabric Printing which uses a standard inkjet printer (e.g. HP, Epson, Canon, Lexmark) and specially treated, paper-backed fabric sheets. Inkjet fabric sheets are currently available in cotton, bamboo and silk on Amazon and other websites. The removable paper backing makes the fabric stiff enough to go through your inkjet printer. Once the ink is dry (1 hour to overnight for heavy ink coverage), simply remove the paper backing, follow the directions for a water dip to set the ink, let the fabric dry, and you are ready to sew.