Mister Freedom® Original ‘Stanley’ Shop Tees Made & Silkscreened in USA
This is an updated version of the initial MF® Shop Tees blogpost, originally published May 21st, 2017).
From stitching appliqués or spray-painting hand-cut stenciled motifs on an assortment of vintage bodies in a small garage in the late 1990’s, to silkscreening our own T-shirts (the USA-made Mister Freedom® Stanley) in the heat of our 7161 Beverly sweatshop, playing with original graphics has always been a fun creative hobby for us.
The journey from hand-doodled graphic to final printed garment is not a dull one. We like having things done in a specific way, so we keep the process in-house, running small batches, scheduling frantic printing sessions in between water-sports activities. Save from having the screens burnt in a small Downtown LA specialized workshop, the whole silkscreening operation is handled at the MF® HQ.
Please note that we are definitely not a professional silkscreening service, and we are not claiming any expertise on the subject. Having said that, here are a few random behind-the-scene bits of intel on the Mister Freedom® way to do it:
* We are using a four-screen rotary printing press, custom jerry-rigged to our needs and available work space. No fancy automatic machinery, this single-operator device pumps them out one shirt at a time.
* Mixing our own colors without formulas results in color variations within each batch. We even mix our own color black, to get a ‘vintage’ black when the shirt starts fading.
* The old-school bleed-through effect (the faint negative of the print on the reverse side of the knit) depends on the squeegee pressure, number of passes, fluidity of the ink, weather, and will therefore fluctuates.
* For multi-colored prints, gaps between colors will vary from one batch to another, as we always eyeball screen registration during set-up (quite a lengthy process with four colors). This random off-set registration is also a cool trait of vintage 50’s-60’s logo T-shirts.
* Four color printing requires unleashing the four-headed dragon, our favorite. Everyone runs for cover, and a full workday will produce endless cursing and about a dozen and a half finished shirts, minus the ink spills and mistakes. A four color graphic takes about four times longer to silkscreen than a single color one, a reason why our finer-than-frog-hair “MF Ranch” Tees are like hen’s teeth.
* Just like the rest of our garments, our T-shirts are not distressed with chemical washes. The prints are not artificially aged either. We chose to not digitally alter the original artwork by adding random scratches or rubbed-off areas to stimulate the ‘vintage look’, a mall favorite.
* Our graphics are not generated on Adobe Illustrator, but actually sketched old-school with a pencil and paper, and it is at that initial drawing stage that we try to capture the ‘vintage vibe’. On that note, out of respect for graphic artists, we tend to not cut & paste their artwork on our T-Shirts.
* For a soft-hand print that will gradually chip and fade overtime with repeat washing/drying, we exclusively use water-based ink.
The base colors of our shirts (see currently-stocked colors here) are also quite light-sensitive and will fade naturally with repeat sun exposure.
Due to both technical challenges (with water-based ink, silkscreening dark on light is much easier than light on dark), and aesthetic considerations, specific graphics are only available in the color combination released.
The MF® Shop Tees share their specs with the Stanley T-Shirts. Initially released in the summer of 2015, our Stanleys (still available without prints) are made in USA and feature a vintage-style tubular 100% cotton slubby jersey with the MF® original signature flatlock & coverstitch combo construction. Our Skivvy T-Shirt (our heavier gage knit with a Mil-Specs vibe, available in White, Navy Blue, and Sage Green) will remain a solid-only undershirt option.
For current availability, check out the Mister Freedom® Stanley Shop Tees section of our webstore, periodically updated with latest graphics, colors, and stock of freshly-printed batches.
Painstakingly hand-printing each shirt one at-a-time guarantees the uniqueness of every MF® Stanley Shop Tee. No two printed shirts are 100% identical. Imperfections, inconsistencies and subtle ink smudges are part of our commitment to vintage silkscreening techniques and overall appreciation of wabi-sabi aesthetics.
The Stanley Shop Tees are designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in the USA. All shirts are silkscreened in-house in Los Angeles, CA., USA, featuring all original MF® artwork.
FABRIC: 100% cotton light-weight slubby tubular jersey knit, milled in the USA. This fabric twists and torques. This natural yarn distortion is expected and not a default. COLORS (2018): * White * Black * Jungle Green (Olive)
TEES SPECS: * Original Mister Freedom® “Stanley” pattern, inspired by vintage 1940′s-50′s cotton T-shaped undershirts. * Vintage style ¼ sleeve length (= approx. 6 ½ inches) * Tubular knit (no side seams) * Cover stitch self-fabric neckband. * Normal mechanical stretch and fabric memory. * Combination of flatlock and cover stitch construction, inspired by 1940′s USMC Government issued undershirts. * 100% cotton thread, for natural roping on seams. * Original MF® “The Sportsman” black woven rayon label on neck band.
* Made in USA. PRINT SPECS:
* All original MF® artwork. * Hand silkscreened with water-based ink, for a soft hand and vintage look.
* Silkscreened in small limited batches, each with unique characteristics. * Will fade like a vintage T-shirt. * Printed in USA.
SIZING/FIT: The MF® Stanley Shop Tees come pre-washed (pre-shrunk). The MF® Stanley fits like the MF® Skivvy does, but due to the nature of its stretchy jersey, the Stanley will feel looser. I wear Medium (38) on most MFSC garments, but sized down to a Small for both MF® Stanley and Skivvy, just personal taste. According to your built and silhouette preference, get your normal size or size down for a slimmer/shorter old school fit. This is how we size our garments. Tip: The best way to figure out which Mister Freedom® T-shirt size will work for you is to take your favorite T-shirt (your idea of a perfect fit), lay it flat without wrinkles, measure Chest (from arm pit to arm pit), Shoulder (from top shoulder seam to top shoulder seam), Sleeves (from top shoulder seam to end) and Length (from top of back collar band to bottom hem), and then find a close match in the Stanley size chart. Again, keep in mind that the Stanley’s knit jersey has mechanical stretch. Refer to sizing chart below for Washed/Dried (we use a heat dryer) approximate measurements (measured flat, without pulling/stretching):
CARE: Low-maintenance as a T-Shirt should be, just throw your Stanley Shop Tee in the washer/dryer when needed. Cold water, delicate cycle, minimal eco-friendly detergent. No bleach. Keep colors separate to avoid potential color transfer when doing laundry. Gradual chipping of the ink and natural fading of the printed graphic is expected and considered a normal evolution.
Available rinsed (pre-shrunk) Sizes (Limited sizing available per graphic) Small Medium Large X-Large
Retail: Solid Stanley (no print, all colors, White/Black/Navy/Gold…): $69.95 Shop Tee Stanley (with single or double-screen print, Gypsy/Sig/Rocket/Knuckles/Skipper/Surplus/Treedom/Sailor MrFrdm/The Champ…): $89.95
Shop Tee Stanley (with three or four-screen print, MF Ranch): $149.95