Are there any great tools/platforms for designing apparel online? Not for just plastering words on a t-shirt, but for actually designing the clothing.
I'm looking to design some shirts, but do not just want them to be screen-printed - I'd also like to design details of the fit, stitching, and more. I would also like some custom graphics. Are there any tools/platforms/services for designing/placing orders for more elaborately-designed apparel online?
I don't know any sites that allow you to actually design the fit of the shirts or clothing, but as for the custom graphics, you can create, or get a graphic designer, to design a custom design that can be uploaded to the screen printing shop. I used to work at a screen printing shop and designed graphics for clients to be applied to shirts. There are two ways to design shirt graphics, either simple, vector graphics or four color process graohics that includes photo designs and gradients, but use a dot matrix to print them on a shirt. Since screen printing shops do not sew the shirts that they print on, (at least that I know of), they only have so many options for the shirts since most order the shirts from a distributor. What you could do is find a distributor or factory that sews shirts and see if you can send them a pattern for the custom shirt you want sewn. Then order those shirts and then take the shirts to a print shop with the original graphics you or a designer made and have them print the graphics on the custom shirts. Or you can always go shopping and buy whatever style shirts you want printed on and then take them to a local printing shop. That's just an idea. It's a lot of work, but may answer your question. I really hope this helps! If you need help with graphics, I'm more than happy to help, too. Just private msg me!
Both Inkscape and Gimp are great resources if you need free software to create your designs. Gimp is free, and I believe Inkscape is also. The main point here is to find something comparable to Adobe Illustrator. If you use software that works with vector specifically, then you will be able to import your hand drawn designs and convert them carefully into vector. I say carefully because this is rarely a one button process, but it should be relatively easy if you follow a tutorial on converting scanned drawings to vector images.
A decent vector pack download of T-shirt blanks and layout templates should be available free online. Get one of these to help you size everything correctly.
Template - http://blog.spoongraphics.co.uk/freebies/huge-collecton-of-tshirt-design-mockup-templates
Be careful not to download a Photoshop template. Look for Vector in the name.
I think your best pick would be to find a local shop that does the printing/stitching and get in direct contact with the people who can hear your idea out and tell you what is possible or not. You will be able to show them a sample if the work you would like them to do or look into the samples they did. That is how we did last two batches of promo material, in direct contact with "manufacturer".
It isn't fully what you're looking for, I'm guessing, but I think appliiq is more customizable and dynamic than many other popular options for printing.
It's sort of in between a customink and a site where you can modify clothing dimensions. You influence the clothing more than basic color and language, and can control small modifications like patches of different color or sleeve designs.
I have provided some links and these might help you out to reach at the right place.
I would like to get some recommendations on it too, I have to say. I am in the business of printing and designing some men's shirts and other stuff, so it would be very helpful to me. Thank you a lot for your future input here ;)