I didn't even try to, but I won a Compete-Tee-Tion run contest for a free tee from Full Metal T-shirt. I simply expressed my sadness that no one shared my favorite tee of their catalog: Dale Edwin Murray's "Splash". Of course, this was before yesterday's feature was up for sale, and by a matter of days alone... there's a part of me that curses my luck for being just early enough to miss that opportunity. Still, a free shirt is always fun, and I figured I would share my findings with all of you upon receipt. If you like what you're seeing, too, don't forget "singularitee10" will get you 10% off your orders.
Blank: White Alstyle. Alstyle are arguably a step down from American Apparel, but still wear quite nicely. My one word of advice: check your measurements. The blanks FMT uses are cut much truer to size than AA, and possibly more so than the style of Alstyle Teefury uses... the shirt looked HUGE to me compared to what I'm used to. You might find your normal size is a bit bigger than you'd otherwise wish, so check. A convenient note: your tee will come tagged twice: one for the company, and the other containing helpful washing instructions for the long life of your DTG graphic.
Print: I can sum up my first DTG experience in a word: weird. Don't get me wrong, the print impressed me with how good it looked, considering the perceived shortcomings of the Direct-to-Garment process. The colors are bold and the linework is clear and it is smooth as can be. But I think that smoothness is what weirded me out. Unlike most prints, where you can make a judgment call about the ink texture, the print here feels synthetic and shiny. It wears fine... not stiff, not stifling... but the feel of the print is definitely unnerving, even still to a degree. My only comment on print quality is that there was a small fuzz on the print which, if stroked, unveiled the tee blank. I mention it only as a possible caution for DTG printers and purchasers... it's impossible to see unless you're giving a thorough perusal, but it's one more reason you should be very careful when you're washing these. The affected area is on the second photo below. Even if my camera were less blurry, you'd be unable to see it.
Shipping: Megafast. I got the tee exactly a week after I won the contest. To put it in speedier terms, I got a tracking number last Friday and got the shirt on Monday. Your mileage may, of course, vary, but it's likely that you're not going to be waiting long for your new threads. They ship, like so many, in a mailer you can see through the front of, but while you can see inside, I was still pretty surprised by the "customer care package" I found with my tee. So besides a t-shirt that pleasantly surprised me, I received the following:
~A postcard with a print of another Full Metal Tee.
~Two pins: One of the company logo, and one with art from my shirt. These were attached to my shirt's tag.
~A FMT sticker.
~Two business cards: one was a reprise of the sticker art on the front, and a propaganda-style "vote" message on the back. The other was a gold-embossed "thank you,"
which is nice of them.
~A dollar bill folded into a t-shirt. Which I find to be somewhat trivial compared to just saving a dollar, but will convert into a taco quite wonderfully.
All this was nestled into a black envelope, sealed with actual sealing wax with one more iteration of the Full Metal T-shirt logo imprinted into it. Which all in all is a pretty nice haul of extras for you, and some smart promoting for them. I imagine the pins and postcards are randomized... it is entirely possible the whole package might differ slightly from customer to customer... but just having it sets them apart in a very saturated market. It's the little touches that really made it clear to me that the guys over at FMT are in it to win it, so to speak. I hope they're able to stick around and really show what they're made of.