Customizing Apparel with a Plaid Pattern

Flannel / Plaid Pants - Transfer Express Apparel

Three flannel pant options with plaid patterns

When customizing apparel with patterns in the fabric design, it’s a good idea to create your custom designs to compliment the pattern.

The Transfer Express apparel that we are using includes pant option District – Young Mens Flannel Plaid Pant. DT1800, shorts option District -Juniors Flannel Plaid Boxer. DT2801, and shorts District – Young Mens Flannel Plaid Boxer. DT1801. Each of these apparel items are 100% cotton and we are using our Goof Proof screen printed transfers which are perfect for this fabric type.

Male Black Plaid Flannel Shorts - Transfer Express Apparel

Outlined word with show-through middle. There is both white and gold in the outline, Layout: QAL-1

If you want the plaid pattern of the shorts to show somewhere in your custom design, leave blank spaces where no ink will be printed. Here, we left the center of the word “SENIOR” show-through, where there is no ink inside of the word. As you can see from the image, this allows the pattern of the shorts to show through as part of the design.


Choose colors that will not blend in with the pattern. The left image stands out more with the the white ink. Layout QLG-75

We applied two of the same design to the same pants style. The only difference between these images is that the image to the left uses mostly white and the image to the right uses mainly navy. As you can see from the pictures, both designs and colors look great, but the white shows better on the darker plaid pattern.


Outlines help the color stand out more from the pattern. Single colors can make the design blend with the pattern.

Since the plaid pattern is so strong, it is a good idea to have multiple ink colors so there can be an outline. In the pictures above, the image all the way on the left only uses white ink. Just using the one ink color makes the design fade into the plaid pattern, making it less visible on the apparel. By adding both white and navy in the center and right design, the design image is much more visible on the plaid pattern.

Below, are all of the designs shown on the plaid patterns that they were heat applied to. Use this as a reference to compare your customization options when heat applying on top of a strong fabric pattern.


All of the heat applied transfers on plaid fabric that we have covered. Compare each to help you determine what will work best for your design.

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