“Grow With Me – Class Of” Shirts
“Class of” shirts are a staple t-shirt for most graduating seniors. If you’re an apparel decorator, you’re probably familiar with the request you get each year for the new incoming class.
Recently, there has been a rising trend for a new type of “Class of” shirt.
But before we get to the new trend, let’s start with the basics – the standard “Class of” tees.
What is a “Class Of” Shirt?
“Class of” shirts are pretty standard for most high schools. It is simply a shirt that has each class’ graduating year on it. It is their “class”.
There are all sorts of designs and creativity that can go into a “Class of” shirt.
Like most custom t-shirts, “class of” shirts mark something big and memorable. It is the pride that each class has.
Graduation day is a big event for graduating high school seniors.
It is both a culmination of achievements and a new beginning.
A lot of hard work goes into the 13+ years it takes to graduate at the end of high school.
Many graduation ceremonies are also called commencement, and for a good reason.
Commencement is the start or a beginning. It’s the start of a new stage in the graduate’s life, as we have probably all heard in the inspirational speeches given from a valedictorian, principle, or other guest speaker.
In other words, graduation celebrates all of the hard work of “getting the job done”, but also recognizes that a new part of life is beginning and the ceremony “sends off” the graduates on their way.
At the beginning of the school year or near the end of the year, most high school seniors receive a commemorative t-shirt with the ever-popular “Class Of” design on it.
As a custom apparel decorator, you see a lot of custom shirts that go through your shop that have a deeper meaning. Custom shirts aren’t always just a t-shirt.
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Instead, it’s part of an event that people will remember for the rest of their life; a tee-ball player’s first team shirt, a fundraiser for a family member battling cancer, a retirement party for decades of hard work of a co-worker, friend, or family member.
These events are what make the t-shirt worth something more to the person wearing it.
I think “Class Of” shirts are one of these instances that capture a lot more meaning behind the design.
It’s all the hard work, sweat, tears, and laughter that bind all of the classmates together in their common, but very different, experiences throughout the years of school.
Besides the popular “Class Of” shirts for graduating years like seniors, kindergartners, 5th graders, 8th graders, etc., a new growing trend is a shirt that sticks with a student throughout all of their years as a student.
These shirts are commonly known as “grow with me” shirts.
What are “Grow with Me” T-Shirts?
“Grow with me” tees got their name because they literally stay with each child as they grow up.
They get the shirt when they are young, and as they grow, they continue to wear the shirt as they grow into it.
In this case, they are “Class Of” shirts, but instead of receiving them when they are seniors in high school, they get the shirts as they start pre-school or kindergarten.
Here’s the catch.
They still have their high school graduation year on them.
The shirts though are much larger in size, which allow the students to grow into them as they get older. By the time they are seniors in high school, the shirt will fit.
What I like about this concept of a shirt, is that your “Class Of” shirt is now truly a commemorative shirt of all the years of hard work to graduate.
Graduation is the result of a bunch of little achievements added up over the years, and the “grow with me” tees are a symbol of all those achievements along the way.
The shirt is there with each student every step of the way and, in a lot of cases, in lots of photos throughout the years, too.
Some versions of the “grow with me” shirts even have a “timeline” on the back for each grade, which allow for some sort of addition each year, such as a handprint.
How to Print “Grow with Me” Tees
As a custom apparel decorator, printing these “grow with me” shirts is easy.
You still have your normal “Class of” design on the front.
There are dozens of “Class of” layout choices in Easy View, our online designer, to customize for this design.
Pick a layout, and customize it with the year of their high school graduation. Don’t forget, this year will be several years out, about 13, if they are starting in kindergarten.
For the back, you can easily customize each child’s shirt with their first name using Express Names.
Below the name, add an easy design from Easy View that allows for extra customization for each year. Just leave a blank space for each grade.
You can get started quickly with our pre-made layout, just for this purpose, QCO-106. Log in to Easy View and search for QCO-106.
Our screen printed transfers are 11.25″ x 14″. If you need this design larger than that to have extra blank space for each grade, you can add space during the pressing process. For now, order your design with them condensed on the page.
Then, when you go to heat apply the transfers, simply cut the design into “strips” to add extra space between the rows of grades.
That way, you can make a larger design on the back of the shirt, but still use the transfer size that is available.
Pick a white, or other light color, shirt to use. This will allow for the extra customization over the years, whether it is with fabric markers or fabric paint, for each grade.
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Some ideas for customization could be adding a handprint, an outline of their hand, a small list of achievements for that year, etc.
Since all the kids are just in kindergarten, it will be hard to know what size they will be by the time they are seniors. Therefore, just use size large for all of them.
In some cases, some parents may request an XL or XXL, but that can be upon request. Using screen printed transfers and printing on demand will allow for that easy change as needed.