What fabric are T-shirts made from: types, description, pros and cons

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Published: 07/21/2021

Reading time: 2 min



T-shirt fabric can be any type of fabric. The main thing is that the material meets certain requirements: it stretches, gently hugs the figure - sometimes this is not a necessary condition - and does not hinder movements. Both natural and artificial materials are used to sew the product.

  • 1 Required characteristics
  • 2 Natural materials
  • 3 Artificial fabrics
  • 4 Mixed composition
  • 5 What to look for when purchasing a T-shirt
  • 6 Conclusion

Required characteristics

T-shirt fabric is called by different names. More precisely, flax, cotton, kulirka, and other types can be used as the latter. But regardless of the chosen option, the canvas must meet certain characteristics.

A quality item can be sewn from fabric that meets the following requirements:

  • high content of natural fibers;
  • environmental Safety;
  • breathability;
  • hygroscopicity;
  • wear resistance.

Fact! When choosing textiles for sewing items, look at the density indicator. For summer, an indicator in the range of 90-150 g/m² is suitable.

Natural materials

The fabrics from which T-shirts are made may have a natural composition.

High-quality clothes are made from linen. The material is characterized by excellent hygroscopicity and strength. The material is perfect for hot weather. But linen also has its drawback: the linen wrinkles a lot.

A popular material option for sewing T-shirts, in particular polos, is cotton. This variety is used more often than flax due to its characteristics.

Cotton is a universal fabric, so both men's and women's sports shirts and T-shirts for everyday wear are made from it.

The fabric is easy to care for - easy to wash and iron at any temperature. It is characterized by high strength indicators - withstands frequent washing. The next thing that makes cotton the most common fabric for sewing T-shirts is its hypoallergenicity. It does not cause irritation and is comfortable to wear. In addition, cotton is characterized by a high level of hygroscopicity.

How to choose T-shirts for printing?

Today's market for promotional products offers the consumer such a wide range that the price of a simple T-shirt can range from one hundred and fifty rubles to a thousand. How can you understand and correctly explain to the client why, for example, a T-ball costs two hundred rubles, and an American T is three times more expensive? Let's try to figure it out.

Let's start with the obvious: with what the customer can see and touch with his hands.

Material Density

Everything here is quite simple and clear: a T-shirt with a density of 190 g/m2 will be more expensive than an analogue with a density of 150 g/m2. By the way, what do these numbers mean? A square meter of canvas weighs 190 grams. This characteristic is easy to check yourself: cut a square with a side of 20 cm from a T-shirt, weigh it, multiply the resulting value by 25 and compare the result with the stated indicators.

However, density is not everything. A thin T-shirt can be more comfortable on the body, durable and long lasting. After all, a lot depends on other factors, which are not so easy to assess by appearance.

Cotton quality

The production of a T-shirt begins with white fluffy clumps of cotton growing in the fields.

The cotton is collected in bales, taken to factories, where it is cleaned of seeds and impurities, and then combed. During the combing process, the fibers are sorted into longer and shorter ones. Combed cotton threads are spun from long threads - tight and dense, thin but durable. And short fibers produce looser and fluffier threads of carded yarn. For the same weight, a more expensive combed cotton T-shirt will be more durable, and the printed image will adhere better to a smooth, thick fabric.

But a carded cotton T-shirt is also suitable for printing: its hairiness can be reduced by treating it with silicone and enzymes. These substances make the fabric soft (similar to fabric softener in a washing machine), and also act like a chemical peel (much like products in beauty salons). They remove excess lint from the fabric, preparing it for printing.

How can you tell carded cotton from combed cotton by eye? Yes, perhaps not at all: processed carded yarn can confuse even a specialist. So we can only hope for the integrity of the supplier, which means working with trusted companies.

Preliminary heat shrinkage of the fabric

This is another characteristic that you will not see with your eyes, but will appreciate only after the first wash. If the fabric is heat-shrinkable, the T-shirt will not shrink a size after your client washes it. Of course, if he follows the instructions on the label, because not all T-shirts can be washed at 60°C. Most often, the recommended temperature is 30 – 40 °C. Although there are exceptions: Master and American T T-shirts can be safely washed at 60 °C.

Cut and seams

Now let's get back to what is visible to the naked eye. As you know, T-shirts can be seamless or tailored.

You will find both options in our range. Let's look at them one by one. What are the benefits of seamless T-shirts? The absence of seams gives more freedom when developing a layout. You and your customer can bring any design idea to life: print in a circle, in a spiral, whatever you like! Well, if your client thinks in rational categories, draw his attention to how easy it is to iron such a T-shirt: after washing, it will not need to be aligned along the seams on the ironing board. But an ironed promotional T-shirt is part of the success of an advertising campaign.

But a T-shirt with seams, of course, also has its advantages. It is cut not like a trumpet, but taking into account the curves of the figure, which is especially important for women, but often important for men as well. This T-shirt fits better, hugging the torso and emphasizing its advantages. And one more little secret: the sleeves of cut and seamless T-shirts are made differently. In cut-out T-shirts, they are tapered and beautifully outline a man's biceps and triceps. Pay attention to the Regent Fit and Imperial Fit T-shirts, which were created by French fashion designers from Sol's. These are more aesthetic (fitted, with tapered sleeves) versions of the popular Regent and Imperial promotional T-shirts.

A little more about the cut. If you look closely at the American T T-shirt, you can easily see that the shoulder seams are slightly forward. Thanks to this little trick, the T-shirt fits perfectly on any figure. Also pay attention to the elastic collar of this T-shirt. It seems completely normal, but try to stretch it and you will feel how much the elastic resists stretching. This is because the fabric in this place is folded four times, and not two, like most T-shirts. This elastic band is much stronger and retains its shape longer.

What else makes a T-shirt more durable, better quality? Double stitched seams on the shoulder, collar and armhole. From an aesthetic point of view, some people like stitching, others don’t, but from a technological point of view, such seams are definitely stronger.

And, of course, when choosing a promotional T-shirt, you should pay attention to the availability of paired models in order to dress both men and women in products of the same color and quality.

For some customers, it is important that the T-shirt does not have a manufacturer's label: no label models are presented in the collections of the Sol's, B&C, T-bolka and Molti brands. The size and care labels remain on the product. Organic cotton T-shirts are also becoming increasingly popular. The demand for them is primarily generated by companies that care about preserving the planet’s natural resources. When sewing such products, we use cotton grown using methods that do not harm the environment (without insecticides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers) and hand-picked. Textiles that are often dyed with natural rather than chemical dyes are often classified as real organic cotton.

Let's once again briefly list what you can pay attention to when comparing T-shirts based on price/quality parameters:

  • fabric density;
  • combed cotton (“T-bolka 160”, Imperial, American T and others);
  • double stitching of seams (“T-bolt 140”, “Ti-bolt 160”, “Ti-bolt 180”);
  • seamless T-shirts for bold designs (“T-shirt 140”, “T-shirt 160”, Regent, Imperial);
  • tailored T-shirts that fit the figure (Regent Fit, Imperial Fit);
  • male and female models (Regent/Miss, Imperial/Imperial Women, American U/Ladies American U, E150 Organic).

Don’t forget about such an important aspect as quality certificates and compliance with standards. All T-shirts from the Project 111 assortment have certificates of conformity of the EAC Customs Union. Sol's and Harvest T-shirts are certified according to European OEKO TEX standards.

We hope we were able to make the task of choosing T-shirts easier for you. In two weeks, we'll talk about a product that is often paired with T-shirts - baseball caps. Do not miss!

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Artificial fabrics

Viscose is a fabric of artificial origin. T-shirts are made from it less often, which is due to the fragility of the material. Among the advantages, it is worth highlighting good hygroscopicity and breathability. Viscose is pleasant to the body. It's not hot in there.

Fact! Manufacturers offer a modified variety of viscose. Denoted by "modal". The canvas is more durable and fits better on the figure.

But viscose also has its disadvantages. T-shirts are made from fabric, but you need to be prepared for the fact that the product will need delicate care. The material wrinkles a lot and is easily deformed when wet. If the washing temperature is incorrectly selected, it shrinks and quickly fades in the sun.

Polyester is a completely synthetic fabric, but of excellent quality. Often used for sewing sportswear, including T-shirts. The material, despite its artificial origin, has quite a lot of advantages.

Polyester is characterized by increased strength and, accordingly, is wear-resistant. The fabric is easy to care for. Reacts well to weak alkalis and is not destroyed by acids.


Anastasia Kukushkina

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