Ok, so I’m obsessed with good quality T-shirts. It’s so amazing because there are tons of different blends and brands out there. I can totally geek out on T-shirts so don’t even get me started!!
We had a customer who wanted to place an order for some garments. Our usual practice is, once they let us know what their logo looks like etc, then we send them our catalogue so they can choose what they want. This particular customer came back to me and said “Ola I totally have no clue where to begin because there are loads of options”. So, we exchanged some mails back and forth but I eventually had to go out to see them and show them some samples. We then narrowed things down to a few different styles that they liked.
It then occurred to me just how daunting it can be having so many options and not knowing which one to choose because, honestly, from the catalogue they all look pretty much the same. That’s why I thought it would be helpful to write a small piece outlining what to look for when choosing a good quality Tshirt. So, here are my top tips covering what to look out for when buying T-Shirts, depending of course on what the Tee or garment will be used for.
It should be 100% Cotton – this is the commonest type of T-shirt and also the most traditional. Cotton Tees are available in various brands but even the basic tees are very good for various methods of printing as the prints are almost always much more vibrant on this material. Over time cotton can have a harsh feel on the skin because of the way it is produced and there is also a good possibility of shrinkage with these types of garment after a large number of washes although this is more of a problem with some of the cheaper brands.
Ideally 100% ringspun cotton – this is a higher grade of cotton and has a softer feel to it. I like to think of it as a step up from the basic 100% cotton fabric. The price point is a tiny bit higher but it’s well worth it.
100% Polyester– These T-shirts have 2 main aspects to consider. The basic tee looks very light and has a shaky feel to it but that’s because of the composition of the garments but the material is very good with sublimation prints (ink based). The 2nd aspect is the athletic performance. Polyester fabric is very breathable and has a high wickability factor (anti-sweat). It’s mostly used by athletes and is highly recommended for marathons etc. It is not particularly great for all print types but works well with screen print and sublimation printing.
Now coming to the blends
65/35 – so that’s 65% polyester and 35% cotton. Or even 50/50. These garments suffer from less shrinkage because of the poly blend which gives them a bit less rigidity compared to 100% cotton . These can sit a bit looser on the body, but perform very well across a wide range of applications.
Triblends are is a mixture of cotton, polyester and about 4 or 5 mixes of other materials such as rayon, viscose etc. These give the cotton a really soft and nice feel to it and they sit well on the skin – they are also very easy to print on. Digital or screen prints will not be as vibrant on these blends but the Vinyls and Metallics etc are super cool! The price point on blends is a little higher as well.
One 100% cotton brand I absolutely love is the Bella Canvas brand that we carry in our catalogue It is a really good blend of fabrics and, in general, their products are on point. They really pride themselves in environmental and economic sustainability across the board and they are also fashion forward so they have different styles of fashionable T-shirts and Polos. Again, it’s higher on the price mark but, because you are building your brand you definitely build brand equity with a product like this. 😊 ( I’m not saying they are ones to go for if you don’t want too as they are more expensive but personally I love them. 😊)
Trust me, there are so many more blends like the 50/38/12’s 60/40,s 50/25/25’s (soft as butter 😍) viscose blend, free trade organic tees, Heathered Tshirts – the list seems to be endless, but don’t bug yourselves about them. (Give me a buzz and I can sort this out for you)
Generally speaking, these are the main choices when it comes to good quality branded t-shirts. Keep these tips in mind when you come to choose a tee or polo for your brand and , if you have an event coming up, or maybe you need to promote your new business venture then be sure to check out our Tshirt & garment printing service.