Even though picking the suitable fabric for bulk t-shirt printing can be challenging, there are various fabrics you can choose from, each with unique properties that suit different purposes.
It is helpful to know what your t-shirts are made of or what combination is best, as some fabrics are ideal for warm weather, while others work better in colder conditions.
But before trying out different t-shirt material combinations, check out the most popular materials for t-shirts.
Polyester is the most popular synthetic fabric in the world. It is a petroleum-based material with the following characteristics:
- Easy to care for
- Extremely durable
Polyester is used by athletic apparel companies due to its versatility and high durability. Moreover, this fabric holds printed designs well and dries quickly.
Cotton is the world’s most widely used natural fabric, and no t-shirt fabric guide would be complete without it. That’s why it is often called the ‘king of all fabrics.’ Some of the best characteristics of cotton are:
In the print-on-demand world, cotton is very popular. Whether you choose organic cotton, ring-spun, combed and ring-spun cotton, or slub cotton, there is no way you could go wrong. The ink sets into the fibers amazingly well, making cotton custom shirts a great canvas for any of your designs.
Linen is a natural fabric best suited for summer because it is created from flax plant fibers and features a textured weave. Linen’s best characteristics include the following:
- Dries quickly
- Extremely durable
Linen will get softer with every wash, so there is no need to use fabric softeners, as water alone will do it. Linen works great for warm weather because it is lightweight, breathable, and durable, keeping you cool in the summer.
The Best Fabric Combinations for T-Shirts
While poly-blend first referred to combining two or more polyester materials, now it is more common to blend polyester with natural fibers. By combining them, the textile industry produces fabrics that have properties unachievable with either fiber alone. If you are choosing a durable t-shirt, poly-blend is the way to go. The most common fabric blends are:
- Cotton/spandex blend: more wrinkle-resistant and elastic than cotton alone
- Cotton/spandex blend/polyester: this blend is more comfortable and stretchy, and it will not wrinkle easily
- Rayon/polyester blend: it’s more comfortable and softer than polyester alone
- Polyester/viscose blend: this blend is resistant to shrinking, is strong, and the viscose adds softness.
- Tri-blends: typically made from polyester, cotton, and rayon mixes, they take on the best qualities of every fabric. It is lightweight, like rayon, but has all the softness of cotton. Such a combination can be a bit more expensive than other fabrics due to the higher-quality materials used in the blend.
Fabric combinations sometimes reduce costs, but it is also an excellent way of improving the fabric’s texture, performance, and feel.
The Most Common Blend Ratios
Generally, blend ratios vary from producer to producer, but the most common blend rations are as follows:
- 80% polyester/ 20% cotton blend: this is a popular blend for athletic wear. Apparel made from this blend is versatile, soft, and easy to take care of.
- 90% cotton/ 10% polyester blend: This blend is commonly used for t-shirts, since it’s breathable, comfortable, and soft..
- 52% cotton/48% polyester blend: This blend is ideal for casual wear because it is lightweight, comfortable, durable, and dries quickly. Moreover, it is less likely to shrink than pure cotton.
However, these are only some fabric combinations you will see on the market. Other standard blends are:
- 65% polyester / 35% cotton
- 75% polyester / 25% cotton
- 65% cotton / 35% polyester
- 50% cotton / 50% polyester
As you can see, the world of fabrics is colorful, vast, and full of options. And as technology evolves, so do t-shirt fabrics.