Fabrics 101

Let’s get into fabric types, and how to choose from the hundreds of styles and brands!

When it comes to picking out garments for your custom apparel project, there is a lot to learn. After all, not all shirts are made, feel, cost, or look the same. When it comes to screen printing, the different inks require heat to “cure” onto the fabric in order to withstand the wear and tear, along with the cleaning and washing every garment will have to go through. We will go over the 3 most popular fabric make-ups, and rate them from 1 to 10 in each of the 4 most important categories.

100% COTTON

The most popular, and widely available printable fabric is 100% cotton. Wether they are combed cotton or ring-spun cotton, these garments have been used the most for custom printed garments. With a high tolerance for heat, it is a perfect fabric for screen printing, come in many styles and colors, and have the lowest price points available.

  • PRICING- 10 of 10

  • PRINTABILITY- 10 of 10

  • FASHION & COMFORT- 7 of 10 for Combed Cotton, and 8 of 10 for Ring-Spun Cotton

  • AVAILABILITY- 10 of 10

CVC & HEATHER

CVC fabric is a result of polyester and cotton blending in the certain proportion. Interwoven CVC fabrics are characterized by enlarged percentage of cotton yarn that provides better hygienic properties in comparison with TC fabrics and better strength characteristics in comparison with 100% cotton fabrics. Polyester is a synthetic fabric, which is stronger and does not wrinkle or tear as easily as cotton. Because polyester is more resistive to inks, and cannot withstand heat as well as cotton, it is more difficult to screen print on these types of fabrics. The higher amount of polyester in a blended garment, the more difficult it is to print on these fabrics. We have noticed more color and styles being made within the past 10 years, but they are still limited in color options compared to the 100% cotton garments. Because these types of fabrics are used on more fashion forward styles, the price points are higher than the standard cotton tees and affect our rating in that category.

  • PRICING- 8 of 10

  • PRINTABILITY- 6 of 10

  • FASHION & COMFORT- 8 of 10

  • AVAILABILITY- 6 of 10

TRI-BLENDS

Tri-blends as you might have guessed from the name is the blending of three different fabrics. While a regular t-shirt is 100% cotton, tri-blend tees are 50% polyester, 25% cotton, and 25% Rayon which makes them some of the softest printable fabrics on the market. We noticed the trend of fashion cut garments being made out of this Tri-blend fabric a whole lot more than the standard cut garments, so when it comes to retail fashion fit garments, these Tri-blends are ranked at the top of our Fashion & Comfort category. As you can imagine, with the high ranking in fashion cut and comfort, it will also rank as the most expensive type of garment on the market. The availability of different colors and styles are also much more limited on these garments, and so pushing our ranking of availability down to the lowest rank of the other types of garments. And as far as printability goes, these garments cannot withstand much heat at all without special additives introduced to our inks. Bringing their ranking of printability down the most of all the garment types. We recommend printing darker ink colors on these types of garments, and limiting the color count of the design as much as possible!

  • PRICING- 5 of 10

  • PRINTABILITY- 5 of 10

  • FASHION & COMFORT- 10 of 10

  • AVAILABILITY- 5 of 10