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  • Writer's pictureAmy Cone

Fabric types 101:


When choosing a shirt, deciding on the right material to screen print on can be just as important as creating a design. At All-County Apparel we have always believed that t-shirts should feel just as good as they look. That’s why we take the extra time to explain the pros and cons of each fabric, so that you can find the right balance of comfort, fit and wash-ability for your screen printing or embroidery project.

Fabric Type: 100% Cotton

Material: a soft natural fiber found in most t-shirts.

Cotton is definitely the most common material to find in a t-shirt. It has a nice mix of softness, affordability, and breath-ability for casual wear. Cotton also has different kinds, like combed/ring spun cotton and organic cotton. One of the biggest downsides to 100% cotton is that it shrinks after the first warm wash. There are brands that will offer a "pre-shrunk" 100% cotton tee to help avoid sizing issues.

Fabric Type: POLYESTER

Material: a man-made synthetic fiber.

Polyester is the go-to choice for many looking for sports apparel. This material is quick-drying, breathable, doesn’t wrinkle easily, and holds it’s shape well when washed. Though it’s a good choice for athletic wear, polyester isn’t usually as comfortable as cotton or linen materials.

Fabric Type: RAYON

Material: man-made material from a blend of cotton, trees and woody plants.

This fabric was first made as a cheaper version of silk and has a very smooth feel to it. Like polyester, rayon is a good material for athletic and outdoor wear because of its lightweight feel. One of the downsides to rayon is that it doesn’t tend to last well over time and can become wrinkled with repeated wears.


Material: usually a 50/50 mix of polyester and cotton, but can vary at 65/35 ratio too.

Poly/Cotton combines the best qualities of polyester and cotton into a breathable yet soft shirt. This type of fabric has proven to be a crowd favorite with our customers since it's super soft but can often be cheaper than 100% cotton. Poly/Cotton blends also tend to hold their shape well compared to other fabrics.

Fabric Type: TRI-BLENDS

Material: a blend of three fabrics, most typically cotton, polyester and rayon.

The tri-blend is exactly what you might guess: a hybrid of three different fabrics weaved together. The advantage of a hybrid is that it can adopt some of the best qualities of the other fabrics, like the lightweight feel of rayon but the softness of cotton. We’ve found that tri-blends can offer a really nice balance between style, comfort and durability in t-shirts. 

When it comes to your screen printing project, you should choose the material that best suits the person who will be wearing it. There is no “one fabric to rule them all” -- just the best fabric for your shirt.


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