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  • Writer's pictureAmy Cone

What is the Best T-Shirt Fabric?

When looking for the best material for your t-shirts, we know this can be an overwhelming decision. To help you out with this task, we’re going to compare the most popular t-shirt fabrics on the market. Keep reading to discover which t-shirt material would be the best option for your business or personal needs this year.

The Most Popular T-Shirt Materials

While there are dozens of potential t-shirt materials, these can generally be narrowed down to three popular choices:

  • 100% Cotton – Cotton is the most commonly used t-shirt material in the world and offers a soft and breathable solution for your printing needs. It’s a hypoallergenic material that is ideal for nearly everyone to wear and has been trusted for hundreds of years by companies and individuals worldwide.

  • 100% Polyester – If you are looking for a durable t-shirt material, you’ll find polyester to be a great choice. It’s a moisture-wicking t-shirt fabric that will always keep its shape, so you don’t have to worry about stretching or shrinking. It’s a popular option for athletic t-shirts, as it is partially odor-resistant and doesn’t stain easily.

  • Blends – The third option we see on the market today is a blend of materials. This could be 50/50, which is a mix of cotton and polyester, Chief Value Cotton (CVC), or Tri-Blend. These can offer the advantages of a variety of materials, meaning you can find a solution that’s perfect for your needs.

How to Find the Right T-Shirt Material for You

When it comes to choosing the right t-shirt material, there are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself. Think about the t-shirt qualities you are looking for and why you are making these t-shirts in the first place. The style of the t-shirt will also have an impact on the material options on offer, as will the printing method you opt for. Finally, the budget will impact which fabric you can afford so that you can mass produce t-shirts if needed for your business or family.

We recommend 100% cotton t-shirts for soft and breathable shirts that you can customize in any way that you like. However, keep in mind they can often shrink and wrinkle, so you’ll need to be wary of how you treat your new t-shirts. 100% polyester is ideal for a lightweight yet durable t-shirt. It allows moisture to evaporate quickly but is less breathable than cotton. The printing methods you can use are much more restricted with this type of material, and it can also be a little more pricey to purchase. For the perfect combination of polyester and cotton, opt for a blend. You can find a solution that fits all of your needs and that will allow you to print your desired design with no issues.

What is the Softest T-Shirt Option?

When looking for the softest t-shirt on the market, you’ll find that tri-blends usually come out on top. This combination of cotton, polyester, and rayon offers a soft t-shirt that’s ideal for everyday wear. While this fabric has only been around for about the last 15 years, it’s becoming one of the top sellers worldwide each year. Keep in mind that this fabric runs to a fashion fit, so it is slightly smaller than other materials. We recommend using direct-to-garment printing for the best results to avoid placing too much ink on the fabric.

Other Considerations When Choosing the Best T-shirt Material

There are a few other things to keep in mind when choosing the top t-shirt material. These are a few of the terms you’ll hear mentioned when comparing the options on the market today.


Most t-shirts offer some level of breathability, which refers to moving water vapor from one side to the other of the fabric. The thinner the fabric, the more breathable it will be, but you also want to look at the knit for the best results.


When comparing t-shirt drapes, it’s split into fluid, moderate, and heavy. Most average t-shirts will be moderate in drape, which shows that they will move reasonably well with your body.

Fabric Weight

The fabric weight will have a big impact on the comfort and style of the t-shirt. A lightweight shirt is between 3 and 4 oz., whereas more commonly, you’ll find t-shirts come in at 5 to 6 oz. Think about when and where you’ll be wearing the shirt to find the right fit for your needs.

Pre-Shrunk T-Shirts

The majority of cotton t-shirts come pre-shrunk, which means that the fabric is condensed. You’ll find that this helps to prevent some shrinkage, which is important for a long-lasting addition to your wardrobe.

T-Shirt Fit

T-shirt fit refers to the way in which your new t-shirt is cut. This could be a standard or fashion fit. Women often opt for the fashion fit, which is more tailored to the body, whereas larger individuals may feel more comfortable in a standard fit.

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when choosing the right t-shirt material for your upcoming print job. We’ll be happy to work with any type of material or recommend the best option for you based on your requirements. Contact us today for more information or to discuss any questions you have about the top t-shirt fabric options.


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