How The Weight of a T-shirt Affects Its Quality

 How The Weight of a T-shirt Affects Its Quality

Even though t-shirts aren’t rocket science, the market is flooded with a dizzying assortment of alternatives, and anyone who has spent even a few minutes browsing a screen printer’s catalog or looking for wholesale t-shirts will attest to this. If you know what to look for, you won’t end up with a garment that will end up in the trash or at the bottom of the hamper next time. Fabric weight and fiber will be the subjects of this post. Even if you don’t realize it, you probably already have a favorite weight and fabric that influences the shirts you choose to wear in the morning!

Fabric Weight

Oz/sqm is fabric weight (in the US, anyway). Heavy shirts were good when Baby Boomers wore protest t-shirts; light shirts were cheap.

Heavier shirts (5.5 oz.-6.1 oz.) are warmer and more durable. If you are looking for one, our best recommendation is the Gildan G500. Some folks would rather have a nice shirt than one that’s tear-resistant. If so, you’ll want a 3 oz. to 5.4 oz. shirt. 

  • 100% Fiber Cotton

Cotton is grown globally. Dry heat. Before becoming unpleasant, it can take in and release a modest amount of moisture. Pima and Egyptian cotton have soft, silky hands. Under a microscope, a cotton fiber looks toothy. If you spin it into yarn, you get cheap, scratchy cotton. Most freebie shirts, gym class t-shirts, and event shirts were probably made of this. They’re not unwearable or uncomfortable, but they get stiff and scratchy after washing. Renowned brands like Gildan, Fruit of the Loom, etc. make these affordable shirts. Since most custom t-shirt orders strive to maximize the budget for several shirts, these are the most prevalent styles.

The fabric of the shirt defines its caliber. The majority of shirts are composed entirely of cotton, 100% polyester, or a combination of both (sometimes with rayon, viscose, spandex, or another third material worked in).

  • Polyester

Polyester is spun plastic. This makes them perfect for sports because they don’t absorb water. Any performance/moisture-wicking/drift/marketing slogan fabric is certainly polyester (maybe with some spandex). These clothes are cool. Light, flowy, and sweat-free. Cons include stinking more quickly than cotton (a wash will fix it), snagging/tearing more readily than cotton, and appearing odd when not engaging in any athletic activity.

  • Lycra/Spandex

Spandex is typically added in modest amounts (less than 5% of the fabric) to enhance the stretch. This is common in women’s sportswear. Spandex is the reason why some shirts from brands like Nike and Under Armour hug the body while others drape loosely; if you’ve ever noticed this, it’s because of the material.

  • Viscose/Rayon

Rayon or viscose blended with cotton and polyester gives shirts a smooth, vintage feel. Triblends are cotton, polyester, and another material. These are often lightweight fabrics and athletic-cut shirts.

Shirts with ringspun and combed cotton are finer. Before making yarn, the cotton goes through a process that leaves the fibers smoother and softer. That’s why (most) pricey retail shirts feel softer. This works for thick cotton shirts (like the 6.1-oz Hanes Beefy T) and lightweight ones (like American Apparel’s 2001 version).

  • Blends

Blended shirts combine textiles. Most fabrics are 50/50 (cotton/poly). It’s neither as warm as cotton nor as moisture-wicking as polyester, but it will process more sweat on a hot day and keep you warmer on a chilly one. It also resists snags better and doesn’t stink as soon. Style-wise, cotton, and polyester make the perfect combination for a t-shirt. Cotton and polyester provide the Heather shirts’ speckled, clashing interior colors. Rayon, viscose, or other materials can also be a great addition to blends for diverse results.

Do You Know Which Shirt Is Most Suitable For You?

The only thing that matters is what you prefer, and there are no hard and fast rules to follow. Some examples: Older males prefer heavier cotton, whereas younger clients are more interested in lightweight blends; while younger customers prefer lighter weights. The purpose for which you’re wearing it is likewise an important consideration. In the case of a carpenter, you may want to go with heavier-weight cotton that is more resistant to tearing, like Gildan G500. Even though it would be ideal from a performance aspect, our military clients cannot wear moisture-wicking clothing because of the danger of the plastic fibers melting to the skin in an explosion. In addition, you can also buy wholesale t-shirts to start your brand.

However, for the majority of us, it’s all about the sensation. Ask yourself how heavy you prefer your shirts to be based on the first header above, and then figure out what fabric is most likely to suit you based on the second. The possibilities are endless. It will definitely take some effort, but you will find a t-shirt that is perfect for you.


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