How To Pick The Right T-shirt
One question we often get at Extra Graphic is “How do I pick the right t-shirt for my project?” With so many options that are now available, it can be extremely confusing. Our team has over 80 years of combined experience in apparel decorating and promotional branding, so we can offer some insight and help you make the best decisions for your t-shirt project.
Consider the Weight of the T-Shirt
One of the factors that come into play when selecting the right t-shirt for your project’s needs is the t-shirt weight. This can range from very light (3.4 oz) to a more standard (5.5 oz) up to the heavy (6.107.1 oz). Factors to think about when it comes to the weight of the shirt include:
- Who is going to be wearing a t-shirt?- When looking at weight, consider the end-use. You want your end-user to love and wear their shirt multiple times, and not just wear it once then delegate it to sleepwear in the end. A light material might be considered for someone like a marathon runner. A heavier material or a cotton/polyester blend might be best for events with children as they resist wear and tear and staining better.
- Is the t-shirt going to be worn in cool or warm weather?- You will not want a heavier t-shirt if it’s going to be worn in warmer weather. Try considering a lightweight material instead.
Types Of T-Shirts
At Extra Graphic, we group t-shirts into 5 basic tiers based upon the type of materials used, the brand name, the point of manufacture, and how well we have found the shirts to print and last over time. We recommend going with the best quality shirt that fits your budget. The goal of your printed apparel is to have a comfortable shirt with a great print that will be worn often.
- Standard Cotton T-shirts
Standard cotton t-shirts are 5.0 – 6.5 ounces in weight and are considered “Heavyweight”. This type of cotton is just a step above raw cotton, they’re not as fine or as soft. The common brands for these shirts are as follows:
- Port & Co. Essential
- Hanes Tagless
- Gildan 2000
- Gildan 5000
Standard shirts are great for workwear or when a thicker, heavier shirt is needed.
- Premium Soft Cotton T-shirts
Ringspun or “Combed Cotton” shirts are made with a higher grade of cotton with stronger, tighter fibers and are lighter weight. Our favorite brands are:
- Bella+Canvas 3001
- American Apparel 2001
- District 6000
These are considered “fashion-forward” in the cut which means a more form-fitting, tighter fit.
- Premium Cotton/Polyester blend T-shirts
These shirts combine high-quality ringspun cotton with polyester. Common blends are:
Blending cotton & polyester increases strength, decreases weight, and adds to the softness. These shirts are breathable and soft, and last forever! Most of those thin & soft vintage shirts from the 80s are a cotton/poly blend. These blends also have the advantage of reducing sweating and showing fewer stains. One downside on these blends is they aren’t the best for discharge printing and are best for a lighter / muted color print.
Common brands used in printing would be as follows:
- Bella+Canvas 3650 (52/4)
- Next Level Cotton/Poly 6200 (65/35)
- CVC 6210 (60/40)
- Super Premium / Tri-blend / fashion T-shirts
Another option is the super-duper, crazy soft Tri-blend shirt. This fabric is made up of ringspun cotton, polyester, and rayon.
Popular versions of these are:
- Bella+Canvas 3413
- Next Level 6010
- American Apparel’s TR401 aka the “Track Tee”
These tri-blends generally are available in Crewnecks and V-Necks in Men’s & Women’s sizes. Some other styles like tank tops, racerbacks, deep V necks, scoop necks, and youth styles are available as well.
While these shirts feel amazing they are pricey, about double the price of most other t-shirts. We have also found they do not last as long as 100% cotton or cotton/poly blend shirts. Tri-blends are notorious for “piling” where small balls of the fabric start to appear on the shirts after a few months. The only other downside on these is they do not discharge well and are best for a light / muted vintage style of print.
- Polyester / dri-fit / performance T-shirts
For physical activity or working out, 100% polyester or poly-blend shirts are the best choices. Sometimes referred to as “Dri-Fit” these are great at keeping your body cool. The polyester fabric does not absorb sweat like cotton will, but instead pulls or “wicks” moisture away from the skin and onto the fabric which allows it to evaporate on the material instead of on the skin. This creates a sort of mini cooling system under the shirt, and also helps prevent against having a sweat-stained t-shirt!
How Many T-Shirts Should I Order?
Ordering one t-shirt versus ordering several t-shirts plays a huge role in the cost of your project. Because it takes time to make a screen and set up the machine, it’s more expensive to print smaller quantities of t-shirts. We recommend ordering a larger quantity of t-shirts to help lower your cost per t-shirt printed.
Why Choose Extra Graphic For Your Screen Printing?
- We’ve been custom screen printing for over 15 years now and we know the ins and outs of making your design look its best with any style of printing we offer.
- We offer a large selection of apparel styles for printing.
- We strive to give you the best-printed apparel possible.
- We’re affordably priced.
- You can order anytime, we’ll keep pace with your schedule.
- Fast Turnaround! Most orders are ready in 7-10 business days.
There are many styles and options available for your screen-printed project. We at Extra Graphic are always happy to offer advice on what type of t-shirt will best fit your project and your budget. You are also more than welcome to stop by our studio to see and feel the difference in the materials we offer for yourself.
Call us for more info at (619)-354-XTRA today!