Cotton T-Shirt Fabrics

Cotton is by far the most popular of T-Shirt Fabrics. It is soft, sturdy and breathable. It is also usually very affordable. Cotton is a casual fabric that is ideal for everyday wear. There are several types of cotton fabric that are used in apparel, and each one differs slightly. Most cotton shirts are pre-shrunk, meaning that the fabric has been put through a machine that pushes the fibers tightly together, condensing the fabric by removing the space between the stitches. In essence, replicating the shrinking process. However, pre-shrunk unfortunately does not mean your shirt will not shrink at all. It simply means that most of the shrinkage has been taken out. This can sometimes be misleading. Most fabric will shrink, on average 3 to 7 percent, which is not something that most people would even notice when it comes to fit.

Organic Cotton T-Shirt Fabrics

Organic cotton is grown in such a way that it does not impact the environment. The cotton is grown with minimal use of fertilizers and pesticides and are colored using natural dyes. However, because of the strict growing practices, organic cotton can be slightly more expensive than regular cotton. An added bonus to organic cotton is that not only will you be part of an eco-movement towards more sustainable practices, you will have a very soft and comfortable shirt that makes a positive statement about your brand. This is an environmentally friendly choice and therefore organic cotton T-Shirt Fabrics are a popular choice with environmental groups and those who promote a sustainable lifestyle.

Combed Cotton

Combed cotton is a very comfortable and popular fabric. It is made by specially treating the cotton fibers before spinning them into yarn. Fine brushes are used to get rid of short strands and straighten the fibers. The result is stronger and smother fabric. Combed cotton tends to be slightly more expensive than regular cotton, but the softness of the fabric makes up for the cost.

Pima Cotton

Pima cotton is considered the best cotton t-shirt fabrics available. This type of cotton is made from extra-long fibers, which make it extremely soft and durable. Pima resists pilling, fading, and stretching; even after multiple washes. The highest-quality cotton. Pima is the generic form of extra-long-fiber cotton grown in the United States, Australia, and South America. Supima is the trademarked name for 100 percent American-grown Pima cotton. Both resist pilling, fading, and stretching and get softer with wear

Ring Spun Cotton

Ring-spun cotton is created by continuously twisting and thinning the cotton strands, making a very fine rope of cotton fibers. The twisting makes the short hairs of the cotton stand out, resulting in a stronger yarn that is significantly softer. Additionally the number of times you twist the fiber determines how soft the fabric is. In many instances you will see ring-spun described as “30 Singles Ring-Spun”. This term is used to indicate the diameter of the yarn. The higher the number, the thinner the yarn and the softer because it has been twisted more times.

Slub Cotton Fabrics

Slub cotton is a cotton fabric that appears to have slight lumps in the fabric. These lumps are due to the process prior to weaving the cotton where the cotton is twisted, creating irregular twists. This results in a unique fabric with a nice texture to it. Slub T Shirts are light and airy, without clinging to the body. As a bonus, it does not ever need to be ironed because it is not designed to look flat. Slub T-Shirt Fabrics are a popular choice for counter culture clients, motorcyclists and rockers.

Burn Out T-Shirt Fabrics

The burn-out fabric is designed to look vintage or worn, almost a worn out look. The Fabric is treated with a chemical process that leaves sheer patches that gives Burn-out T-Shirt fabrics an edgy look. Popular in ladies cuts because of it’s sheer and sexy look.

Polyester T-Shirt Fabrics

Polyester is a synthetic material that is used in a variety of T Shirt fabrics. Polyester can be breathable, making it ideal to use in a lot of performance wear. Some polyester shirts will say that they are moisture wicking, meaning that they have been treated to dry quickly and wick (pull) moisture away from the skin. Polyester is an extremely strong fabric with many advantages. It is quick drying, does not mold or mildew, wrinkle resistant and is very easy to machine wash and dry. Another advantage to a polyester shirt is the increased durability, it is an extremely strong fabric that can hold up to a lot of wear and tear. These T-Shirt Fabrics are very popular with sports  teams and outdoor workers. The fabric will not absorb body moisture and therefore wicks it away, creating a cooling effect for the wearer.

ST350LS Polyester Performance T-Shirt Fabrics from ArtLab Melbourne Palm Bay FL

ST350LS Polyester Performance T-Shirt Fabrics from ArtLab Melbourne Palm Bay FL

Blended T-Shirt Fabrics

Often T Shirts are a combination of two or three different materials. Some of the more popular examples of this are a Cotton/Polyester blend or a Cotton/Polyester/Rayon blend (tri-blend). When you combine fabrics you end up with the best qualities from each fabric. A Cotton/Polyester blend results in a fabric that remains cool and light from the cotton fabric, yet also has the strength and wrinkle resistance of the polyester. Cotton/Polyester/Rayon blends have the comfort of cotton, shape retention of the polyester and the addition of rayon allows the fabric to drape against the body for a slimming look.


Another factor to consider when looking for the perfect T Shirt Fabrics is the weight of the shirt. T Shirt weights range from the very light (3.4 oz) to a more standard (5.5 oz) on up to the heavy (6.1 oz to 7.1 oz) shirts. The weight you choose may depend on a couple of different factors.

  • Is this shirt going to be used in warm or cool weather? You would obviously want a lighter weight shirt if you are going to be in a warmer climate.
  • The amount of money you would like to spend on your T Shirts. The heavier weight shirts tend to have a higher perceived value but could cost as much as a lighter brand name shirt. It is something to consider when looking at the heavier shirts.
  • Who is going to be wearing these shirts? A heavy weight shirt may not be appropriate if you are buying shirts for a 5K. You would want a light weight shirt that is going to wick away moisture. Maybe even a performance or athletic wear shirt. You want your end user to keep and wear multiple times. You should always keep the end use in mind when looking at weights.

    PC61 family of shirts 100% cotton T-Shirt Fabrics from ArtLab Melbourne Palm Bay FL

    PC61 family of shirts 100% cotton T-Shirt Fabrics from ArtLab Melbourne Palm Bay FL

The Ideal Fabric for Your T Shirt

At ArtLab T-Shirts, we are here to help you make the difficult decision of which t-shirt fabrics to choose for your perfect T Shirt. The most common events that T-Shirts are made for are, large giveaways, sporting events, retail or resale, business use, School use or events geared towards children. Each one of these events would warrant a consideration of the different t-shirt fabrics.

  • Large giveaways/trade shows – If you are hosting a large giveaway you may want to look into a less expensive shirt due to the high quantity of shirts you would need. The best fit would most likely be a mid-weight, cotton shirt. You would be looking to get the most out of your money with this option. Look for lighter color t-shirts that will take a darker color print. Most t-shirt printers will offer a lower price for dark print on light color shirts.
  • Sporting event – This may depend on a few factors. If giving them away to spectators, you may want a less expensive shirt (see above). However, if you are hosting a sporting event where the participants will be wearing your shirt, you may want to look into a shirt geared towards performance. A light to mid-weight polyester performance shirt would be great for this! Spending a little more money on a performance t-shirt will generate more impressions for your brand due to the continued use by the end user.
  • Resale or retail – Someone looking to sell T-Shirts with their logo or embellishment on them should consider a shirt that is trendier and more fashionable. Perhaps a softer shirt. A lighter weight tee in a ring spun cotton or a tri-blend would be your best option to cater towards the young and hip. If your target group is outdoor enthusiasts and environmentally conscience then an organic cotton is a sure fire winner.
  • Business Use – looking to outfit your staff in a uniform tee? Depending on where they work, indoors or out, at a desk or on the run? A wide variety of t-shirt fabrics can be considered. Indoors a comfortable soft cotton would be choice. Outdoor workers would appreciate a cooling performance tee of polyester fabric.
  • Schools or an Event with Children – ArtLab recommends the option of a cotton/poly blend here. Because a simple 50/50 blend is affordable yet durable and they hold their color well too. A blended tee also prints with no problems. Blends are also resistant to wear and tear and stains. Buying for children can be tricky. You may think you want a heavier shirt that is more durable, but keep in mind that if children will be playing in these shirts outside, they will get hot. Blends are the best of both worlds, giving the comfort of cotton and the durability of polyester.

Contact our knowledgable staff today and we will help you choose the ideal t-shirt fabrics for your next project. 321-984-8844 ArtLab T-Shirts, serving Palm Bay, Melbourne and the Brevard Beaches!