fabric choice for tshirts

How do I choose the right t-shirt for my clothing brand?

30th July 2017

This is probably one of the first questions you’ll ask yourself. With so many blank options available, it’s not the easiest to answer. The brand, fit and style are often a matter of personal preference.

Hopefully this guide will help you make a decision. If not we’d be happy to advise you on what T-shirt will best suit your project and your budget.

Fabric Choice Availability

There are generally 4 different fabric choices, depending on the final use.

100% Cotton

100% Ringspun Cotton

Blended (50/50 or Tri-blend)

Polyester (performance)

100% Cotton

Carded open-end cotton T-shirts are probably the most popular type of T-shirt available. They’re reasonably cheap to manufacture and are very popular with bands or for promotional events because of the affordability and very good print results.  Waterbased, plastisol and discharge inks work especially well with nearly all 100% cotton T-shirts.

Just bear in mind to allow up to 5% shrinkage after the first wash with this type of cotton garment. Although many brands now offer pre-shrunk cotton. Generally 100% cotton T-shirts are a looser, boxier fit. They’re available in loads of different colours and sizes, plus they’re not going to break the bank.

This makes 100% Cotton popular if:

You’re a band on a tight budget

You want a t-shirt that produces good print results with all types of ink

You want a style that will suit most people

Our most popular brands include:

Gildan Heavy or Ultra

Fruit of the Loom Original or value weight

AS Colour Basic Tees


100% Ring-spun Cotton

The processes for creating regular cotton and ring-spun cotton t-shirts are different. Ring-spun yarn is made by twisting and combing the strands to make very fine, strong threads of cotton. Ring spun cotton feels heavier to the touch than regular cotton, even though it isn’t. This type of t-shirt is especially suited to independent clothing companies. The fabric also feels softer and has a tighter knit compared to regular 100% Cotton. This ensures the best quality screen printing results using all ink types.

Prices vary depending on the brand you decide to go with. Entry level ringspun t-shirts can be a similar price to 100% Cotton, which is great for start-ups. But you could go for a higher quality shirt, maybe something organic, there are loads of options to choose from.

Ringspun cotton is a favourite here at Flood. They also come in a wide range of colours, styles and sizes. Sometimes called ‘fashion tees’, Ringspun is the choice for clothing companies.

Popular if:

You’re on a tight budget but want a more fashionable style of t-shirt

You want a t-shirt that will suit your clothing company

Our most popular brands include:

Stanley & Stella – Creator Tees

AS Colour – Staple Tees

Bella & Canvas – Unisex Jersey

Continental Clothing – N03 Tees

Gildan – Softstyle or Premium Tees


Blended (50/50 or Tri-blend)

50/50 tees are exactly that, 50% cotton and 50% polyester. Tri-blends are made using three components – cotton, polyester and rayon in varying quantities. Both styles provide a breathable, soft, comfortable t-shirt that is strong. They both have wicking properties and don’t trap the heat as much as cotton, so they’re excellent for running or training wear.

Prices are slightly higher than cotton t-shirts. Not all ink types are suitable for all blended fabrics. The ink deposit, for the most part will be thicker on this type of garment. Dye-blocking underbase inks are often used on certain brands if you require a solid colour. Waterbased and discharge inks can be used but the results are varied but really useful if you’re going for a washed out/vintage style for your brand.

Blended T-shirts are popular if:

You own a gym or need t-shirts for a sportswear brand

Our most popular brands include:

Anvil – Tri-blend Tee

Bella + Canvas – Tri-blend Tee

Skinnifit – Tri-blend Tee


Polyester (Technical or Performance)

Performance fabric is usually 100% polyester and is perfect for running, athletics or the gym. This type of T-shirt has excellent wicking properties, it’s lightweight and breathable. Prices are higher than cotton T-shirts and the colour range is more limited. Dye-blocking inks are a must on this type of fabric to ensure your logo colour stays true.

Polyester performance T-shirts are popular for:

Athletics Teams

Running Clubs

Gym Wear

Our most popular brands include:

Gildan – Performance Tee

AWDis – Cool Tee

TriDri® – Performance Tee


However, we’re not going to tell you one of these options is better than the other. But you need to consider all of them when it comes to choosing the right T-shirt for your Clothing Brand. Hopefully now, you can make a better decision and provide your customers with a T-shirt that fits their lifestyle.