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Tips On Choosing The Best Fabric For Your Custom T Shirt Design

By going through these tips you’ll be speaking like an apparel industry expert in no time and making the right custom T shirt design decisions!

custom T shirt design is a big part of what Ares Sportswear does!

We’re all searching for the perfect custom T shirt design for our sports, business and club organizations, and all of the industry experts at Ares Sportswear understand how confusing this entire process can be while searching through our massive online inventory.

Although brands and styles are always important considerations, in this article we’re going to go over tips in terms of choosing fabric types. So here we’ll be going through the common types of shirt fabrics, what fabric considerations you should keep in mind, and industry terminology to help you more thoroughly understand the differentiations between fabric types.

So let’s first delve into the three main types of T-shirt fabric:

100% Cotton

When it comes to T-shirt fabric, cotton is definitely one of the most popular types of fabric. This is mainly due to its fluffy, breathable texture we all know so well.

It’s a generally good likelihood that the majority of your T-shirts are at least partially made from cotton, and it goes without saying that cotton is a very reliable fabric for all types of custom T-shirt designs!

100% Polyester

Polyester is a synthetic fabric that is known very well for its overall durability and low moisture absorbency. The term moisture-wicking generally comes from polyester, and it’s really great at drying quickly due to its hydrophobic nature.

Another great aspect of polyester is that it doesn’t stretch or shrink, which makes it a popular choice for athletic teams and outdoor enthusiasts of all types who know they’re going to sweat a lot and be exposed to intense weather.

Fabric Blends

A lot of T-shirts are blends of two or more different fabrics, and these types of blends are becoming increasingly popular throughout the entire apparel industry in recent years.

A lot of people swear by blended fabrics because they provide the best of multiple worlds, and the following are some blends to keep in mind for your custom orders:

  • 50/50: These blends are commonly half cotton and half polyester, but there are of course many other possibilities within these types of equal proportions!
  • CVC: This stands for Chief Value Cotton, which means that the fabric blend will be a majority cotton with smaller percentages of polyester or other fabrics.
  • Tri-Blends: Usually tri-blends consist of polyester, cotton and rayon.

Important Considerations For Your Best T-Shirt Material

Understanding which type of fabric is best for you and your order is ultimately going to be subjective, which is why it’s important to keep the following considerations in mind in terms of your preferences:

  • The specific qualities you’d like, including things like structure, breathability, softness, moisture-wicking capabilities, etc.
  • The printing methods you’re considering, including screen printing, direct-to-garment, embroidery, etc.
  • Your overall budget
  • The shirt’s purpose
  • The age range, expectations and ubiquitous style of the people who will be wearing the shirt

Apparel Industry Terms To Help You Find The Perfect Custom T Shirt Design!

It’s also important for our clients to fully understand some of the terminology used throughout the apparel industry, some of which will be typically found within product descriptions and some that usually aren’t. By going through these industry terms you’ll be speaking like one of the Ares Sportswear experts in no time!


This term mainly describes the overall porousness of the shirt’s fabric, but it also technically refers to the shirt’s ability to move water vapor from the inside to the outside of the fabric.

Most shirts will have a specified degree of breathability, but it’s important to not mix this term up with moisture wicking.


This industry term refers to the perceived quality of the shirt via its general sense of touch or feel. So by understanding a shirt’s hand, all you’ll need to do is feel the shirt with your hand!


Drape is a term that’s somewhat similar to hand, but it refers to how a shirt moves or generally behaves. The main types of drape are moderate, fluid and full-bodied/heavy.


This term is oriented around a yarn’s diameter, and particularly in terms of how many times a shirt’s fibers get twisted. This means that the higher the single, the softer the fabric. It’s a lot like the thread count on sheets, and the vast majority of high-quality shirts are around 30+ singles.


A lot of cotton shirts are considered to be pre-shrunk, which essentially means that the manufacturing process entailed compacting and condensing processes that tightly connected the fibers together. So in a way these processes replicate shrinking in a way to prevent shrinkage later on!


This particular term doesn’t necessarily refer to sizes, but actually how a shirt is cut or constructed. The most common fits include standard and fashion/retail fit.


This term refers to a shirt’s overall ability to wick away the body’s moisture so sweat evaporates and dries much more efficiently. This is great for sports teams and athletes of all types who don’t want that sticky feeling against their skin. These shirts are almost always made from synthetic materials.


Performance is a very loosely used term found within product descriptions all throughout the apparel industry, so it’s important to understand what exactly this term means. It’s pretty broad, so it can simply mean that it’s a shirt that’s meant for athletic purposes, but the true definition of this industry phrase is still a bit unclear.

A lot of people may misconstrue this phrase with moisture-wicking, so if you want a shirt that will properly wick away sweat and moisture then you should be sure that the product description has that direct language in it as compared to this more vague term that can actually have various meanings!

Reach Out To The Ares Sportswear Experts For More Information About Ordering Custom T Shirts!

There’s of course a lot more that goes into finding that perfect shirt than just fabric options, and when you combine all of these factors together it can be pretty hard to narrow down your order’s best options!

That’s where our team of experts comes in to support you. Always feel free to contact us online or call us at 800-439-8614 today to get in touch with our specialists who will be able to provide you with the support you’ll need to get the very most out of your custom shirt orders!

Thank You Very Much!

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