Choosing Your Shirt:
We love shirts. We want you to love your shirts. The following is a quick write up intended to help you learn more about the fit, fabric, style and cost of the options available. The more information you have prior to ordering your custom printed tees the more likely you are to be 100% pleased with the final product. No surprises!
T-shirt fabrics can be broken down into 4 main categories:
Combed Cotton is the least expensive. The 'standard' 100% Cotton t-shirt since the 1980's – It has a more dense feel to it. It is high quality and works well for an event or group on a tight budget. (They come in almost every color imaginable) Combed cotton shirts, however, are not as soft as other options. If softness and a more fitted shirt are your preference this fabric may not be the style for you. Combed cotton is also often blended with polyester making it slightly softer and more breathable. 50/50 combed cotton/poly blended shirts are also quite budget friendly. These are usually pre-shrunk but you might still see some shrinkage with 100% cotton. Some shirt styles in this fabric would be the Gildan 5000, Gildan 2000, Gildan 8000, Jerzees 29M, Jerseys 363, Fruit of the Loom 3931, Hanes 5280.
Ringspun cotton is still 100% cotton, but is a much softer fabric than combed cotton. When the yarn is spun it’s pulled over a ring which slightly frays the fabric (on a microscopic level) making the t-shirt material feel softer and the knit looser. Many people prefer the feel of this material to combed cotton. Ringspun cotton is slightly more expensive than combed but can still be quite budget friendly. Shirts with Ringspun cotton tend to be more fitted, modern, and fashion forward. Be sure to order up a size if you or your group do not want shirts as form-fitting as these tend to be. These are usually pre-shrunk but you might still see some shrinkage (as with all 100% cotton shirts). Popular brands and style numbers with this fabric are Gildan 64000, Next Level 3600, Tultex 202, Canvas 3001, District DT104, Anvil 980, Hanes 5180.
Soft Cotton/Poly Blend
Cotton/Poly blends are softer and lighter than ring spun cotton. This is one of the most popular choices for the majority of our customers, as it is a great balance between 'retail-ready' feel and affordability. They can also be referred to as 50/50, 60/40, CVC, or Heather Tees. They are usually fitted to form so again be sure to order up a size if a 'mannequin' fit is not what you find comfortable. These fabrics generally do not shrink much. A soft ringspun cotton/poly blend style is a touch higher in price but, depending on your project, most find the added value to be well worth it. Color options in blended tees are usually heathered (meaning they have a slight flecked / speckled look due to inter-knitted yarns of slightly different colors). Brands and their style numbers in this fabric would be Next Level 6200, Next Level N6210, Next Level 6410, Canvas 3650, Tultex 241, District DM108.
Typically the softest (and most expensive) tees we have available, tri-blend shirts are fast becoming the most popular fabric style with our customers. If it fits within your budget, we think you’ll find it to be very popular with your organization. This fabric is a blend of 50% polyester, 25% ringspun cotton and 25% rayon. The blend of these materials yields a tee shirt material that is very soft, flowy, and breathable. It fits well to form (again, order larger if preferred) but does not shrink. Color options for tri-blend tees are the most limited, and are almost always heathered. Our most popular brands and style numbers for tri-blends are Next Level 6010, Canvas 3413, Tultex 254, District DM130, Anvil 6750.
So, which should I choose?
- If you’re looking for a no-gimmicks, classic tee, and want to spend as little as possible, go with a Combed Cotton Tee. (you probably already have a handful of these in your closet from that car show, school event, or youth group retreat) Lab Seven recommends the Gildan 2000.
- If you're looking for something soft, affordable, and fashion forward, go with a Ringspun Cotton Tee. Lab Seven Recommends the Canvas 3001 or Next Level 3600.
- If you want something a little more high-end, super soft, and retail ready (for a custom apparel brand or clothing company), you can't go wrong with a Cotton/Poly Blend. Lab Seven recommends the Next Level N6210.
- Finally, if your budget is generous, and you want the softest shirt available – something that breathes easily, flows in the wind, and could be sold for $28.00 at Urban Outfitters, go with the Tri-blend. Lab Seven recommends the Canvas 3413.
We hope you find this information helpful! As always, please check out our catalog to explore these styles further (plus many others). Additionally, feel free to shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (303) 814-3389 if you need any recommendations or have any questions! We'd love to be your screen printer and we’re always happy to meet with you in person if you'd like to get your hands on these actual physical shirt styles, or try anything on for yourself! If you’re in the Denver / Englewood area, give us a call to set up a time to come by the shop!