What Role Does the Choice of Fabric Play in Custom Printed Apparel?

What Role Does the Choice of Fabric Play in Custom Printed Apparel?

May 17, 2024Foxtree Designs

Customized personal apparel gives you the creative freedom to express yourself, whether on a hoodie, tote bag, or any other item that you can think of. Whether you’re searching for company apparel, corporate attire, school shirts, spirit wear, custom t-shirts, or branded clothing, the world of custom apparel offers limitless possibilities.

Branded apparel isn’t just limited to businesses but also individuals seeking to promote their brand or message. Are you an artist, musician, activist, or entrepreneur? Branded apparel featuring your message helps create a consistent and easily recognizable identity.


Choosing the Suitable Fabric for Custom Printed Apparel:

There are many factors to consider when choosing the perfect fabric for your custom apparel. Whether you are designing a personalized t-shirt or branded apparel, the fabric you choose, besides the decoration technique you choose, will significantly impact the final result. 

With direct-to-garment printing, screen printing, custom embroidery techniques, and heat transfer methods, explore how the suitable fabric can make all the difference.

  • Cotton:

Cotton is famous for custom t-shirts and corporate apparels because it is soft, breathable, and comfortable. It is also a versatile fabric that works well with various printing methods, including screen printing and direct-to-garment printing. However, it is essential to note that cotton fabrics can shrink when washed, so consider choosing a pre-shrunk fabric option.  Besides, there are several varieties of Cotton.  Standard carded Cotton is less expensive, but ring-spun Cotton is much softer, delicate and prints better.  If it’s an exclusive occasion, or you want the recipient to wear it repeatedly, consider ring-spun Cotton.


  • Polyester:

Polyester is a synthetic fabric popular for its durability and resistance to wrinkles and shrinkage. It is an excellent choice for corporate and branded fabric because it holds its shape and colors well over time, resists snags and tears, and even has a sun protection factor. Its moisture-wicking capacity makes it a greater choice for sports shirts, 5k runs, and other active lifestyle needs.


Fabric Blends:

Blending multiple fabrics is an excellent way to create a new textile with unique properties. Most clothing nowadays is made from a combination of different fabrics. So, a t-shirt fabric guide would only be complete with mentioning the most common blends

Characteristics of Fabric Blends:

Textile scientists started blending fabrics on a large scale in the 1980s. Their goal was to produce the most comfortable material for every occasion. Blending fabrics can improve their texture and durability and create the perfect canvas for one-of-a-kind prints.

  • Blend of Cotton and Polyester:

A great blend of fabrics like cotton and polyester is also a famous choice for custom apparels. A blend is comfortable and breathable fabrics like cotton but durable and highly resistant to wrinkles and shrinkage like Polyester. This makes it a brilliant choice for business apparel and company shirts.

  • Blend of Cotton, Polyester, and Rayon:

Tri-blend fabrics are made from Cotton, Polyester, and rayon. They are known for their lightness, softness, and stretch. This makes them an excellent choice for custom apparel designed to be comfortable and stylish. Not to mention their excellent color retention, which means you can trust your t-shirt design will look vibrant and true.

Does Fabric Weight Matter? 

Fabric weight and yarn count are closely related, and they matter because the fabric’s quality and characteristics vary depending on the weight. Lighter fabrics like Polyester or combed ring-spun Cotton are finer than heavier ones like COE cotton or linen. Lighter t-shirts are softer and more comfortable for everyday wear (especially in hot weather). They’re also perfect for traveling since they’ll take up less space in your luggage.

But how does fabric weight affect custom t-shirt designs? Your prints will be more textured on heavier fabrics and more detailed and smooth on lighter fabrics. There’s no good or bad; it all boils down to preference and needs.

So what is yarn count, and how is it calculated? Yarn count defines the fineness and smoothness of the thread. It’s usually calculated by how many 840-yard-long threads you’ll need to make one pound of yarn. Basically, the higher the yarn count, the lighter the fabric. 

To better understand a t-shirt’s drape and fit, check the fabric thickness to see where it falls on the scale of light to heavyweight. Why do your customers care about fabric weight? Thinner T-shirts are light, flowy, and take up less space in a suitcase. But heavier t-shirts are thicker, so they’re great for layering and cooler weather. The bottom line? If you own an online clothing store, don’t forget to inform your customers so they can make educated choices.

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