How to choose the best T-shirt material

Jun 6, 2018

There are a lot of factors to consider when buying t-shirts such as the size, the design, and the material. For instance, the material you use to make a t-shirt determines how long it will last, the ease of printing and the quality of the output. Deciding on the perfect material to use however is not that easy. While finding the right material to screen print on is essential, it calls for carefulness to select the best. Besides, if you are a printing company, you wouldn’t want to ruin your reputation. You would want to try as much as possible to give your clients quality products. A good t-shirt should, therefore, be both appealing as well as of the right quality; that’s why the material indeed matters. So to help you make an informed decision, below are the pros and cons of the materials.


By far, cotton is one of the most common materials that are used to make t-shirts. It’s suitable for both the casual and everyday wear. It has a mixture of softness and breathability, something that makes cotton t-shirts perfect for any occasion. And above all, cotton is affordable. However, cotton t-shirts shrink after a first warm wash, and this is mainly because they are pre-shrunk. Therefore, when the choosing material, it is advisable that you do it vigilantly.

There are a variety of different cotton materials you can choose from. Fortunately, below is a list of them with their advantages.

  • Organic Cotton

If one of your brand’s/company’s objective is going green, then these shirts are suitable for you. The growing of organic cotton is free from fertilizers or pesticides. Therefore, the material is quite sustainable though a bit costly.

  • Combed Cotton

This material goes through a process of straightening of the cotton fibres and the removal of short cotton strands. However, while its material more expensive than the regular cotton, its result is softer and smoother.

  • Pima Cotton

Pima cotton is quite durable and comfy, mainly because it is the highest quality of cotton available. Besides, it doesn’t fade or stretch easily, all thanks to the long cotton fibres.


Polyester is a good fabric because it’s wrinkle resistant, dries quickly and is breathable. Moreover, it’s capable of retaining its shape even after being washed. It is therefore ideal for making t-shirts for athletes and people who work out regularly. Also, it is quite durable and mold resistant. However, polyester isn’t as comfortable as other materials; for instance like cotton. It suitability, therefore, depends on the intended purpose.


Linen makes a good material for summertime clothing. A t-shirt made of linen is quite light and dries out fast. It’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor activities. However, the material isn’t commonly used to make t-shirts. It’s mostly found in jackets. You should note that linen wrinkles easily.


The rayon material is made from a mixture of trees, woody plants and even cotton. It’s quite lightweight and has a smooth feel. Similar to polyester, rayon is suitable for sports and outdoor activities. The major disadvantage of rayon is that it’s not long lasting. It tends to wrinkle when worn on several occasions.

Poly/Cotton Blend

Poly/cotton blends are highly gaining popularity in the clothing industry. It’s because the blend features both pros of wearing cotton and polyester. The ratio of the mix is often 50/50 or at times 65/35. But this all depends on the manufacturer. It’s super soft, breathable and is great for everyday use. It’s also wrinkle resistant. However, poly-cotton is unable to sustain high temperatures, therefore iron it carefully.


This material entails a blend of three fabrics. In most cases; cotton, polyester and rayon. The blend creates a hybrid material which features all the pros of the three materials. It’s lightweight, soft and very comfortable. The downside with tri-blends is that they are delicate in nature, therefore making screen printing a bit challenging. They are suited for a vintage print.

With the above tips, you can now make an informed choice on which material is suitable for you. If you are picking t-shirts for a printing project, then select a material suitable for those who will wear it. The best material for t-shirts highly depends on your preferences and the purposes you have for them.

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