A Guide to Fabric Qualities for Custom T-Shirts

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A t-shirt design completely depends on its fabric. People consider a lot of factors while purchasing the same, so it is important to know deeply about each fabric to make sure you select the right fabric for your custom t shirts. The fabric plays an essential role not only in printing but also in the way it feels when worn. There are lots of pros and cons each fabric offers like some fabric hold better inks than other fabrics, while some absorb your sweat more readily than others. People are left in the dark when it comes to knowing about a fabric quite deeply but this guide will provide you with the fabric transparency so that you make a better decision for your custom t shirts. So let’s take a look at the different fabric qualities.

Different types of fabrics for t-shirts

1. Cotton

Cotton is the most popular fabric in the world which is mostly preferred by people. At least 75% of the world’s clothing is composed of some amount of cotton in it. 60% of the women’s clothing is composed of cotton whereas 85% in the case of men’s clothing.

Process of cotton fabric formation

  1. Defoliation: the first step in which leaves are removed from the cotton plant.
  2. Harvesting: the second step involves the removal of contaminants from cotton fibres with the help of a machine to form bales.
  3. Separation: ginning machines help in removing foreign or toxic materials from cotton fibres once it comes after harvesting.
  4. Transferring: the cotton is then transferred to the textile production industry.
  5. Carding: then the cotton fibres are converted into long thread-like structures.
  6. Spinning: after forming thread-like structures it is converted into yarn.
  7. Dyeing: the cotton is then treated with different chemical combinations, in some cases, it is even dyed properly.
  8. Weaving: in the final step, it is woven in the type of fabric material like t-shirts etc.

Different types of cotton

  1. Combed cotton

Combed cotton is one of the best varieties of cotton in which short strands are eliminated with the help of brushes or bio-washing which ultimately makes a material softer and comfortable to wear.

  1. Organic cotton

Organic cotton is quite different from other varieties of cotton, as it is free from fertilizers and pesticides. It also offers softer and comfortable wear but comes with a drawback in its price range. Organic cotton is more expensive than other varieties of cotton.

  1. Pima cotton

It is the most durable form of cotton. It is the highest quality of cotton that money can buy. It is composed of long fibres which offer more softness as compared to other fabrics.

  1. Slub cotton

Slub cotton carries lumps in its fabric. It is one of the most unique varieties of cotton which is light and quite airy and doesn’t cling to the body, but it offers one major advantage which is that it provides such a unique texture, that there is no need to iron it too many times.

Advantages of cotton fabric

  1. It is one of the most ideal fabrics to wear in all kinds of the season whether it is a summer day or a winter day when it provides insulation.
  2. It is hypoallergenic as it rarely causes any kind of irritations or rashes on the skin.
  3. It is less toxic as it does not involve too many chemical combinations as when compared with other fabrics.
  4. It is breathable, soft and comfortable to wear anytime and anywhere.

Disadvantages of cotton fabric

  1. It generates a lot of wrinkles on it, so before you wear them, you need to iron them always.
  2. It is not expensive as per market value but is production is quite expensive due to its manufacturing process, it is an expensive fabric.
  3. It is not too strong and can easily fade away when kept in sunlight for a longer time.
  4. It can shrink too easily after a cycle in the washing machine and may no longer fit you.

2. Polyester

Polyester is a  synthetic fabric, originated from petroleum. The polyester fabric quickly dries and makes it more durable than any other fabrics. It can easily be blended with other fabrics like when mixed with cotton, it improves its shrinkage power and its biggest quality is that it maintains its shape even on stretching.

Process of polyester fabric formation

  1. Formation of monomer: the polyester fibres react with ethylene glycol and dimethyl terephthalate at high heat results in the formation of monomers.
  2. Formation of polymer:  the resulting monomer is then reacted with terephthalate again to form a polymer.
  3. Extruding: the resulting polymer is then extruded from the reaction chamber, allowed to cool down and then broken down into small pieces.
  4. Spinning: these small pieces melted again to create a honey-like substance which is passed from spinneret through the process of extruding to form fibres.
  5. Finishing: the resulting polyester filaments reacted with certain chemicals to provide the given result.

Different types of polyester

  1. Ethylene polyester

It is also known as PET, it is the most famous type of polyester in the market and resistant to moisture. It is cost-effective and is readily available.

  1. Plant-based polyester

The major advantage of this variety of polyester is that it is biodegradable so costs more to make. It is less durable than other varieties of polyester.

  1. PCDT polyester

PCDT polyester is not that famous than PET but its fabric serves higher elasticity as when compared with other polyester varieties.

Advantages of polyester fabric

  1. It offers good flexibility, when it is stretched to 5-6% it can completely be recovered.
  2. It offers good heat resistance and thermoplasticity.
  3. Polyesters always got excellent water absorption power, therefore they can readily absorb water without any problems.
  4. It also resists wrinkles along with quick drying.

Disadvantages of polyester fabric

  1. It is less breathable and lacks a soft texture, so make sure you choose the right printing method for your polyester t-shirts.
  2. Polyester made t-shirts are quite temperature-sensitive, so avoid any melting experience with polyester t-shirts.
  3. It is non-environmental friendly as it offers high resistance to biodegradation.
  4. It tends to stick to skin and leaves you with more severe burns.

3. Linen

Linen is produced from the flax plant. It is such a popular choice in the summertime due to its amazing properties such as lightweight and drying power. It reduces heat retention on an extremely warm day.

Process of linen fabric formation

  1. Planting: flax plants are planted to obtain linen fabric from it.
  2. Growth: then flax seeds are sown with the help of the machine.
  3. Harvesting: after the flax stem is yellow and seeds are brown then the plant is ready for harvesting.
  4. Fibre separation: after the formation of flax stalks, it is then separated from leaves and seeds.
  5. Breaking: the decomposed stalks are broken down in which unusable outer fibres are separated from usable inner fibres.
  6. Combing: once the fibres are separated it is then combed.
  7. Spinning: the combed fibres undergo machines like spreaders which form a yarn.
  8. Reeling: after the formation of yarn, it is reeled onto a bobbin.
  9. Drying: then the bobbin is ready to be dyed and treated to turn into fabric.

Different types of linen

  1. Damask linen

This type of linen is quite delicate and it is produced on a loom that gives a final result as an embroidery.

  1. Plain-woven linen

It is loosely woven and has a high durability power. It is commonly used to make cotton towels or hand towels.

  1. Loosely-woven linen

It is one of the most highly absorbent varieties of linen but least durable at the same time. This type of linen is used in making diapers and sanitary napkins.

  1. Sheeting linen

The sheeting linen usually shows an untextured structure but offers a soft surface. This type of linen apparel has higher thread counts than any other linen varieties.

Advantages of linen fabric

  1. Linen contributes to breathability due to its lightweight.
  2. It is highly absorbent fabric, gaining at least 20% of the dry weight in moisture.
  3. It is a strong fabric making its durability power more strong as compared to other fabrics.
  4. Linen production is more sustainable than cotton production. It is also recyclable.

Disadvantages of linen fabric

  1. Linen fabrics are quite more expensive than other fabrics.
  2. Linen easily wrinkles, forming creases which are taking a long time to get off from the fabric, if not iron properly.
  3. It can lose its charm if washed in hard water.
  4. It is not best to fold linen clothing, so try using hangers for them.

4. Rayon

It is a semi-synthetic fabric. It is too difficult to discover whether rayon is a synthetic fabric or a natural fabric as its source material is organic, but the process forms a synthetic substance. Rayon fabric is created as an alternative to silk, mainly used in athletic wear.

Process of rayon fabric formation

  1. Cellulose extraction: in the first step where rayon production starts, it’s necessary to build wood pulp which should be 90% pure.
  2. Cellulose conversion: the cellulose is then dissolved in caustic soda which converts cellulose to alkali cellulose.
  3. Pressing: the alkali cellulose is pressed between two rollers to remove extra liquid from it and form a white crumb.
  4. Aging: the white crumb is aged by providing exposure to oxygen which leads to the formation of yellow crumb.
  5. Ripening: the yellow crumb is then allowed to ripen for a few hours.
  6. Filtration: the yellow crumb is then filtered and extruded through a spinneret.
  7. Acid bath: the resulting substance is immersed in sulphuric acid which forms rayon filaments and then to form any apparel further it is then washed.

Different types of rayon

  1. Viscose rayon

It is a semi-synthetic rayon which is produced from wood pulp. It has the lowest wet strength so it can shrink easily or lose its shape or structure out of all three rayon varieties.

  1. Modal rayon

It is made from beech-tree pulp. It does not offer strength singly, therefore it is blended with some other materials. It is quite expensive out of the three varieties of rayon.

  1. Lyocell rayon

It is made from beech trees but with few chemical combinations so make it more sustainable towards the environment. It is one of the most absorbent out of the three.

Advantages of rayon fabric

  1. Rayon fabrics are soft and comfortable to wear and drapes well.
  2. It dyes and prints well, so you can easily dye it in any colour of your choice.
  3. It is quite inexpensive as compared with other fabrics.
  4. It offers high absorbent with no piling problems.

Disadvantages of rayon fabric

  1. It is heat sensitive and wrinkles easily unless treated well.
  2. The fabric can shrink after wash, so be careful while washing rayon fabrics especially in hot water.
  3. It is highly flammable, so take extra precaution while wearing rayon.
  4. It requires dry cleaning more often as it weakens after a time.

5. Lycra

Lycra fabric is one of the most popular elastic synthetic fabric. The fabric can easily stretch 5-8 times than its normal size therefore the fabric is known for its elasticity. It is found mostly in athletic wear due to its stretching property.

Process of lycra fabric formation

  1. Prepolymer formation: the diisocyanate monomer is mixed with macroglycol within a reaction vessel.
  2. Chain extension reaction: the prepolymer is reacted with diamine acid.
  3. Diluting: the solution is diluted with a solvent to make it thinner and placed inside a fibre production cell.
  4. Extrusion: the cell spins through spinnerette to form fibres.
  5. Heating: the fibres are then heated within a nitrogen solution to convert liquid polymers into solid strands.
  6. Twisting: the cells are bundled together and then twisted.
  7. Finishing: magnesium stearate is treated with elastic fabric as a finishing agent.
  8. Weaving: lycra yarn is then transferred to the textile industry.

Different types of lycra

  1. Cotton lycra fabric

The fabric is used in the production of shrink free tops and shirts. This blend produces wrinkle-free t-shirts and is completely washable. It also doesn’t catch stains easily.

  1. Nylon lycra fabric

Due to the combination of nylon and lycra together, it produces shiny products. The fabric, therefore, makes more parties wear clothes. The fabric is completely smooth and lightweight giving a classy appearance.

  1. Wool lycra fabric

It is best suited for coats and suits due to the presence of wool and lycra in it. It got high stretching power, therefore, doesn’t shrink along with maintaining warmness.

Advantages of lycra fabric

  1. It is light weighted and retains its original shape even on stretching.
  2. It is comfortable to wear and give a proper fit.
  3. It doesn’t wrinkle and has good dyeability.
  4. It resists fading and is completely acid and alkaline resistant.

Disadvantages of lycra fabric

  1. It traps moisture therefore there are high chances to get infected from yeast infections.
  2. Friction lacks texture completely, so high chances of slipping on various surfaces.
  3. It is heat sensitive. So avoid washing in hot water as it loses the fabric permanently.
  4. Shows the body structure or body’s outline completely.

We hope that this guide helps you with all your required questions for fabric qualities. The guide above teaches you to choose the right fabric material for your apparel. So next time before you purchase or sell any kind of fabric make sure you make the right decision and do justice with your apparel.

For good-quality fabric with no complaints or for online t shirts printing, get in touch with us at Champu!

Note: Images used in the article are for representational purposes only.

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