Fabulous Fabrics: How to Choose the Right Fabric for Your Custom Shirt

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Thinking of printing a custom t-shirt? If so, forget about the design for now—the first thing you’ll need to consider is the material.

With so many fabric types out there, choosing the best one for your needs isn’t a walk in the park. Are you mainly looking for fit, comfort, or durability? Is your print method of choice screen printing, DTG printing, or embroidery?

If you’re not sure what to focus on, we can help you! Here are the three most popular fabric options for making a custom shirt.


Despite being one of the oldest known fabrics, cotton remains as popular as ever. It’s easy to see why: it’s light, versatile, and affordable.

There are a few different types of cotton fabric to keep in mind. First, there’s 100% cotton, which is often rough and sturdier to the touch. These products are usually made with carded open-end fibers, which are on the bulky side.

If you’re looking for a softer cotton variant, consider ring-spun cotton. With these shirts, the fibers making the cotton yarn all flow in the same direction. As a result, ring-spun cotton remains strong while feeling more breathable.

You also have combed ring-spun cotton, the softest cotton fabric of them all. This fabric goes through a process where the fibers are combed to remove impurities. With fewer impurities in the yarn, the final fabric ends up super soft.


Polyester is a synthetic fabric with great resilience. Thanks to its low moisture absorbency (known as moisture-wicking), it dries very quickly.

Another good thing about polyester is that it always keeps its shape. No matter what wash and dry cycle you put it through, it won’t shrink or stretch. This makes it popular with outdoor types who often find themselves in extreme conditions.

The main downside of polyester is that it’s less breathable than cotton. That said, it makes up for it with durability, which is always a plus for custom t-shirts. It also doesn’t stain as easily as other fabrics.


These days, more and more apparel items on the market are blends of some sort. The cotton/poly blend in particular is very in-demand.

By blending a natural fiber such as cotton with polyester, you get the best of both worlds. Your custom tee shirts won’t shrink as much and will be quicker to dry compared to 100% cotton. The final fabric is fairly breathable and has a cool, textured look.

There’s also tri-blend fabric, which consists of cotton, polyester, and rayon. Rayon is synthetic and absorbent, and many rayon products resemble the feel of silk. When combined with cotton and polyester, it creates an airy, light, and very soft fabric.

More on Custom Shirt Design

As you can see, all types of fabric have their pros and cons. At the end of the day, choosing the right material will depend on your personal preferences. Other considerations include the 3 P’s: the price, print method, and purpose of the shirt.

Want to learn more about custom t-shirt printing? Interested in printing the perfect custom shirt for you? We can help you—contact us right here!

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