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What is the Best Material for T-Shirts?

The Best Material to Use to Make a T-Shirt

The right material is hugely important to making a t-shirt that isn’t only comfortable to wear but is also washable and shows printed designs well. There are various fabrics to choose from which each have their own unique properties that suit different needs and purposes. Some materials are better suited to casual wear while others work well for work clothing. For screen printing, it’s worth thinking about the needs of the person wearing the fabric before making your choice.


Cotton is a natural fibre that is commonly used for t-shirts as it’s very soft, affordable and breathable, so it’s perfect for casual wear. There are variations of cotton, from combed cotton to organic, which affect how it feels. However, the downside to cotton is that it can shrink after the first warm wash.


Linen is made from the flax plant and has a rougher texture than cotton, so it’s not as commonly used for t-shirts but better suited to jackets or light outerwear. It tends to wrinkle easily but it’s very lightweight and dries fast.


This man-made synthetic fibre is popular with sports clothing as it’s breathable and quick-drying, plus it holds its shape when it’s washed. It’s not as comfortable as cotton or linen though, so it’s better suited to athletic wear.


Lycra is another fabric that’s associated with sportswear as it’s stretchy and flexible, so it’s often added to other fabrics to provide more stretch and make them easier to move in.


A blend of cotton, trees and woody plants, rayon is a man-made material that’s often used as a more affordable silk alternative. It’s incredibly smooth and soft and is a great choice for athletic wear as it’s lightweight, but it doesn’t last as well as some other fabrics and can wrinkle over repeated wear.

Poly/Cotton Blend

This blended material is typically a 50/50 mix of cotton and polyester, but the ratios can vary depending on the manufacturer. Poly/Cotton blends are incredibly popular for their super-soft qualities and the affordability compared to cotton. This fabric also holds its shape well and is breathable.


Tri-Blend fabrics are usually made from cotton, polyester and rayon mixes, meaning that they tend to take on the best qualities of each fabric. They’re lightweight like rayon but have all the softness that cotton provides. They’re a great balance of durability, comfort and style for t-shirts.

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