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From Cotton to Hemp: Fabric Options for T-Shirts

Updated: Jun 11

When it comes to T-shirt production, knit fabrics take center stage over woven fabrics. The stretch, comfort, and versatility of knit fabrics make them the preferred choice for crafting these everyday staples. NoName is a leading T-shirt manufacturer in India with a network of suppliers and factories making organic, sustainable garments in ethically certified premises and specializing in T-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts.

In this blog, we embark on a journey through various fabric options commonly used in T-shirt manufacturing, shedding light on their production process, price range, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

Best Fabrics for T - Shirts

Commonly used Fabric Options for T-shirts:

1. Single Knit Cotton Jersey (Organic/Regular 100% Cotton):

Single Knit 100% Pure Cotton for T-shirts

How it's made: A single knit cotton jersey is created using a single set of needles to form interlocking loops, resulting in a lightweight, breathable, and flexible fabric. It is the most commonly used fabric for T-shirts and comes in various weight options, the most common being 180-240GSM

Price range: Generally falls within the affordable range of $-$$.

Advantages: Soft feel, excellent drape, and ease of care.

Disadvantages: Prone to pilling and less durable compared to some other options.

2. Pique Cotton:

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How it's made: Pique cotton features raised parallel cords or waffle-like patterns created by additional yarns during the weaving process, providing a textured appearance. It is commonly used for polo shirts – worn for fashion purposes or in golfing. It is usually available in the 180-240 GSM range

Price range: Falls within the mid-range of $$.

Advantages: Good breathability, durability, and ability to hold its shape.

Disadvantages: Can be slightly heavier compared to single-knit cotton jersey.

3. Pima Cotton:

How it's made: Pima cotton is a type of extra-long staple cotton known for its superior softness and strength, produced from the Gossypium barbadense plant.

Price range: Generally falls within the higher range of $$$.

Advantages: Luxurious feel, excellent durability, and resistance to pilling.

Disadvantages: Higher cost compared to regular cotton.

4. Supima Cotton:

How it's made: Supima cotton is a premium variety of American Pima cotton, known for its extra-long fibres, superior strength, and softness.

Price range: Generally falls within the higher range of $$$.

Advantages: Exceptional quality, luxurious feel, and increased color retention.

Disadvantages: Higher cost compared to regular cotton.

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Hemp - great fabric options for T-shirts

5. Organic Hemp (The Rising Star):

How it's made: Hemp fabric is derived from the fibres of the Cannabis sativa plant, and processed to create a strong, durable, and sustainable fabric.

Price range: Falls within the mid to higher range of $$-$$$.

Advantages: Highly sustainable, antimicrobial properties, excellent breathability, and durability.

Disadvantages: Can have a rough texture initially and may require special care during washing.

6. Organic Bamboo Fabric For T-Shirts:

How it's made: Bamboo fabric is created from the pulp of bamboo plants, which undergoes a chemical process to extract cellulose and create a fibre. The fibres are then spun into yarns.

Price range: Falls within the mid-range of $$.

Advantages: Soft and breathable fabric, moisture-wicking properties, hypoallergenic, and eco-friendly due to bamboo's fast-growing and renewable nature.

Disadvantages: Requires chemical processing, which can impact its eco-friendly credentials depending on the methods used.

Bamboo fabric for T-shirts - made in India

7. Tri-blends (e.g., cotton, polyester, rayon) known for their softness:

How it's made: Tri-blends are fabrics made by blending three different fibres, typically cotton, polyester, and rayon. These fibres are mixed together during the spinning process to create a unique fabric composition.

Price range: Falls within the mid-range of $$.

Advantages: Softness and comfort due to the cotton component, durability from polyester, and a luxurious drape from rayon.

Disadvantages: May be less colourfast than some other options, and the specific blend ratios can vary, affecting the fabric's characteristics.

8. Recycled Polyester:

How it's made: Recycled polyester is produced from post-consumer plastic bottles or recycled polyester fabric scraps. These materials are processed and transformed into polyester fibres that can be used in T-shirt production.

Price range: Falls within the mid to higher range of $$-$$$.

Advantages: Reduces waste and environmental impact by repurposing materials, retains the beneficial properties of polyester (durability, wrinkle resistance), and offers moisture-wicking capabilities.

Disadvantages: The recycling process may require energy and chemical treatments, and the fabric may not be as breathable as natural fibres.

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9. Poly with Lycra (Spandex) for fitness wear with wicking and stretch properties:

How it's made: Polyester blended with Lycra (Spandex) combines the durability and wrinkle resistance of polyester with the stretch and recovery properties of Lycra. The fibres are blended during the manufacturing process to create a fabric suitable for fitness and activewear.

Price range: Falls within the mid-range of $$.

Advantages: Offers excellent stretch and flexibility, provides shape retention, moisture-wicking properties, and good durability.

Disadvantages: Can be less breathable compared to natural fibres, and excessive stretching over time may cause loss of elasticity.

10. Specialty fabrics like R|Elan™

How it's made: R|Elan™ GreenGold fabric is a sustainable fabric option made from 100% recycled PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) bottles. It is an innovative offering by Reliance, an Indian multinational conglomerate. R|Elan™ GreenGold fabric is manufactured using a closed-loop recycling process. It involves collecting discarded PET bottles, which are then cleaned, crushed, and transformed into polyester chips. These chips are further processed to create polyester fibers that are spun into yarns for fabric production. This recycling process helps reduce waste, conserve resources, and decrease the carbon footprint associated with traditional polyester production.

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Price range: Falls within the mid to higher range of $$-$$$.

Advantages: R|Elan™ GreenGold fabric retains the beneficial properties of polyester, including durability, wrinkle resistance, and quick-drying capabilities. The fabric is lightweight, soft to the touch, and offers good color retention. Versatility: The fabric's versatility makes it suitable for various applications, including T-shirt production. It can be easily blended with other fibres to enhance specific characteristics or used as a standalone fabric.

Comfort: R|Elan™ GreenGold fabric provides comfort and breathability, making it suitable for everyday wear. Its moisture-wicking properties help keep the wearer dry and comfortable.

Eco-conscious choice: By utilizing recycled PET bottles, R|Elan™ GreenGold fabric helps reduce the dependence on virgin polyester production, which is resource-intensive. It promotes the circular economy by transforming waste into a valuable resource and contributes to a more sustainable textile industry.

Disadvantages: Can be less breathable compared to natural fibers like cotton but is better for athletic use, gym wear, yoga wear or such applications which require stretch, durability and sweat management.

11. Other Fabrics

T-shirts can be made in many fabric options and the limit is only your own imagination. We have covered some of the commonly used fabric options above, but T-shirts can also be made in several other fabric choices like:

  • Linen (Sustainable)

  • Tencel (Lyocell)

  • Modal (Shrink resistant and does not fade)

  • Merino Wool (for temperature-regulating and moisture-wicking properties)

  • Corduroy (for a textured and retro look)

  • Velvet (for a luxurious and elegant feel)

  • Microfiber (for lightweight and quick-drying performance)

  • Satin (for a smooth and glossy appearance)

  • Nylon (for durability and water resistance)

  • Flannel (for warmth and comfort)

Remember, each fabric option comes with its own set of characteristics, price range, advantages, and disadvantages. By carefully considering these factors, you can choose the fabric that best aligns with your brand values, desired performance attributes, and target audience preferences.

Whether it's the natural appeal of cotton, the eco-friendly nature of hemp and bamboo, or the specialized properties of technical fabrics, there's a fabric out there to elevate your T-shirt production to new heights of quality and sustainability.

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In the realm of T-shirt production, fabric selection plays a crucial role in determining the overall comfort, durability, and sustainability of the garment. Each fabric option brings its unique characteristics, price range, advantages, and disadvantages to the table. By understanding these nuances, fashion brands can make informed decisions when choosing the right fabric for their T-shirt collections. Whether it's the classic appeal of cotton, the eco-friendly potential of hemp, or the technical properties of specialized blends, there's a fabric choice to suit every need and style.

Remember, the fabric you choose not only affects the quality of your T-shirts but also has an impact on the environment. So, let's explore the possibilities, embrace sustainability, and create T-shirts that not only look good but also feel good to wear.

Buyers for T-shirts span a diverse range of sectors and purposes. Fashion brands and clothing retailers often seek high-quality T-shirts to showcase their unique designs and cater to their customer base. Corporations and organizations utilize T-shirts for promotional purposes or as part of employee uniforms. Educational institutions, schools, and sports clubs often require customized T-shirts for team uniforms or events. Additionally, communities and social groups may use T-shirts as a means of expressing solidarity or commemorating special occasions. Whether it's for branding, identification, or fostering a sense of unity, T-shirts have become a versatile and widely sought-after garment across various industries and communities.

If you need T-shirts for any of the purposes mentioned above, your search for the perfect T-shirt factory ends with The NoName Company are professional T-shirt manufacturer in India that manages the entire process end to end from fabric procurement to dyeing, printing, cutting, sewing, accessorising, quality control and logistics.

Visit our blog on T-shirt Printing Techniques to know more about the options for printing T-shirts to customise them for your own brand, uniform, sports club or community. Consult us to know what print options will be best for you.

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