What’s The Best Cotton T Shirt For Printing?

One of the common things I get asked about is the best fabric for printing on cotton t shirts. Customers want to know whether 100, 95 or 50 percent cotton for blank clothing and t shirts is better and the differences between ribbed, interlock and combed cotton. With cheap manufacturing and different manufacturing techniques generic cotton t shirts and blank clothing don’t really exist. There is just so much variety out there and you can get caught out if you’re not careful. It’s also true that many people are confused about fibre content and different types of weave.

Cotton Mix in Wholesale Blank Clothing

Cotton t shirts and other wholesale blank clothing is commonly available in cotton and a mix of cotton and polyester. Common fabric mixes include 100% or 95% cotton, and cotton/polyester blends of 50/50 percent.

The Qualities Of Cotton

When it comes to baby and children’s clothes, cotton is ideal and is often preferred to polyesters and mixed fibre fabrics for t shirts and everyday wear. Cotton is lightweight and allows clothes to ‘breathe’, making it perfect for warm weather. Polyesters and other man made fabrics on the other hand do not ‘breathe’ and can be too hot in warm weather, particularly for babies and young children. Cotton is also very soft against the skin and for colder weather can be layered for extra warmth. Good quality cotton will also last well and will not stretch and pill, like mixtures of polyesters can.

Printing On Cotton T Shirts

Natural fibres are the best for printing because they are more permeable than man made fabrics. Cotton t shirts and other blank clothing made from cotton are the most popular for a range of textile designs. Although cotton/polyester blends have come a long way and have improved, generally the closer to 100% cotton, the brighter and more opaque will be the printing result.

Printing on a tighter or smoother weave will also get better results. That’s why ribbed cotton is not recommended for printing.

Percentages Of Cotton In Cotton T Shirts

There is a common misunderstanding about 100% cotton t shirts and clothing. Many people don’t realise that most cotton t shirts that are considered to be all cotton, have some elastane in them. The elastane provides ‘give’ or a little ‘stretch’ to cotton t shirts and provides a form fitting shape. This is the same with most denim jeans. The very small elastane component (from 3 – 5%) in these clothes provides an important functional quality, but they are still considered to be all cotton or 100% cotton.

Baby Blanks t shirts and clothing is made from the highest quality combed cotton jersey. Our clothing contains 5% elastane to provide stretch and durability.

Fibre Content Labels

It is accepted today that most clothing that you buy will be manufactured outside Australia. This means that people rely on the label to provide accurate information. Clothing must be labelled correctly when it is imported into Australia and labelling requirements are covered by strict regulations and standards. These include the following regulations and standards:

  • Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act 1905
  • Commerce (Imports) Regulations 1940
  • Australian Standards

These regulations state that all clothing that is imported must contain a clear description of the goods as well as care instructions. The label must be attached to the garment in a prominent position and be clearly legible and in English. It is the responsibility of the importer to make sure that these standards are met.

Types Of Cotton Weave

Many people know they want cotton when they search for baby and kids clothes. However there are different types of cotton fabrics that are manufactured using different techniques and have different qualities.

combed cotton jersey – combed cotton is a tightly woven cotton that is smooth and soft to touch. It is made by ‘combing’ the cotton, to get rid of the smaller fibres that can cause pilling. Cotton jersey is most often used for t shirts and clothing for a smooth, form fitting look.

cotton interlock – cotton interlock is thicker than jersey. It is more of a knit, than a weave. Cotton interlock looks the same on the right and wrong sides of the fabric and has the telltale ‘V’ knit on both sides.

ribbed cotton – ribbed cotton is commonly used for cuffs and clothing bands. It is very stretchy and is easily identified by its ribbing. Ribbed cotton is not recommended for printing or applique, due to its stretch and non smooth texture.