Custom T-shirt Buying Guide
The trend in t-shirt marketing is very similar to the trend in social media marketing. The goal is to increase your visibility by encouraging your customers to accept your brand and then be willing to endorse it publicly by wearing it. If someone is willing to wear a shirt with your logo, then they are aligning your company brand with their personal brand.
The free t-shirt concept has not changed — almost everyone will accept a free t-shirt. In fact, if you attend sporting events, concerts or tradeshows where free t-shirts are given away, you will see people acting frantically just to get one (and end up not wearing it). But when the “I just won a free shirt!” feeling has worn off, how inclined are you to wear that shirt to the mall, beach or out at night to a lounge?
People wear t-shirts to indicate they went somewhere, saw something or feel somehow connected to a group or idea. So before you purchase your t-shirt, you need how you want to connect with them. Please read this guide to help you find the best t-shirt to customize for your specific occasion.
We’re going to go over 3 main points to consider before you purchase your custom t-shirt, (1) fabric, (2) fit and (3) decoration.
Basic T-shirt Fabric Guide
There is the good, better, best and performance when it comes to t-shirt fabrics.
Good t-shirts are considered open-end cotton or soft spun cotton. These are normally t-shirts made of 100-percent preshrunk cotton and sewn with durability in mind.
Better t-shirt fabric uses ring spun cotton. These t-shirts have lighter, softer weights and may be made of blended fabrics offering performance features. Ringspun cotton is smoother and stronger than your regular 100% open-end cotton shirts. They’ve been through a spinning process that softens and straightens each fiber.
Another step up in quality is combed ringspun cotton, which is even more refined. After the cotton fibers have been spun, they’re combed to remove any impurities or imperfect strands. The best t-shirt fabric uses combed ring spun cotton. These t-shirts are constructed of fine yarns, blend multiple fibers (i.e., tri-blends) and incorporate fashion trends, such as prints or textures, for added appeal. These are great for fashion, schools, retail boutiques, the fitness industry, corporate and entertainment industry.
Real quick, tri-blends are usually fabric containing 3 (sometimes more) types of material. Polyester which gives it its resiliency, cotton, its comfort and rayon, the ability of the shirt to drape and hang on your body. It also gives its a nice heather look.
Outside of the good, better and best cotton t-shirt fabric, you’ll have your performance fabrics. This moisture-wicking fabric keeps you cool, dry and odor-free. In today’s culture, it’s not only worn on athletics or just for outdoor activities, it’s also called athleisure, athletic apparel worn all around, at work and at school.
Bonus Tip on T-shirt Weight: Once you determine the type of the cotton, check on the weight of the fabric. T-shirt weights range from the very light (3.0 oz.) to standard (4.5 oz. to 5.3 oz.) to heavy (over 6 oz.).
Weight matters for a number of reasons.
The garment’s end-use can help determine which weight is best. A heavier weight is likely a better choice for a building contractor who is wearing the shirt frequently and washing regularly.
A lighter weight is typically preferred by women as a more fashionable choice. It will have a cleaner fit. Climate might influence which weight will be more comfortable; the warmer the region or season, the lighter the garment’s weight should be.
T-shirt Fitting Guide
Traditionally, t-shirts are ordered in your uni-sex or adult size. These type of cuts are meant for men; women and kids will normally need to cut and knot it to make it more attractive and fit.
The fit of a t-shirt can mean the difference between it becoming a favorite or forgettable tee for your customer. Learn how to measure a shirt, find size charts and learn how certain brands fit differently. If you don’t see it posted on our website, please contact us and we’ll send you the sizing chart.
PromoStadium carries all types of fit for both male and females and ages from baby to adults, so make sure you get the right fit for everyone. T-shirt fit and cut comes in standard (regular or relaxed) fit, the sides of the shirt comes straight down, making it look loose and boxy.
The other option is your fitted (slim or contoured fit), which gives it a more fashionable style, creating a silhouette. These are mostly recommended for casual wear.
Decoration Methods for T-shirts
There are several types of imprint decoration tips for you to print your t-shirt and PromoStadium can print using any of these methods.
Screen printing is the most popular form of personalization method for t-shirts. Screen printing is cost-effective for large bulk quantities, durable and great if a large logo or text is needed. This type of printing method requires a screen setup for each color used, making it a great chose for large quantities to cost average your shirt. This method of printing uses ink that is applied directly through a mesh screen right onto the apparel, one color at a time and heat dried in between each color.
Screen printing is good for large batches, not so cost effective for multiple colors and can only print simple shapes and designs.
Heat transfer printing is the process of applying heat-applied materials to various items (i.e., substrates) with a heat press. Heat-applied materials contain a heat-sensitive adhesive on one side; when heat is applied by a heat press to the material, the material adheres to the substrate to which it is being applied. The end result is a decorated garment.
Embroidery (if required), is recommended for heavy weight t-shirts with a simple one color logo. Embroidery is not recommended for soft lightweight shirts because the stitching around your logo will “pull” the t-shirt toward the logo. One popular trend on embroidery is applying embroidery patches.
Dye sublimation can only be used on polyester materials and is done by printing a special ink onto the transfer paper, applying that paper to a substrate and then applying heat and pressure to the material. Your artwork is printed onto a sheet of high-release paper and transferred onto your apparel using heat and pressure. The dye particles convert into gas — known as sublimation — where they bond to the polyester fibers.
Dye sublimation might show slight imperfections around seams and folds. Great for uniforms.
Direct to garment printing or DTG uses inkjet technology and digitally transfers the design on the shirt, which creates a soft feel on all t-shirts. It works best on 100% cotton material and is great for full-color logos. Its great for full-color printing, like printing a photograph on a t-shirt).
DTG printing is great for extensive color options and for small batches, not cost effective for extremely large batches. Limited design placement because the method and machine used to print.