T-Shirt Fabrics: A Guide in Shirt Printing

design your own shirt If you want to design your own shirt, it is a must that you know the basics of how to choose the right fabric. There is no such thing as best fabric because not all fabrics are equally created. Also, every person has his or her own preference in terms of fabric choice. There are some fabrics that are suited for athletes while some are for casual wear. However, when it comes to t-shirt printing, it is best to know which fabric works best for different types of printing.

Fabrics can be categorized as synthetic, natural or a combination of the two. Natural fabrics are derived from animals, plants, and minerals. These include cotton, silk, wool, and linen. Polyester, spandex, and nylon are the common synthetic fabrics. Synthetic fabrics are made from chemical processes, and they are man-made.

Choosing the fabric to design your own shirt may be a little hard and confusing. The list below consists of the different fabric types along with their advantages and disadvantages. Hopefully, this will help you determine which fabric is right for your needs.

  1. Cotton

This is a classic kind of fabric derived from the cotton plant. It is commonly used worldwide because it is hypoallergenic, and it is less likely to irritate sensitive skin. It is soft, lightweight, and best for everyday use. Cotton shirts have been used widely in the printing industry. A ring-spun cotton is a good choice for most printing shops. Compared to regular cotton, this type of cotton is strong, soft to touch, and smooth to print on.


  • In any printing project, cotton shirts are considered the best pick to design your own shirt.
  • Direct to garment (DTG) printing is best for this kind of fabric.
  • Also, cotton shirts work well with water-based ink, discharge inks, and standard plastisol ink.


  • Cotton shirts tend to wrinkle easily.
  • With frequent washing, this type of fabric is prone to shrinking.
  • It is absorbent. Its absorbency feature is a disadvantage especially for people who sweat easily. The cotton fabric will try to hold the sweat giving the person an uneasy feeling.
  • With excessive use, the natural fibers of the cotton shirts tend to wear down.
  1. Polyester

This kind of fabric is also called performance tees. It is made from synthetic fiber, and it is known to be less expensive. It has a lightweight feel and is a perfect wear for people who have an active lifestyle, especially among athletes.


  • This type of fabric is durable, and it holds up well even after washing.
  • It has strong fibers and is quick drying.
  • It is wrinkle resistant.
  • This works best for sublimation printing.


  • Due to low breathability, polyester tends to stick to the skin especially when sweating, making it less comfortable for some people.
  • It is sensitive to high temperature.
  • Polyester is prone to dye migration.
  • This fabric does not work well with water-based inks and DTG printing.
  1. Cotton/Polyester Blend or Poly-cotton (50% cotton, 50% polyester)

design your own-shirtThis is a blend of cotton and polyester. Usually, it is a mix of 50% polyester and 50% cotton; however, it could also be a 65% polyester and 35% cotton ratio. This fabric is softer and holds the shape better; that is why it has been proven to be a crowd favorite. The poly-cotton blend has some printing limitations. Water-based and discharge inks may be used for this fabric, but do not expect to get the same quality you could get with that of cotton. With DTG and screen printing, you need to look after dye migration. This is best for everyday use.


  • The fibers of poly-cotton are strong and long-lasting.
  • It is resistant to wrinkles and does not require frequent ironing.
  • It is less likely to shrink even after several washes.
  • It is breathable and tear resistant.
  • Budget wise, it is less expensive than other fabrics.


  • It cannot sustain high temperature.
  • This type of fabric is not the ideal choice for athletes
  • Oil-based stains on this fabric may be hard to remove.

With the types of fabric stated above, natural fabrics seem to work better when it comes to printing. But of course, only you can decide on which type of fabric works best for you. Keep in mind that in choosing the right fabric, always take into consideration its quality, softness, comfort, and durability.


If you want to design your own shirt,  so you can come at www.bigcitysportswear.com. Design your own shirt and  choose the right fabric.