What if there were a way to advertise your brand without saying a word?
When you add your logo to a piece of custom apparel, you can do just that.
From men's polos to women's t-shirts, there are myriad different kinds of fabrics that can help your message shine with every wear. However, not all materials are created equal.
Today, we're taking a closer look at the different kinds of shirt fabric that work best with embroidery, screen printing and more. Then, we'll share how to take care of your custom garments so they last for years to come.
Ready to learn more? Let's get started!
Which Shirt Fabric Types Are Ideal for Embroidery?
An embroidered logo makes a subtle, yet powerful, statement.
To make this look shine, it's best to stick with tightly woven materials that can accept the tug of the embroidery needle without rippling, puckering or otherwise warping.
Fabrics used for this purpose should also be as smooth as possible. Items with a more textured look and feel, such as sweaters with deeply ribbed knits, can cause the stitching to fall in at certain points, resulting in a final product that looks rough and unfinished. The same goes for fabrics with a high pile, such as terry cloth.
If that's the case, what kind of fabric should you use for your logo embroidery projects?
The short answer is any type of apparel that has a medium-weight twill. This might include a no-iron dress shirt, the outermost layer of a softshell jacket, or a cotton piqué, such as an iconic polo shirt.
Why do these fabrics work so well? Each possesses a fine, clean surface that accepts the embroidery process with ease. They also feature high levels of dimensional security.
In short, this means these fabrics don't stretch very readily. If a material is unstable and easy to expand, it might shift easily in the hoop, rendering effective embroidery exceedingly difficult.
Which Fabrics Are the Worst for Embroidery?
Embroidery requires material thickness, sturdiness, and durability. As such, the most difficult kinds of materials to embroider include those that are flimsy or thin. This includes:
- Ultra-fine t shirt fabric
Such fabrics aren't ideal because the embroidery needle could easily tear a hole in them during the process. In addition, embroidery backing will show through more easily on these items than their sturdier counterparts, especially if they are white or lightly colored.
The good news? You won't have to worry about any of those materials making their way into our shop.
Our Go-To Picks for Custom Embroidery
Let's take a look at a few of the items we carry that pass the test, allowing for a polished embroidered design, stylish appearance, and comfortable fit.
1) Embroidered Men's Polo Shirts
Looking for a classic shirt that only gets better with time? Brooks Brothers debuted the first mass-marketed polo shirt in 1896, and it's remained a closet staple for men around the world ever since.
Thankfully, traditional cotton polos are a cinch to embroider. The same also holds true for our Gildan DryBlend Jersey Knit Polo. Always comfy and fashion-forward, this shirt combines 50% pre-shrunk cotton with 50% polyester Moisture-Wicking DryBlend™ fabric.
The result? An instant head-turner, customizable in a variety of colors and designs to meet your needs. We also offer a variety of women's polos, including our IZOD Women's Everyday 100% cotton pique version.
2) Embroidered Unisex T-Shirts
While thin t-shirts don't make our list, thick and rugged ones do. That's why we only provide top-quality t-shirts that will last for years instead of coming apart in the first wash.
Take our Gildan Favorite Ultra 5.3 oz. T-Shirt, for instance. Available in a wide spectrum of colors, this shirt features a substantial 5.3 ounces of 100% preshrunk cotton. It also includes double stitching all over for extra reinforcement. We also provide the same shirt in a women's style!
We also offer a 5.4-ounce Ladies Core Cotton Tee that features a contoured side seam for a more feminine style.
3) Embroidered Dress Shirts
Want to advertise your company to prospects, partners, and your executive team alike? An embroidered dress shirt is perfect.
For the best results, look for ones that are wrinkle-resistant or labeled as easy-care. One of our favorite picks? Our Van Heusen Long Sleeve Dress Twill! Resistant to wrinkles and featuring Van Heusen's Stain Shield finish, this is one shirt that your entire crew will appreciate.
Our Ladies Van Heusen 3/4 Sleeve Dress Twill also features the same properties, making it the perfect complement to the men's twill dress shirt.
Taking Care of Your Embroidered Shirts
To keep your embroidered shirts looking great for as long as possible, turn them inside out before throwing them in the wash. This helps protect the logo from abrasion.
Then, wash them with a good-quality, mild detergent, using warm water. Avoid using bleach or strong chemicals to clean your clothing, as it could damage the embroidery. If you're concerned about the color of the embroidery thread blending onto the rest of your shirt, you can use a cold water rinse, instead.
To avoid shrinkage, use a gentle wash cycle and air-dry your garments when you can. As always, be sure to follow the specific wash instructions included in your shirt's tag. Different materials will require different steps.
Which Fabrics are Best for Screen Printing?
An equally stylish and stunning alternative to embroidery, screen printing is another way to affix your logo onto a variety of fabrics. Yet, there are some materials that work better with this process than others.
In general, thick cotton t-shirts work best. Natural fabrics, including cotton and cotton blends, are both soft and permeable, allowing for a richer, more dynamic ink transfer.
Other fabrics that work great for screen printing include wool and silk. However, keep in mind that ultra-fine silk can be too thin to effectively screen print as it's incapable of absorbing an adequate amount of ink.
Wool works so well primarily because it is thick. In general, the thicker the fabric, the deeper that the screen fabric ink can sink into its fibers.
Which Fabrics Are the Worst for Screen Printing?
As mentioned, even silk will take screen printing well if the application is correct. However, there are some materials that are unlikely to render a smooth and successful screen print, no matter how many times you try.
These include 100% acrylic and polyester fabrics. As these are synthetic, man-made materials, they aren't as porous and permeable as natural varieties. This can make it difficult for the screen ink to stick as well as it would with cotton.
Screen Printing Made Easy
Are you interested in screen printing your logo onto custom apparel? If so, we offer a variety of men's and women's shirts that are designed to hold up to the process.
- Custom T-Shirts and Tank Tops
Check out our Relay Dri-Power Raglan Tee, for instance.
This lightweight t-shirt fabric might not be as embroidery-friendly as other models, but it's an excellent option for screen printing.
The bottom line? While an embroidery needle could tear or rip your shirt, screen printing is designed to be as safe and secure as possible. Fabris that are lighter in weight can take the process easier than embroidery.
For cooler climates, check out our Gildan Screen Printed Long Sleeve T-Shirt! Made of 100% preshrunk cotton and created with double-needle stitching, it's a sturdy and reliable shirt that's destined to become an instant weekend favorite.
- Cotton Blend Hoodies
While a 100% polyester item might be difficult to screen print, it becomes the ideal surface when combined with natural cotton.
That's the 50/50 blend you'll find in our Premium Screen Printed Hoodie. The eight-ounce heavyweight blend offers plenty of room for even your biggest logos.
We also offer zippered versions of our comfy hoodies, including this Premium Screen Printed Zip-Up Hoodie!
Taking Care of Your Screen-Printed Shirts
As with embroidered shirts, it's best to turn your screen-printed shirts inside out before washing to protect the design.
When you wash, use warm or cold water and mild laundry detergent. If you must use a dryer, set it to the lowest tumble dry setting. Otherwise, it's best to hang these garments or let them air-dry.
How to Design Your Custom Shirt Today
Now that you know a few of the best shirt fabric types, are you ready to customize your own item with your brand's logo? If so, we'd love to help.
Our personalization process is quick, easy and takes only minutes to do. Once you've found your perfect shirt, you can order as many as you need. Then, email or upload your logo when you check out. We'll get to work on your unique design right away, and we'll send you a proof of the final product within two to three business days.
Once you approve, we'll turn your vision into reality! You'll receive your order in 10 to 14 business days and start turning heads immediately.
Your Go-To Place for Stylish Logo Apparel
You've got a message to share and a brand to promote, and we're here to help you spread the word.
From shirt fabric options to headwear, outerwear and more, we've got you covered on all of the custom apparel your team needs. We also offer a wide variety of other promotional products, including drinkware, office supplies, and more.
Feel free to browse our inventory today and start brainstorming your perfect, personalized design. When you're ready, register for a new account and let your imagination be your guide!