For starters in the apparel printing business, there is a lot that comes with dealing with fabrics especially cotton. There are thread counts to consider as well as the overall weight of the material to be printed and the type of clothing to be designed. Both printers and potential buyers are after high-quality products, and understanding the considerations as mentioned earlier, go a long way into delivering high-quality products to different materials.

Moreover, there is an extensive collection of brands and garment styles today. In the printing business, selecting the best apparel can be overwhelming. As for use, we deal with fabrics and cloths from Gildan, Hanes, Bella-Canvas, American Apparel, Next Level Apparel and Independent Trading. In the guide below, we break down these techniques so as to understand them better.

Carded Cotton

It is a type of cotton prepared by spinning into thread or yarn, making it important steps in preparing any clothing. The carded cotton is free from any debris since the cotton thread used here is extremely fragile and course. The advantage of choosing carded cotton fabric is that they are much wearable thanks to the thick grams per square meter. Also, they are budget friendly, easy to control when it comes to printing or dying, thanks to the strength of the threads used in designing this type of material.

Ring-spun Cotton

Ring-spun cotton, the cotton fiber strands used in creating them are made by constant twisting and spinning of the strands. The spinning and twisting makes them thin and soft, hence creating fine, high quality cotton threads. Additionally, the twisting makes the short hairs of the cotton fiber to stand out, as the clothes become softer and durable compared to other 100% basic cotton clothing. They also have a higher-end feel and non-shrink characteristic, and if your budget is an issue, you may want to keep off the ring-spun fabrics as they costly.

Combed Cotton

It is one of the incredibly soft versions of cotton. It is made softer by treating the fibers, before spinning them into yarns to make fabrics. It is for this reason that most cloth manufacturers rely on combed cotton to make clothes worn against the skin or bed linen, thanks to their tensile strength and softness. Combed cotton is offers minimum shrinkage compared to regular cotton and are best used in making fitting cloths. Also, when dyed or printed, combed cotton bleeds less especially when washed on low heat and knits are subject to very minimum shrinkage. Use of warm temperatures and mild detergents prolongs the life of this fabric.


It is a blend of three materials; polyester, rayon, and cotton. The combination gives the clothes made from tri-blend a super smooth feel and is the best wearables for those who sweat a lot since they do not trap heat for long. Tri-blend is ideal for working in an active day or at the gym. They are easy to stretch even if they come looking a bit smaller. When it comes to printing, tri-blend makes print designs look a little better compared to cotton and are fashion friendly. They offer no shrinkage but are very costly.

Polyester/moisture wicking

Poly is 100% polyester or sometimes referred to just as Poly or moisture wickening. It has a very smooth feel and is the best wearables for those who sweat a lot since they do not trap heat for long. Many of the performance and athletic wear will be polyester. Its also ideal for working outside, active day or at the gym. Some brand even now offer a SPF rating to help with block out the side such as for fishing landscapers. They are easy to stretch even if they come looking a bit smaller(this would be camed compression fitting,usually worn under garments. Mostly they come in 4oz weights but a few times you will find a 5oz. When it comes to printing, Poly its a little more tricky and currently we only screenprint or you heat applied graphics not full color digital printing. They offer no shrinkage but are very costly.


As for hoodies, especially the custom pullover hoodies, there are extensive options when it comes to printing. However, the primary consideration comes in when looking at the overall weight of the hoodie. Heavier hoodies are easily printable and will keep you warm and cozy. As for lightweight options, they come in many color options and are best for wearing sportswear.

Battle of the Weights

Apart from the brand and styles, it is important to consider the weight of the cotton fabric in use to give the best quality printing results. Fabric weight is measured in ounces per square yard.

4oz Weight- The weight of such material is lighter and offers a thinner feel. Fabrics made from with this weight tend to offer softer garments. They usually offer slimfit and come in triblends fabric. The majority of the time a 4oz fabric will be ringspun which is why they are soft. Majority of these fabrics print great because of the ringspun cotton, but because they are thinner some of the more budget friendly ones shrink a little in the wash.

5oz Weight- This is the most common weight for the budget friendly apparel. Many of the 5oz shirts are a carded cotton, but there still are ringspun options which print great because it’s a mix between a thicker weight and a high quality ringspun cotton. When you’re not sure of which weight, this is great one to go with because it’s not too heavy or to light. It mostly comes in a unisex fit and not slim fit.

6oz Weight- The weight makes heavier, durable and warmer clothing. They make good contruction, labor work wear and are easily worn under jackets and sweaters. They are harder tear than the lighter garments which makes the hard labor workers happy. The majority of these are carded cotton so they are more rugged, but now there are a few options of ringspun if you want a thick soft quality shirt.

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