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Custom T-Shirts - Affordable custom printed t-shirts and apparel from Underground Printing, offering online ordering with no minimums, no set up fees and no art fee. Custom T-Shirts - Affordable custom printed t-shirts and apparel from Underground Printing, offering online ordering with no minimums, no set up fees and no art fee.

Which T-Shirt Fabric is Best for Custom T-Shirt Printing

Which T-Shirt Fabric is Best for Custom T-Shirt Printing

Allyson Sprague
6 minute read

When it comes to searching for the perfect custom printed t-shirt, everyone has their own preferences. Between all of the major brands, different styles, a huge variety of fabric types, and new blends continuing to pop up each year, it’s hard to find the perfect fit on your own. That’s why we’re here to help you see the difference between cotton, polyester, and blends!

100% Cotton

When it comes to picking the fabric for your custom shirts, 100% cotton tends to be the most popular choice. Cotton is a staple textile of the fashion industry! The majority of t-shirts you have in your closet are probably made of cotton whether it’s fully made of cotton or partially. 

Why choose 100% cotton? If you like structured yet comfortable shirts, 100% cotton is the fabric for you. It’s easy to customize, gentle on the skin, and isn't clingy! Cotton tees are also extremely popular making it one of the safest options if you’re ordering for a larger group. However, 100% cotton shirts may shrink a little, can stain, wrinkle, and tend to absorb moisture and hold it more than other fabrics. There are also different forms of cotton shirts! There’s 100% ringspun cotton which is much more soft than 100% regular cotton. For example, the Gildan SoftStyle T-Shirt is made of 100% ringspun cotton making it much softer than the Gildan Heavy Cotton T-Shirt, made of 100% regular cotton, with only about a $2 price difference per piece. In the end, it really just depends on what you’re looking for! 

Cotton shirts are great for family reunions, large events, and tend to be more cost effective than some alternatives depending on the brand. Cotton t-shirts are also great for large group gatherings, bachelorette parties, and more! 

Fun fact: The higher the cotton content, the more durable the shirt will be! Ultra Cotton’s 6.0 oz. is a little heavier than Heavy Cotton's 5.3 oz. Ultra Cotton is also a slightly softer material, because the cotton is thicker and heavier and spun tighter. However, depending on what you’re looking for, Gildan’s Ultra Cotton T-Shirt is available in fewer colors (61 colors available) compared to Gildan’s Heavy Cotton Shirt (66 colors available).

Our Most Popular Cotton T-Shirts:

1. Gildan Heavy Cotton T-Shirt: Our most popular t-shirt, 66 garment colors available, size S-5XL, no minimum order size for certain colors.

2. Comfort Colors Ringspun Garment Dyed T-Shirt: 44 garment colors available, size S-4XL, no minimum order size for certain colors

3. Port and Company Basic T-Shirt: 54 garment colors available, size S-6XL, no minimum order size for certain colors

100% Polyester

If you’re thinking 100% cotton may not be the best fit, 100% polyester could be the perfect fabric for you! Polyester is a generalized term for any fabric or textile made using polyester yarns or fibers. Polyester is also another popular choice for t-shirt fabric and is probably also in your closet already! 

Why choose 100% polyester? If you prefer a lightweight, durable shirt that’s also silky smooth, 100% polyester is for you! It’s resistant to wrinkles, shrinking, and fading and allows moisture to evaporate faster than 100% cotton. The downside is that polyester is less breathable than cotton. It can also feel clingy, irritate the skin, and tends to be more restricted when it comes to different printing methods. The price can also be higher compared to cotton depending on the brand you choose. Due to the way 100% polyester needs to be printed, the minimum order size for garments is usually 6.

100% Polyester shirts are best for sports, fundraiser runs, and more! Since it’s better at wicking moisture than cotton, it’s great for events on warmer days. 

Bonus: 100% polyester has varying levels of UPF sun protection! 

Our Most Popular Polyester T-Shirts with UPF Protection:

1. Port and Company Essential Performance Tee: 16 garment colors available, size XS-4XL, the minimum order size: 6

2. Team 365 Men’s Zone Performance T-Shirt: 20 garment colors available, size XS-4XL, minimum order size: 6. 

3. A4 Cooling Performance Crew: 24 garment colors available, size S-4XL, minimum order size: 6. 


If you can’t decide between cotton and polyester, go with a blend! To put it simply, blended fabrics are fabrics where two or more types of fibers are combined together to create one fabric. The first major blend on the market was the 50/50 poly-cotton blend bringing together the top 2 most popular fabric types on the market. Since the first blend, we have the increasingly popular tri-blends which add extra softness with rayon!

Why choose a blend? There are tons of different blend variations available making it the most flexible fabric option. Blends tend to be priced higher than 100% polyester or cotton, but are still affordable! To find the best blend, you may want to go into your local UGP store to see some sample garments and really feel the difference between the blends.  

Blend shirts are truly great for almost anything. Most blends feature all of the good qualities of cotton and polyester while some may have an added bonus like rayon! Blends also tend to be the most versatile which can make everyone in your big group happy. 

Pro Tip: Blends tend to be the softest t-shirt option, especially tri-blends! 

Our Most Popular Blend Shirts:

1. Next Level TriBlend T-Shirt: Eligible for 2-day rush delivery, tri-fabric blend, size XS-3XL, 13 colors available, no minimum order size for certain colors.

2. Bella Canvas Triblend Short Sleeve T-Shirt: Tri-fabric blend, unisex sizing, XS- 3XL available, 36 colors available, no minimum order size for certain colors.

3. Alternative Apparel Eco-Heather Crew: Eco-friendly, tri-fabric blend, size S-3XL, 7 colors available, minimum order size: 6. 

Choosing the right fabric can seem like a tedious task, but it really makes all the difference! Everyone has their own preferences for fabrics, but if you know what they don’t want in their shirts, it can be so much easier to find the perfect fit! 

Other things to consider when choosing the right fabric is your design and print method. Different print methods, the amount of ink colors, print location, and the size of your design can greatly impact the overall feel and look of the shirt regardless of the fabric you use!  Be sure to check out all of our other informational blogs to see how you can create the perfect custom shirt for any occasion!

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