The 9 Best Fabrics for T-Shirts

T-shirts are collarless short-sleeved tops worn casually. When laid out flat, they have a T shape and are mostly made out of cotton fabric.

It is the most common clothing item in most people’s wardrobe and that’s for a good reason. They are easy to make, unisex, very comfortable, fashionable, and able to the mixed with other clothing items and accessories.

Fortunately, they are not difficult to make, and fabric for them is not hard to find.

Can I Use Any Fabric for Making T-Shirts?

Yes, you can use any material to make a T-shirt however, the difference in material would make each cloth feel, look and fit differently. The choice one would go with when picking T-shirt fabric would depend on personal preference or the occasion the shirt is needed for because there will be a lot of fabric types to choose from.

It is possible one would spend a long time trying to make the right choice.

Most T-shirts are made out of cotton, and there are different types of cotton (combed cotton, organic cotton, pima cotton, slub cotton etc.) to pick from. Other popular T-shirt fabric picks are rayon, lycra, linen and polyester.

They all create amazing and aesthetically pleasing clothes that one can wear and feel comfortable and fashionable in.

Alternatively, people can go for rib-knit, pigment-dyed, burnout or slub fabrics if they want to stand out from the common T-shirt fabric choices. These materials are unique, making them able to highlight one’s personality and show off their fashion taste.

Furthermore, there is no real guide around how much weight a T-shirt fabric should have. Some T-shirts are thicker than others. The weight would depend on the occasion the shirt would be used for and weather conditions in the area the cloth would be worn.

It would be best if one makes a lightweight T-shirt to wear in places with warm temperatures and reserve thick fabrics for colder climates.

What Should I Look for In a Fabric for T-Shirts?


You should ensure the fabric should not have large shrinkage. No one wants to waste their time, effort and money so it would be tragic to buy fabric, make a T-shirt out of it and after the first wash, it would turn into a crop top.

This happens when there is a problem with the knit-fabric construction of the fabric. The fibres that are overstretched during production return to their normal size, distorting the shape. The fabric should be durable, not easily faded and have relaxed knitting.


T-shirt fabrics should be a little elastic because the neck of the finished cloth will be stretched every time they are put on, taken off or hung on a cloth hanger.

Wearing T-shirts with wide over-stretched necks does not look good, and it would not be nice to discard T-shirts after only a few wears.

Ease of Sewing

Polyester fabrics are more difficult to sew a T-shirt with than cotton because they are more slippery. This slippery nature makes one spend a lot of time adjusting polyester fabric on the sewing machine.

This is an important factor to consider especially if one wants to make a lot of clothes in a short time.

The 9 Best Fabrics for T-Shirts

Making sure that one uses the right fabric to make a T-shirt is just as important as putting the right design on it. This is why knowing about the best types of fabrics is necessary.

The knowledge would guide one towards using the right fabric to make the right T-shirt for any given occasion.

1. Cotton

As stated earlier, this is the most used T-shirt fabric because of its appearance, texture, durability and the convenience one gets from wearing it.

The different types of cotton fabrics are as follows.

2. Combed Cotton

They are made when short strands are removed from cotton and fine brushes are used to straighten the fibres. This process makes the cotton smoother, stronger and better than its original form. This is the ideal material if you want to print on the T-shirt.

3. Organic Cotton

This is more expensive than regular cotton because it is more comfortable, softer to the touch and grown without the use of pesticides and fertilizers.

4. Pima Cotton

Pima cotton is the highest quality cotton in the present-day market. It has extra-long fibres that make it softer than combed cotton.

The fabric is durable, does not fade or overstretch.

5. Slub Cotton

Its appearance makes it seem like it has a lot of holes. It is lightweight and does not cling to the body

6. Polyester

T-shirts made with this material go back to their original shape after being stretched. It is durable, budget-friendly and dries quickly after being washed.

Also, they blend well with cotton, so much so that athletic companies use them while making T-shirts. However, it is not breathable, and the fact that it breaks down slowly makes it harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly.

7. Linen

Linen shirts have textured weaves and are breathable, making them excellent choices for places with warm climates.

They are lightweight and quick to dry after washing. They wrinkle quite easily so they would need frequent trips to the ironing board.

8. Lycra

This fabric is usually added to existing T-shirt materials, rather than being used to make stand-alone clothes.

They give T-shirts more stretching ability to ease movement. While making T-shirts for athletic purposes, lycra fabric is a fantastic choice.

9. Rayon

Rayon fabrics are breathable and have a silky feel. They are less expensive than actual silk. It absorbs liquids, such as dyes easily, making it a great fabric for tie and dye.

Also, it is prone to wrinkles, so trips to the ironing board would be needed if one uses this material.

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